Saturday 4 January 2014

The North West Patch

A relatively early start this morning as I left the house just after 9am as the sun was rising. It didn't hang around for long as it lifted off the horizon and straight into the cloud. The wind was still around Force 5 but the forecast had it decreasing as the day progressed.

This morning I decided to head up onto the hill to the West of the house and take a look around the North West corner of my patch.

The track up to the footpath was rather muddy and the fields were devoid of birds except for one which had a flock of 30 Greylag Geese which got airborne fairly soon after spotting my approach.

The only other birds I saw on this leg were a Herring Gull and a Raven.

From the trig point I had a pretty good view of Scapa flow although it was a bit misty towards the far side of the flow and across to mainland Scotland.

Looking down onto the Battery Pools with Scapa Flow in the background
The pools around the old gun battery site were clearly visible including a few that were usually dry but there was not a bird in sight.

As I headed down the path a couple of Great Black-backed Gulls flew over. Despite sitting at the bottom of the track for 10 minutes there was no sign of any other bird life.

From the bottom of the track I passed through the battery site and headed towards another track that would take me down onto the Littlequoy road which formed most of the Western and Northern boundaries of my patch.

As I got to the corner of the battery site I spotted movement in the adjoining field along the fence line. A quick look through the bins confirmed it was a Golden Plover, giving me another species for this year's patch list. A scan round the surrounding fields confirmed it was on its own. I don't often see them on their own as they are usually in flocks or mixed in with Lapwing flocks but this one was all on its own.

Once on the road I was more in the lee of the wind making it quite a pleasant stroll. Againt there wasn't to much to be seen, a single Pheasant running across the road up ahead of me and a flock of about 200 Starlings feeding in one of the fields.

As I approached Waaness I added another species to this year's patch list in the form of two Hooded Crows, flying over the fields.

I eventually turned off the Littlequoy road and headed back up the hill to the house.

With today's two additions to the patch list, my total for 2014 is now at 42.

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