What you lot doing 'ere then
The crew - Dougal, Tony and Neil
Pink footed Geese
'Whats in ere then'
23rd - 24th September 2009
After a phone call to Tony Shepherd I met up with him and the rest of the crew Dougal and Neil and we were off on another little adventure, this time to South Ronaldsay, one of the Orkney Isles. As twitches to the Northern Isles go this one sounded pretty staightfoward compared to some of the trips my friends had been on before. The journey to Scrabster was uneventful as Tony and Neil shared the driving. We arrived at the ferry in good time and managed to grab a bit of sleep before we boarded the ferry. I had been assured that the ferry was 'like an aircraft carrier', and I wouldnt need any sea sick pills. Squalls of rain driven by a strong westerly breeze restricted visability and gave the coastline particularly the Old man of Hoy, a mystical quality. Half an hour into the crossing I was wishing I'd taken something but it wasnt long before we were docking in Stromness and setting off for Burwick about 1/2 an hours drive. We found the bird just as we were hit by another heavy squall and had to scurry back for shelter in the car. It was a frustrating few minutes to wait before we could get the 'scopes up and have a proper look.
Finally we were rewarded. The Sandhill Crane was feeding in a large stubble field with a big flock of Curlew, Gulls, Starlings and a few Rock doves. The birds were wary and frequently flew as a ring tailed Hen Harrier kept them on their toes.
There weren't a huge number of birders around but there were several familiar faces.
We made our way back slowly stopping to take in the more regular Orkney species such as Twite, Great Skua and Eider. Skeins of Greylag and Pink footed Geese passed overhead as they moved to their wintering grounds. Back at Stromness we enjoyed a meal and I took the opportunity of photographing an obliging Black Guillemot in the harbour, while Neil booked some overnight accommodation on the mainland.