Local News

Stronsay Recent Bird Sightings

Republished here with permission from The Stronsay Limpet

Great news again! We were not only blessed with good weather during the ‘harvesting hay’ period in late June and July but the birds following the ‘cutters and clearers’ were back in their former numbers after more than twenty years or more of: ‘just a few’. Hundreds of birds were to be seen following the machinery this year, mainly Common gulls, Black-headed Gulls, Oystercatchers, and Curlew. And many of these will have been local breeding birds, all skirmishing for worms etc.

Another big plus is to be seen at the Bu Loch which has now ‘recovered’ from the drought conditions of two years ago. The most astounding sight there throughout summer has been the number of Shelduck. Counts of 70 or more have been recorded – and on a few occasions 70 or so juveniles were to be seen. The young birds often form ‘creches’.

photographed from the car

There are now a typical mixture of species present as in former years – Redshank and Dunlin being the most numerous. We eagerly await the unusual species which are attracted to this wonderful ‘bird-friendly’ habitat – particularly during bird migration.

A party of Black-tailed Godwit (all in brilliant summer plumage) have been present for a week or so and are still present as I write.

photographed from the car

The lay-by opposite the loch is ideal for observation from the car. Having sung the praises of the Bu Loch, the one rare wader seen so far during summer was a Red-necked Phalarope on the Lea Shun Loch by David Askew. A first-summer male Marsh Harrier has been seen on a few occasions – but always ‘fly-pasts’ with no time to enjoy. A big ‘Greensand-type’ Wheatear was seen around 20th – a sure sign that Autumn migration is not far away.

Thanks for all the calls. John & Sue Holloway

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