Sunday, 16 September 2007

Orkney Wildlife

Orkney is a wonderful place for wildlife! We were too late in the year to see the large colonies of seabirds on the cliffs, but we did see good numbers of fulmars flying very close to us and gannets diving into the sea. On the coast we also saw ravens, red breasted mergansers, widgeon, eider and various species of gulls. Inland we had a wonderful few minutes of watching a short eared owl hunting over a reed bed. Swallows and house martins were still flying around, making it feel still like late summer despite the distinctly autumnal weather. We saw fields full of curlew, their haunting calls filling the air and lapwings that look like giant butterflies in flight. We also saw hooded crows and lots of pied wagtails. We may also have seen a female hen harrier, but I'm not sure.

As well as birds we saw seals, a hare and lots of rabbits, some of them living in burrows on the edge of high cliffs. Just look at where their burrows are in this photo!
Unfortunately we didn't see any dolphins, porpoises or whales. Nor did we see otters though we saw plenty of evidence of them, including collections of fishbones on rocks and these adorable little footprints:


sarala said...

When I see mention of rabbit colonies it makes me think of my childhood reading of Watership Down. It's an amazing author that can make rabbits seem bold, brave and heroic.

Crafty Green Poet said...

But rabbits are bold brave and heroic! Specially the ones that live on the cliffs!