Friday, 18 September 2009

Random birds of the Orkney Isles

Carduelis flavoristris
A flock of around 40 twite Carduelis flavirostris were seen feeding along the roadside leading down to Savieskaill Bay, Rousay on the 10th September 2009. When flushed the birds would disappear into the sward of neighbouring pasture or hide behind the stone walls, perched on the barbed wire fencing. A resident breeding but declining species on the Orkney Isles - the bird is a UK Red List species.
Carduelis flavirostris
Gavia stellata
The red throated diver Gavia stellata is a SPEC 3 and UK Amber List species. On the Orkney Isles it is a fairly common resident breeding bird, over-wintering in small numbers. Five birds were seen on Peerie Water, Rousay on 11th September 2009 a single bird was also seen fishing on the nearby Muckle Water.
Both Muckle Water and Peerie Water are located within the boundaries of the Rousay SSSI designated area. According to the SSSI citation listed by Scottish Natural Heritage (available via Muckle Water is unusual in that it is a mesotrophic loch of moderate nutrient content located within a nutrient poor landscape of blanket bog. On the other hand Peerie Water is oligotrophic.
The SSSI is also cited for ornithologial importance with regards to the aggregate of breeding birds it hosts, including the red throated diver.
Gavia stellata

Fulmaris glacialis
The Orkney Bird Report 2008 describes the (Northern) Fulmar Fulmaris glacialis as both an "abundant breeding resident and passage visitor" to the islands. This bird was photographed roosting on the cliffs adjacent to the Old Man of Man of Hoy. It is a UK Amber List species.

Pluvialis apricaria
The (European) Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria is a common winter and passage visitor to Orkney. A very small breeding population (10 pairs) was recorded in the Orkney Bird Report 2008.

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