We have visitors. Two of Sal's brothers and one sister-in-law. It's great to see them, not only because they are fine examples of the human race at its best, but because it's a great excuse to get out and about on the island.
Today was a glorious day and the tourists - keen birdwatchers all - decided a long walk was a fine idea. I packed them all into what's left of Lennox the Land Rover and set off for Noup Head on the northwest tip of Westray, the plan being that I'd pick them up six miles south later in the day.
Around this time of year the cliffs at Noup become a seabird city. Numbers have dropped in recent years - global warming has shifted the sandeels further north, apparently - but it's still a remarkable sight and you don't need to be a twitcher to appreciate it.
Guillemots, fulmars, kittiwakes, razorbills, gannets and puffins cling onto the ledges. . .
Some of the best views come when you defy the vertigo and peer over the edge. . .
It's more than worth it when you find these two on a ledge a couple of feet below. . .
Just for the record/ticklist we saw all the previously mentioned seabirds plus a couple of great skuas, any number of oystercatchers, eider ducks and arctic terns and later in the afternoon arctic skuas.
There's bird action back at the "farm" too. I collected the trailer that took Sock to Orkney Mainland on Tuesday and there were three ducks in it. I know less about ducks than I do about hens, but they produced this on the first day. . .
. . . and have come up with several more since, so they're very welcome. The drake is, of course, already Charlie.
And in the henhouse (my father-in-law's old shed) Patty and Selma the broody hens have produced three chicks, two black and this little fella. . .