Sunday, 10 May 2009


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. . .



mapstew said...

Beautiful pics, beautiful place!

Dave said...

I was there this time last year - indeed, I believe I have a photo of you on that very cliff edge (and rather closer that I was prepared to go). I failed to see a puffin.

Rog said...

A lot of fuss over a little Puffin, as John Prescott's diary secretary once said.

Smashing header pic Malc!

Richard said...

Duck eggs are excellent scrambled.

I, Like The View said...

wonderful puffins!

beautiful egg!!

cute chickie!!!

life looks good up there - hope it's living up to your expectations


Arabella said...

Wonderful. I can feel the sea breeze.

zIggI said...

I have envy - of everything!

Sarah said...

Blimey, it all goes on up there.

Moot the Hoopla said...

I would prolly get vertigo and barf on those poor Puffins.

They are such weird looking should try cross-breeding them with your chooks?
You'd be famous!

zIggI said...

I especially have egg envy because my stupid chickens still haven't laid a single one! :(

moreidlethoughts said...

Great shots. Thankyou for being the one to snap the puffins, rather than me!

Malc said...


Yeah. Days like that make me feel very lucky. Can't take credit for most of the pics - I pinched them from my brother-in-law Steve.


Yes indeed. It was not quite such a pleasant day and the birds were cowering a bit. There seem to be a lot more puffins this year.


*drum roll - cymbal*


Or poached, fried, boiled, coddled (whatever that is), or even in a lemon drizzle cake as Sal found yesterday.


No life is perfect, but this one is very much better than the old one. We're happy.


Feeling a breeze? You've been at the Bathams again.


It tends to get busy at this time of year.

Mr Hoopla

I'm not sure the chickens would be so keen on a life on the ocean wave.


Most of the pics were by my brother-in-law Steve, much as I'd like to take the credit.