Nature Notes

August 10, 2011

Orkney Birding: The Birsay Moors

Filed under: Birds,Orkney Isles — Tags: — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am

Cottongrass, Orkney Isles

The Birsay Moors are an extensive heather and peat moor with some interesting breeding species.

At the highest point of the moors are huge power generating windmills. This is the Burglar Hill. The bit of a loch below the windmills has a hide/blind beside it. The Loch itself holds breeding Red Throated Loons. It is also home for a number of breeding species of ducks such as Gadwall and Mallard. Tufted Duck can be seen on the more open Lochs.

The surrounding moor is the breeding ground of Red Grouse, Parasitic Jaeger / Arctic Skua, Northern/Hen Harrier, European Stonechat, Common Snipe and European Golden Plover, as well as an abundance of Meadow Pipits. Short-eared Owl drift by hunting for prey.

Short-eared Owl

Both the Greater and Lesser Black Backed Gulls use this area to raise their young.

The Eurasian Oystercatchers and Curlews set up territories on the grassy areas of the reserve, as well as many Northern Lapwing.

Both the Merlin and Eurasian Kestrel are ground nesters here, and surprisingly the European Starling is too.

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