Nature Notes

August 14, 2008

Orkney Birding: Broch of Birsay

Filed under: Birds,Orkney Isles — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am
Birsay Whalebone, Orkney Isles

Birsay Whalebone, Orkney Isles

The Broch of Birsay is a tidal island, when the tide is out, you can walk a dry path to it. It has held an important place in the history of Orkney as a natural place for a settlement.At its base, is the excavation of an ancient stone age village, built by the Picts and later the Norsemen.At the highest part of the island is a lighthouse backed up by impressive cliffs.

These cliffs and the approach to them, hold the same species as Marwick Head: Eurasian Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, European Starlings, Common Guillemot or Murre, Razorbill , Atlantic Puffin, Black Legged Kittiwake , Rock Pipits, Northern Fulmar, Arctic Skua / Parasitic Jaeger, and Great Skua. A pair of Common Ravens have a territory near the lighthouse.

Northern Fulmar

Northern Fulmar

The bay itself can be interesting. As well as birds like Common Eider, the occasional Common Shelduck, Common Redshank, Eurasian Curlew, Whimbrel, Common Ringed Plover, Eurasian Oystercatcher, you can occasionally find Gray Seals basking on the rocks. Walking north along the shore is enjoyable especially on a warm sunny day. Eventually you will come to the bones of a whale, over a century old. See the image at the top of this page.


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  1. Hi Harold
    I’ve just been into your website and I’m enjoying the Orkneys. Really love your site – well written and great pictures, of course!
    Well done.
    Westeren Australia

    Comment by Shirley — August 15, 2008 @ 6:37 am

  2. Thanks Shirley, its great to hear from you. I hope your Fairywrens are doing well.

    The Orkneys are one of my favorite places, there is so much wild area still left there.

    Cheers, Harold

    Comment by Harold — August 15, 2008 @ 9:06 am

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