We have had a very dry spell of weather in April, with cold Easterly and Northerly winds. On the positive side, the garden has dried out enough to dig the veg beds, on the negative side the ground is now bone dry, however, the tatties are planted and the onion sets are in, so it is a start.

I have been exploring more of my local patch during lockdown as the roads are much quieter, there are some nice circular road walks that I can do. I have been back over to the Holm during the low Spring tides. Some nice flowers and birds, and there were a few Greylags sitting on nests. I have also been up to Houton Head, another lovely walk on my doorstep with some old wartime buildings to explore.

War building, Houton Head

While on this walk, I found a Raven nest which I will keep an eye on throughout the summer. They have cleverly built the nest into the overhang of the cliff, but once the chicks get bigger it should be easier to see them.

Our summer residents have been arriving during April, and many more birds passing through on migration. My local Bonxies (Great Skuas), Swallows, Sandwich Terns and Lesser Black Backed Gulls have all arrived back, there are 2 Red-Throated Divers in summer plumage regularly visiting the bay and the Great Northern Divers are changing into their summer plumage. Other migrants which have arrived back and I have seen or heard during my walks further afield are Cuckoos, Willow Warblers and ChiffChaffs. I also had the pleasure of a male Hen Harrier sky dancing for me!

The bees are busy in the garden and I’ve seen some early butterflies –  Small Tortoiseshells and Green Veined Whites. There are lots of wildflowers appearing now, in addition to the yellow flowers (Lesser Celandine, Marsh Marigolds, Primroses and Dandelions), there is now Scurvy Grass, Pink Purslane and Butterbur all out. It shouldn’t be too long before we start to see Thrift and Cuckoo Flower (Lady’s Smock).

Butterbur, Orphir