I am very pleased to say that June has been a busy month for enquiries, bookings, walks and tours. I have loved getting out for my walks and meeting lots of new folk. There has been some fabulous wildlife to see, as well as our stunning scenery and even some nice weather!
In addition to the standard walks that I offer, I can also do Bespoke walks and Wildlife Tours. Although they take a bit more planning, I really enjoy having different little projects to work on and as they are Bespoke, each one is different but equally as interesting.
There is more information on the Bespoke walks and tours later in this post.
One of the Bespoke walks that I organised was for an author. The book is based in Orkney, around the Skaill area and the main character is a herbalist/healer. The author contacted me to ask if I could do a walk in this area specifically to look at the plants and their medicinal uses. This was a really interesting walk for me to plan and research, and luckily I have a lovely friend (Floramedica) in Edinburgh who was able to help me out with some very interesting plant notes.
I have enjoyed walks with customers on some of the standard walks on my website too – Swanbister Circular, Hidden Gems and my Evening Wildlife Walks have also proved to be popular with walks taking place at both Yesnaby and Marwick.
Customers have been leaving me some lovely reviews, some of which are below. Please check out the Review page on my website to see more. Any reviews left for me on Facebook, Google or Trip Advisor are copied across to my website.
“Megan is a knowledgeable and engaging guide and we found a wide variety of plants and birds on this varied walk on Megan’s home patch. Easy paced walk giving plenty of time to explore and enjoy the local wildlife. “
“We’ve just had a wonderful evening walk with Megan. We can now identify a range of flowers and sea birds and learned loads about their behaviour. Megan knew all the best viewing positions, was very patient , informative and knowledgeable and explained things clearly. She chatted freely about life in Orkney and was very relaxing to be with. everything was paced to our level, ( we are over 70) safety was always a priority and she took very good care of us.”
“We had a very enjoyable morning walk through coast and country. Megan is extremely knowledgeable and showed us plants and birds that we would otherwise have passed without recognising or even noticing. She is very personable and the exposition was never heavy or dry. Highly recommended.”
Along with other small businesses, reviews and feedback are really important, not just for me but also for future customers. I always enjoy reading any reviews that I get and am happy to receive suggestions on ways that I can improve for the future.
As mentioned above, I also offer Wildlife Tours. As a wildlife guide, I can join you in your vehicle for a guided wildlife tour. For this, I create an itinerary based on what the customer is interested in seeing. The length of the tour varies, and can be anything from 3 hours up to 7 hours. I have had to make some changes to the way I do tours this year, but I have done 2 this month, where I have joined clients in their vehicles. We have been masked up with the car well ventilated, and hand sanitiser available to use. It is reassuring for clients to know that I have been double vaccinated and I am taking lateral flow tests twice a week.
The first wildlife tour was with a couple who had booked with me for last year, were unable to come due to Covid, so they rebooked for this year. They were hoping to see Hen Harriers and Puffins, so I created an itinerary based on this, visiting sites good for Hen Harriers in the morning, then a walk up to Marwick Head in the afternoon to see Puffins and other seabirds. This was a 7 hour tour, which included a 1 hour picnic lunch stop. The couple really enjoyed their day, and left me this lovely review:
“We had a really good day out with Megan on Mainland Orkney. She was good company, relaxed and flexible and at the same time very professional, pacing the day according to our needs and interests. Megan was able to point out many more bird species than we would have spotted on our own and was a mine of information about the changing ecological situation in the Orkney Islands. She also showed us and named lots of the lovely wildflowers on the island.”
The second tour was from a lady who was already here on holiday, and was interested in seeing Otters. Otters in Orkney are quite elusive at this time of year, and not easy to see, so I did explain that while I could do a wildlife tour with her, our chances of seeing Otters would be slim. For this one, I included places that Otters can sometimes be seen, but also where I knew there would be plenty other wildlife to see. We enjoyed a nice walk around the RSPB Brodgar reserve in the afternoon where we saw and heard Snipe drumming, Curlews, Lapwings and some beautiful wildflowers. To increase our chances of seeing Otters, I offered them a choice of tour times, so our 7 hour tour was from 2pm – 9pm with a picnic dinner. They left me this lovely review after our tour:
“Nothing could be better than sitting by the loch watching a short eared owl hunting, other than seeing an otter. How you spotted the otter Megan I will never know, but I’m really glad you did!! It was a fabulous day out, thank you.”
It has been lovely to spend time watching all the wildlife in my own garden. At the beginning of the month there was a Stonechat family with 3 fledged young in the garden and we have also had fledged Meadow Pipits, House Sparrows and Blackbirds using the garden. The adult Pied Wagtails are regularly coming to collect insects, and the Swallows are coursing through looking for insects, of which there are plenty.
The Orkney Field Club ran a Virtual Garden Bioblitz for this 1st time last year, and this year we repeated it but with the option of going slightly further from your garden if you wished. I decided to stick to my garden, to compare with what I saw last year. This year, the Bioblitz took place at the end of June which was a month later than last year. It is really interesting to spend 24 hours closely looking at all manners of wildlife in your garden – birds, plants, bees, butterflies, snails, etc. I had lots of interesting finds – both 3 and 5 banded Mason Wasps, lots of hoverflies, some tiny moths (see photo below) and a female Siskin put in a special appearance!
I found some eggs and larvae on dock leaves, and was informed that they were Green Dock Beetle eggs and larvae, something I’d never noticed before..
Towards the end of June, my partner and I managed an evening walk at Yesnaby, and although it was an overcast evening, it was lovely to see lots of wildflowers including Primula Scotica and one of my favourites – Grass of Parnassus.
I will leave you for this month with a lovely wildflower photo taken on one of my Evening Wildlife Walks at Yesnaby, with the soft evening light on the Thrift, Birds Foot Trefoil and Spring Squill.