Sedum
Sedum in my garden

Despite gales at the end of October, November started relatively mild and calm, in fact there were still a few flowers in the garden that had survived the winds. As you would expect, we have had a mixed bag of weather this month, some beautiful calm days, and others wilder.

With the various tier levels throughout the UK, and local lockdowns, business is quiet for walks at the moment, but there is always plenty admin work to be getting on with. There are quite a few enquiries coming in now for 2021, so things are looking more promising for next year and the news of a vaccine today is very welcome and reassuring.

I have been working on Gift Vouchers – which make the ideal gift for birthdays or Christmas. They can be for a specific walk, a day with a wildlife guide, a Bespoke walk or for any amount and all vouchers are personalised. If you are interested, please contact me direct. https://www.facebook.com/wildorkneywalks

Houton Bay
Houton Bay on a calm November day

Walks & Wildlife Sightings

The month started off with finding this beautiful moth attached to the front of a van parked in the drive.

Autumn Green Carpet Moth

I had a visit to the Seal Pups, early November, and we counted at  least 96 pups! There were lots of mums and pups on the beaches, with a few bull seals hanging around too. I love the sounds of the seals/pups as well as seeing them, the mums arguing with each other, and the pups crying, or the bulls splashing at the waters edge. There’s so much to see and hear at this time of year. I am running my Seal Pup walks right through to the end of December, please contact me if you are interested.

Seals & Pups
Grey Seals and Pups, Orkney

I enjoyed a day trip to the island of North Ronaldsay where I was lucky enough to see a Wood Lark, a lifer for me! As well as a day of birdwatching where 53 species of birds were seen, there were also Harbour seals, and a cracking sunset to end the day before the short flight home.

North Ronaldsay beach
North Ronaldsay beach
Sunset on a beach
Sunset, North Ronaldsay

I was recently asked to take on the WeBS count for Houton Bay which is part of my local patch. My 1st survey took place on a beautiful calm Sunday morning, my highlights were 4 Slavonian Grebes and a hunting male Hen Harrier over the Holm of Houton.

Houton Bay
Doing my WeBS count, Houton Bay

November ended with a short trip away to the Highlands for a well deserved break. As I’ve not been off island for 2 years, I was incredibly excited to see some of the more common birds on the mainland like Blue Tits! On the journey south we had lovely walks at Helmsdale and Skelbo woods where we saw Treecreepers, Blue, Coal, Great and Long Tailed Tits.

Trees and loch
Skelbo Forest
Blue Tit
Blue Tit

A day out at Loch Garten was in order to try and see Crested Tits, which we were lucky enough to see, along with Red Squirrels and Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

Crested Tit
Crested Tit, Loch Garten

Keep an eye on my Facebook page over the next few weeks for a post about a special wildlife experience I had whilst at Loch Garten. Here’s a short video I took of a Red Squirrel at Loch Garten.

Tarbat Ness Lighthouse
Tarbat Ness Lighthouse, Portmahomack