Where oh where has summer gone? While some parts of the UK are basking in sunshine and warmth, we are suffering from some rather unseasonable weather. We have had the odd day of sunshine here and there, but no settled spells as yet.
June has been another very busy month for me with the first 2 weeks being fully booked. There has been a nice mixture of Bespoke walks, wildlife tours, island trips, evening walks and some of the other walks listed on my website.
I have had two different Bespoke walks during June, the first was a request from a couple who wanted to see Puffins. They had been on one of my Evening walks in August last year but were too late to see Puffins on the cliffs, so this year they wanted to do a 3 hour walk to see Puffins. The day of the walk, was one of the rare sunny days this year, and we enjoyed a lovely walk along a stretch of coastline to a small Puffin colony where we were able to sit on the cliffs and enjoy watching them without causing any disturbance.
For the second Bespoke walk later in the month, the couple requested a wildflower walk at Yesnaby as they wanted to see Primula Scotica (Scottish Primrose). We arranged a 3 hour walk, originally meant to be in the morning, however with heavy rain forecast, we delayed our walk till the afternoon when the sun came out. We enjoyed a lovely walk along the cliffs at Yesnaby looking at all the wonderful wildflowers including Primula Scotica, Oysterplant, Mountain Everlasting, and my favourite – Grass of Parnassus.
I also had bookings for two wildlife tours – one was a day on the mainland, the interests of the party were birds of prey and seabirds, although on the day it turned out to be Puffins and Hen Harriers – both of which obliged and performed for us. The other wildlife tour was a day on Hoy where we did some short walks, enjoyed a picnic on the beach at Rackwick and saw amazing wildlife including Red-throated divers, Common Blue damselfies, Green Tiger beetles and a brief view of a Golden Eagle.
I had 3 people booked on my day trip to Flotta in June, and thankfully the weather wasn’t as bad as the forecast. We enjoyed a pleasant walk to Kirk Bay, where we stopped for morning coffee and second breakfast, before following the coastal path up to Stanger Head. The path along the coastline offers good views over to the island of Switha and there is a fantastic variety of wildflowers to see. Up at Stanger Head, it was too windy for insects, but we did see and hear a few Snipe including a bit of drumming which is a really special sound. On the walk back to the ferry, we popped into the Flotta Heritage Centre for a quick look, and just past the centre we heard a Corncrake calling! It is the second time this year I have heard a Corncrake on Flotta.
As well as doing a Bespoke wildlife tour on Hoy earlier in the month, my partner and I had a day over on Hoy with our car towards the end of June, in search of dragons and damsels. Although it was a sunny day, there was still a strong wind, which made things a little tricky. We did see a few damselflies but it was obviously just a bit too early for any dragonflies. We saw first Common Blue butterflies, and my first Large Heath butterfly of the season. It would seem that every time we go to Hoy to survey for big flying insects (dragonflies), I end up spotting big flying birds (eagles). On this day, we got fantastic views of an immature White-tailed eagle flying low over the Rackwick road – just amazing!
Below is a selection of my wildlife sightings and photographs from June, lots of variety and a new species for me – a Wood Tiger moth caterpillar.
This short video is of a bait ball, which we saw from the ferry to Hoy, while it was docked at Flotta.
I will leave you for now with some lovely bright Birds Foot Trefoil and Daisies.