This winter has felt incredibly long with a few storms and lots of snow. Although we are used to storms and strong winds, it has felt relentless this year and the amount of snow that is quite unusual. I remember going for a walk on Tuesday 6th February, about 5pm and thinking how lovely it was that the days were starting to stretch, a sign that Spring is perhaps on the way……. The next morning we woke up to 6 inches of snow which was a complete surprise!

I also realised when looking out photos to use for this Wildlife Sightings post, that the first photos on my proper camera were taken on the 11th February, which means that the weather was too bad, even for me, to take my camera out!

Snowdrops, The Latest Wildlife News for February 2024


On the 11th February, I went for a walk around the Stromness Loons, one of our favourite walks to do and the walk that I am blogging about this year. As I was walking past a bit of woodland, I was surprise to hear the sound of Long-tailed tits! Not a species I expected to see or hear in Orkney, but there have been a few around this winter. I did also catch a brief view of them before they disappeared into the woods. Sadly too quick for a photo, but below is a photo of the woods.

The Latest Wildlife News for February 2024

My WeBS (Wetland Bird Survey) was done on a sunny, calmish day in February but it was a cool wind, especially when you are trying to count birds! I was luck to get good views of Wigeon and Mallards in the harbour, and with the sunlight catching the colours they looked beautiful.

We had a trip out to the Sands of Evie to look for waders, this is where I do one of my Wader Walks which are bookable until the 30th April this year. We were lucky to spot a small group of Snow Buntings feeding on the shore and then further round the beach we found a large group of Purple Sandpipers busy feeding.

The birds are definitely suggesting that Spring is in the air with Song Thrushes singing late afternoon and early evening, and I have also heard my first Skylarks singing. On the first sunny day in February we always listen for our first Skylarks singing. It is the most wonderful sound especially after a long, hard winter!

Below is a Pied Wagtail, always lovely to see and this one was up on the cliff tops at Yesnaby.


During February, I always keep an eye out for flowers starting to appear in the countryside. Their have been daisies and some hardy dandelions flowering during the winter, and I even found a small buttercup in front of our heating unit!

On my walks this month, I have seen Lesser Celandine and some early Primroses but there is also fresh growth with Crowberry looking very green.

Crowberry, The Latest Wildlife News for February 2024


The Brown hares have been very active this month, and it is wonderful to be able to watch them from our living room window as well as while out on walks.

We have seen mate guarding where a male will stay very close to a female, to try and stop other males from mating with her. Lots of chasing with males chasing the females, and of course boxing. It is fabulous to see them boxing and it is the female hare who does the boxing, as she sees off the unwanted attention of a male – girl power!

I do find them incredibly difficult to photograph/film though and once they decide to move, they are very, very fast! Here’s a short video of one taking off:


My last trip out with the camera was on Sunday 25th February, the day after Scotland won the Calcutta Cup! We headed out to Yesnaby to look for the Plantain Leaf Beetles, Chrysolina latecincta.

Although it was a sunny day, there was still a cool wind but we did manage to find about a dozen beetles. They are very striking as you can see from the photos below:

As I write this in early March, there are plenty of signs of Spring around, however, I have this niggling feeling that Winter isn’t quite done with us yet!

Yellow Lichen, The Latest Wildlife News for February 2024
Yellow Lichen