The School sycamores are one of the best sites on the Island for migrant passerines, Papay is an Island with few trees.
|The School sycamores|
A Greenish Warbler soon followed, at Hundland, found by David Roche. It eventually showed well on the edges of low willows which is actually recreated native Orcadian woodland apparently. I haven't seen one for ages and Kathy never so we really enjoyed this one.
Next up was a Warbler flashing up onto a wall behind the beach at South Wick, it was instantly recognisable as a Barred Warbler even with poor, brief views in the blustery murk. Then it showed well in the roses at The Greens, sunning itself as a little patch of sunlight appeared. It stayed for ages, often showing well in the Creeping Sow Thistle, a tall yellow flower which grows along the beach edge.
There were usually Twite with the Linnets and Sparrows along the beach fringes and occasionally Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff or Lesser Whitethroat. There were always plenty of Eider and sometimes a few Red-breasted Mergansers just off the beach and rocks.
As always Papay was wader heaven and included quite a few Ruff at times but always the commoner grassland waders as well as plenty along the sands at The Wicks and up on the fine sward of the Wick Head end of North Hill where there were up to 3 Lapland Buntings present for much of the time. This is also the home of the exceedingly rare Scottish Primrose, a number of which were still flowering.
We stayed at historic Holland Farm in the centre of the Island and the gardens here were some of the best places, along with the School and Hundland for migrant passerines but overall there were very few and some hung around a long while, long enough to be given names including Short-tail here.
|The Quarry Garden at Holland|
The highlight of the trip was probably the strangest moment. We were walking along South Wick beach when I just saw a Hoopoe perched at the back of Shore House. It was a bit surreal really but there it was and showed well for us and then all the Islanders who were interested to come and see it - quite a few as it turned out. It was the second for the Island at least, there having been one in 2011 I think.