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Westray

Notes on a very small island

The One Minute Puffin Cure #1

I met a German tourist at the Castle o’ Burrian on Westray in Orkney. He’d just been to see the Puffins. His …

Sunday's Puffin - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Sunday’s Puffin

And the Puffin that hatches on the Sabbath dayIs bonny and blithe and good and gay.

Honey Bee by Ippykak

Honey Bee

No, not that kind of Honey Bee. The metaphorical Honey Bee. Back in 2013 I popped down to the beach with my …

Hedgehog - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Hedgehogs are to blame

There was a Hedgehog in my garden in Orkney. We all ran outside to see it and it curled up in a …

Common Seal - 1970s Nature Notebooks - (c) David Bailey (not the)

Common Seal in the 1970s

Leafing through my childhood scrapbooks I come across a drawing of a Common Seal. It has all the characteristics of a Common …

Meadow Pipit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The Bird by Edwin Muir

Here’s another of my favourite poems by Orcadian poet Edwin Muir. The Bird Adventurous bird walking upon the air,Like a schoolboy running …

Rainbow - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Swallow over the rainbow

I’ve seen some spectacular rainbows on Westray. Some have been fleeting. Some have been intense. Some have been full arcs which split …

Rabbit Hutch - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Location of injury

Walking in the garden at the back of Einar I can see a mess of rotten wood painted green, tangled with chicken …

Westray Industrial Show - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The Battle of Bere Bannock

The Battle of Bannockburn is a famous Scottish victory in the first Scottish War of Independence. Equally as momentous is the Battle …

Swift - Westray - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Swift by name

I’m used to seeing Swifts in Devon, high in blue skies, screaming. I spotted some recently in Reading, flying to and from …

Helophilus pendulus - Hoverfly - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Hoverflies on the cliffs

There are over 200 species of Hoverfly in the UK. I don’t know any of them and have to rely on support …

Gannets - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Nursery

There’s a beautiful nursery down below on these precarious cliffs: Adult Gannets are tending to their chicks and grooming themselves and each …

Great Skua - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Pickieternos v Bonxies

Orkney has its own names for its birds. Many of these are from the Old Norse language and came with the Vikings …

Puffin with Fish - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Puffin with Sandeels

I’ve only had fleeting glances of Puffins with Sandeels as they whizz past at 30 miles per hour. I’m delighted to see …