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Westray Natural History

the natural history of Westray

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 …

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

Air Traffic Control

The RSPB say that Gannets are: “…distinctively shaped with a long neck and long pointed beak, long pointed tail, and long pointed …

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

Skewered by a Skua

I normally only see Great Skuas from behind as they disappear along the cliffs. They have a wonderful habit of cruising up …

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

Declining Kittiwakes

The weather is dramatic and so are the Kittiwakes calling below: They are such refined and elegant birds: Their families are growing …

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

Rescuing a thirsty Hedgehog

Rescuing a thirsty Hedgehog from the road and having a heartmelting few minutes as we give it a much needed drink. Filmed …

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

Razorbills

Our first trip out to see the Razorbills, Alca torda, is a success: we can see them: There’s even a brief chance …

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

Good Gannets above!

Noup Head is an exciting place to be when the Gannets are flying: They are massive: When the weather conditions are just …

Razorbill meets Puffin - The Hall of Einar

Razorbill and Puffin meet

I’m sitting on the cliffs of Westray on a beautiful day. I’m wearing full camouflage. I’ve been taking photographs of birds as …

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

Posing for Puffin Portraits

I’ve opened a photographic studio here on Westray. No, not for people, but for Puffins. I have a range of natural backdrops, …

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

Kittiwakes are calling

Kittiwakes are the most beautiful and delicate of the gulls. Their yellow beaks, black legs, dark eyes and plaintive call are so …

Great Black-Backed Gull - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Great Black Backed Gull

Great Black Backed Gulls are gulls, yet on an epic scale. Seeing one coming towards you is quite a sight: That’s some …

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

Spotted by a Skua

Seeing an Arctic Skua is like witnessing a mythical bird come to life. If they didn’t exist they would have to have …