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Gannet - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Gannet on the water

I’m used to seeing Gannets flying at head height. Since their colonisation of Noup Head cliffs, their numbers have soared like a …

Rock Dove - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

You see a Pigeon

The weather in Orkney may be grey but it’s never dull. I’m waiting at Kirkwall harbour for the Westray ferry when I …

Barbed wire - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Barbed wire

There’s a letter pushed under my door. It says I may have power lines crossing my land and be eligible for compensation. …

Arctic Tern - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Attacked by Arctic Terns

I’m off for a walk on the Westray coast. Today I’m heading from Mae Sands to the Knowe o’ Skea. It’s not …

Einar - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Einar

My house is called Einar, just like the Viking Earl of Orkney mentioned in the Orkneyinga Saga. That’s because of a spelling …

Black Guillemot - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Black Guillemot

I’m on a day trip to the Mainland. That’s the mainland of Orkney. In the harbour at Scapa there’s a bird paddling …

Ringed Plover - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Ringed Plover

Ringed Plover are meant to breed on the coast. Human destruction of the environment means they now breed in gravel pits and …

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

Feeding the family

Being a baby bird means knowing when to keep your mouth open. Many have exaggerated gapes, decorated in bright colours to encourage …

Starlings - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Star Starling

When a Starling flies by I always take notice. They are spectacular birds, either on their own or in flocks of thousands …

Grey Seal - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Why the long face?

I’d like to know why Grey Seals have a long sloping head. What’s the evolutionary advantage? What’s the adaptation for? What does …

Horsetails at Roadmire - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Horsetails at Roadmire

The Horsetails at Roadmire are beautiful. Their stalks and leaves are covered in harsh mineral silica. They’re a bit scratchy and hard …

Wren - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Something’s moving

There’s something moving in the field next to Einar. I can see flower stalks trembling. It’s moving along behind the wall. All …

Sea Rocket - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Sea Rocket

There’s Sea Rocket, Cakile maritima, on the beach at the Bay of Swartmill. It’s a member of the mustard family. This is …

Telephone box - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

When technology meets Westray

Westray; where technology goes to die. On Westray things that you don’t expect to rust, to rot and to weather, do. Just …

Starlings - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Neighbours

Not everyone can get on. Conflict is inevitable. When we are all packed in too close to one another then tempers are …

Spray - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Splash!

The seas are magical here. There are exhilarating waves at the Knowe o’ Skea. Out on the skerries, the wary Shags gather, …

Common Gull - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Uncommon Common Gulls

There’s a young Common Gull, Larus canus, flying past. They are very elegant fliers: Just as we have done for much of …

Rainbow - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

View from the ferry

The higher the sun, the lower the rainbow. The lower the sun, the higher the rainbow. This photograph must have been taken …

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

Patterns

The Starlings at Einar make incredible abstract patterns on the wires.

Sanderling - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Sanderling #3

Westray has a certain palette of colours. It’s a world of muted blues, greens and purples; of greys and more greys. The …

Potboiler in the midden - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Pot boiler in the midden

Westray has more archaeology than archaeologists. That means we are losing the most incredible evidence of previous civilisations with every tide and …

Sanderling - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Sanderling #2

You know that feeling of panic when you realise your feet are going to be caught by a wave and you’re not …

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

Dock

Stumbling across the thick grass behind the bay I see these tall flower spikes. I’m struck by their contrasting colours. And, as …

Sanderling - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Sanderling #1

There are Sanderling on Mae Sands. They are energetic beyond imagination. They work the tideline as if their lives depend upon it, …

Turnstone - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Ruddy Turnstone

There’s a Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres on the beach at Mae Sands. It’s just turned this stone over. They are very smart in …

Ringed Plover - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Small, dumpy and short-legged

The RSPB says, “The ringed plover is a small, dumpy, short-legged wading bird.” Read more. That’s not very complimentary, is it? I …

Rope - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Coiled rope

It would be tempting to think that this coiled rope on Westray is a metaphor. It’s a call-back to the very first …