The first walk, Britain’s rarest bumblebee and a fattie cuttie
Arriving back on Westray means I want to experience it all at once. I want every sensation. I want to be at Noup Head and look over the cliffs and see the Gannets once again. I want to be at the Castle o’ Burrian and sit on the grassy slopes and have curious Puffins twist their heads and potter up to me. I want to be on Mae Sands and rush to take my boots and socks off and gasp at how cold the sea is. I just can’t do it all at once.
Firstly I’m going to walk the boundaries. I’ve checked the house for dead animals, now it’s time to check the garden and small field.
The ‘useful range of ruinous outbuildings’ are full of Swallows. I try to get my eye back in by photographing them.
I’ll be better at photographing them tomorrow. Last time I got a shot which allowed me to identify the species of moth it had caught.
A murmuration of Starlings has started already and drifts like smoke from my uncapped chimney pot:
If one of these was me, which one do you think it would be:
They settle with some semblance of social distancing:
There are three tall Northern Marsh Orchids by the back door. Their intensity of purple is so great they even look dark in this bright weather.
It’s time to trek up the field. There are more Northern Marsh Orchids here as well as lovely pink Red Clover, purple Tufted Vetch and yellow Meadow Vetchling.
All that sweet nectar and nutritious pollen means the thrill of seeing Britain’s rarest Bumblebee in my garden once more. May I present to you, the Great Yellow Bumblebee.
It’s heading for extirpation in the UK:
But with this profusion of wild flowers, the garden is literally buzzing with them:
I can’t see all the Island at once. I’ve going to have to choose, and today, I choose Puffins.
Before I go there’s just time for a Fattie Cuttie; the local home-made biscuits from the shop. I find the best time to eat them is before meals, after meals and between meals.
Delicious. They’re as delicious as nectar and pollen are to a bee.
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