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Westray, Page 5

Notes on a very small island

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

Bonxie ballet

Great Skuas are large birds. They’re the size of a gull. They are powerful and barrel-chested. Bonxie is their local name, originally …

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

A rare case of Kittiwake triplets

Kittiwakes are beautiful, elegant gulls. Yes, those words really do go together. The UK has 8% of the world’s population. It’s one …

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

The Three Ravens

Ravens are large and impressive birds. I’m at Noup Head, the lighthouse on Westray, when I see three of them arrive. “They …

Northern Wheatear - Westray - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

i-Ronny

How much do we have the freedom to do whatever we please and how much are we blind robots carrying out biological …

Bridled Guillemot - Westray - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Flutterings

Coronavirus has destroyed my livelihood. I’ve had all my work cancelled for a year and will have absolutely no income. I’m also …

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

Circles within circles

Do you ever feel that your life is a series of endlessly repeating circles-within-circles going nowhere? I’ve just had a shave, washed …

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

Home Scar

Limpets are incredible organisms. They can withstand the heaviest seas, can live despite being baked by the sun and desiccated on hard …

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

Have you seen a male Grey Seal?

The Grey Seals around Orkney are a classic combination of curious and wary. They are alternately fascinated by me and worried by …

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

Wheatear

I’m flushing Wheaters with every walk and drive on Westray. There isn’t a path or a road which doesn’t have a wary …

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

Sanderling #4

The Sanderlings of summer on Westray were a joy to get close to. Lying on the beach, keeping still, and watching them …

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

Sunset over the waves

It’s sunset on Westray and I’ve abandoned the car on the grass and marched off to the sea. It’s magnificent in this …

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 …

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 …