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Westray Natural History

the natural history of Westray

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

A funny Tern

I love the small bright yellow boat in Pierowall bay. Having called it a boat, someone will probably correct me and tell …

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

Gannet missile technology

As I child I read a book called Magic of the Senses by Vitus B. Droscher, a popular science exploration of the …

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

Flying Wren

I’ve enjoyed the Wrens at Einar this year. They’ve been a joy. Their lives are led in a sheltered garden, full of …

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

Feather bed

The encyclopaedia says there are four seasons in temperate latitudes. Billy Connolly, however, said, “There are two seasons in Scotland; June and winter”. …

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

Absolute scenes

Absolute scenes here today at Einar as the Wrens fledged. I’ve been watching the parents bringing invertebrates into one of my ‘useful …

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

Kitchen drawer wildlife

Woodlice. There are 3,500 species in the world and between 35 and 40 in the UK. They’re animals which many children know. …

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

Puffin icon

It was a very Puffin Christmas here. I received a Puffin Icon from the Puffin Whisperer. She used a solid wooden block …

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

Scottish Primroses

In August we went looking for the Scottish Primrose, Primula scotica. It’s one of the few plants which grows in Scotland and …

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

Life, clinging on

There was a solitary flower of what looked like Sea Mayweed on the rocks on the exposed coast of Westray this summer. …

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

Eyebright

In this time of darkness it’s pleasant to think back to the summer when, on glorious days, we would walk the coast …

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

Rock Pipits

There’s a noisy young pipit on the rocks. It’s the perfect colour for these lichen covered rocks. It has a lovely delicate …

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

Curlew

It’s a warm evening, bathed in orange light. I hear the call first. Then it’s the flypast. It’s a Curlew. There’s been …

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

Wrens

There is a family of Wrens flitting along the field boundary in front of us. They’re working the margins for insects and …

Westray - The Hall of Einar

The pool

There’s a rock pool fed with fresh water fram a tiny waterfall on the west coast of Westray. I love how green …

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

Escape?

After seeing a couple of successful attacks by Great Skuas against juvenile Kittiwakes I feared the worst when this one strayed over …

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

Great Northern Diver

I had such a wonderful time last winter going to see Great Northern Divers in Brixham in Devon. I was able to …

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

A lone Swift at Noup Head

There’s a Swift at Noup Head on Westray. Swifts are called that for a reason. Can you see the fly it’s about …

I Dream of Puffins 75 x 50cm - The Hall of Einar

I Dream of Puffins

I dream of Puffins. I dream of being out on the soft, grassy cliffs and being surrounded by quirky birds cocking their …

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

Sunset and the whale

When you can see the horizon, on days when you can spin and see the sea and the clouds surrounding you, there’s …

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

Light and shade

I’m walking the wild west coast of Westray again. It’s magnificent. For a few months each year it’s inhabited by Arctic Skuas, …

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

If ever I could fly

Of all the birds of the sea, the greatest fliers are the Fulmars: There is no bird so alive to the shifting …

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

Peregrination

We’re walking the coast of Westray when I see it perched there. “There!” I say to the Puffin Whisperer, as I crouch …