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Short-Eared Owl - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Cattieface

There’s a Short-Eared Owl on the Island; I’ve read WhatsApp reports in the Westray birds & wildlife group. We’re driving to get …

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

Tysties with Butterfish

Black Guillemots are one of my favourite birds. I’m told, “They’re the purist’s bird for those who dislike the easy familiarity of …

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

Life

There’s a hard surface at the back of my house. That doesn’t stop the plants from growing there, though. There are Northern …

Bonxie v Baakie - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Bonxie v Baakie

Bonxie v Baakie. Who do you think will win the epic battle of the fish? It’s Great Skua v Great Black-Backed Gull …

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

Puffin sunset

A Puffin on one of its last evenings at the Castle o’ Burrian in Westray. This is a photograph I’ll be ordering …

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

The Bay of Tafts

The Bay of Tafts is not quite, but almost, my nearest beach. It’s a five minute cycle ride away, although the time …

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

Puffling preparations

In a sheer rock cliff there is a natural cavity in which a pair of Puffins have made their nest. Today their …

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

Brakes deployed

It takes every inch of wing space to stop a Puffin. And both feet.

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

Not-so-cool bag

We’re out for the sunset and choose a beach with a view. There’s cloud and sunshine and the most beautiful atmosphere to …

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

Puffin bedding

Living in a hot burrow underground in summer with a youngster must get a bit smelly. Even at this late stage the …

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

A day trip to Stronsay

Stronsay is one of the ‘other’ Orkney islands. I’ve not been there before because there’s no way of getting there from Westray …

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

Alternative nesting sites

On the cliffs of Westray are two Fulmar resting places. They’re both in the north-end of the island. One is a bare …

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

Bumpy landing

I’ve seen Puffins flying underwater in an avian aquarium. They’re incredibly elegant. I’ve seen them flying and been amazed by their speed …

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

Twite are seriously underrated

Twite are such beautiful birds. They’re small brown finches, closely related to Linnets. The subtlety of their plumage is just sublime and …

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 …

4 Organic Food - a glossary of environmental euphemisms

Organic food – a glossary #4

“Is organic food any better for you?”, people ask, as if that’s the only worthwhile question to ask. A follow up question …

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 …

Short-Eared Owl - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The shock of an Owl

I’m standing in the garden of Einar, against a stone wall, taking photographs of Swallows. They’re great to practise on because they’re …