Saturday, 4 February 2017

North Ronaldsay = Northern Harrier.

So After departing Eday I shortly arrived on North Ronaldsay but the light was pretty much fading fast and no time to do anything other than to head in to the Obs where a good evening meal and some good hospitality was had before heading off for the night.

The following morning after a decent breakfast, I headed out in order to spend the day trying to see the Northern Harrier, both Sam & George were helpful on tips where to try and catch up with this bird as well as sending me texts on the latest update on the Harrier and it's where-abouts during the day. I decided  to spend time at a high point on the island allowing views over the surrounding area. Loch Hooking (above) is where I spent most of my time and this paid off as I had my best views of the Northern Harrier here usually just passing through briefly during the late morning - mid afternoon but I originally saw the Northern Harrier from the cross roads where it was rather distant through scope views. Two female Merlin put in appearance hunting in sync over the airfield, both hunting the same passerine together, one from above and the other from below, something I have never seen Merlin do before. 

A drake Smew and two Whooper Swans were nice additions to the day which has been a long time since I have seen both species and a Juv Glaucous Gull was also good to see. 

At one point I was settled in viewing the loch when this nice female Hen Harrier drifted by allowing a couple of clicks before passing through.

As the day went on the Northern Harrier began to show itself and linger around the area of the loch although never coming the right side of the loch until late in the day, however views are views and through the scope it was a rather smart well marked and contrasting bird.

Eventually as the buffeting windy day slowly began to draw in, both of the Harriers appeared around the Loch again and both were seen going in to roost. The timings were quite different as the Hen Harrier went to roost at 14:36 hrs and the Northern Harrier went in to roost at 16:14 hrs both birds roosted on the same side of the loch but perfering different habitats of the loch edge. 

"Back-of-the-NetSo that was that, manged to connect with the Northern Harrier on the first day on North Ron and so after seeing both the Harriers go in to roost and the light was fading I started to head back longing for a hot cuppa and the warmth of the Obs but did stop a few times on route, image below shows the lighthouse near Sinsoss Point.

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