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Birds in Orkney

I'm in Orkney late February and wondered if there are any good spots to watch birds? I have a car and can travel anywhere on the mainland, but I won't have time to travel to the outer islands. What sort of birds are about in February and is it worth going out to try and spot them?
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  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    Hey @blackelbee, I am not entirely sure about February but i found the RSPB reserve at Hoy an excellent place to see birds during the summer with a large number living in the cliffs. https://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/find-a-reserve/reserves-a-z/reserves-by-name/h/hoy/
    I'm Anirudh, an Indian travel blogger who has explored a lot of Scotland by public transport. My blog. Find me on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 week itinerary (fully by public transport)

    My Scotland travels (includes EdinburghSkye, HarrisMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban, Speyside fest)

  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    To address the other part of the question, I unfortunately do not know what types of birds can be spotted in Hoy, contacting RSPB may be the best course of action.

    Birds were a secondary attraction on my visit as I'd gone to see the sea-stack Old Man of Hoy. Saw many birds nesting inside the cliffs as seen below. Its worth visiting this area regardless because of the spectacular cliffs.




    I'm Anirudh, an Indian travel blogger who has explored a lot of Scotland by public transport. My blog. Find me on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 week itinerary (fully by public transport)

    My Scotland travels (includes EdinburghSkye, HarrisMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban, Speyside fest)

  • SuleskerrySuleskerry Member ✭✭
    edited January 2017
    Hi @blackelbee Orkney is a great place to see birds all year round. There are several species of birds that overwinter here like Great Northern Divers, Long Tailed Ducks, Goldeneyes, Slavonian Grebes, Wigeon, etc. The Peedie Sea in Kirkwall is a great place to see ducks, waders and gulls and you can get really good views of them from the footpath.

    Scapa Flow has a wide variety of wildfowl in the winter months, if you drive over the Churchill Barriers, you can see both Great Northern and Red-Throated Divers, and occasionally Black Throated Divers. You also get Long Tailed Ducks, Slavonian Grebes, Wigeon, Goldeneye, Shags, Tysties, etc.

    Inland, we have flocks of Greylag and Pink Footed Geese, as well as a few Barnacle Geese and waders include Curlews, Lapwings, Snipe and Golden Plovers. During February, Ravens will be starting their courtship displays, as will the White Tailed Eagles on the island of Hoy. Other raptors you might see are Hen Harriers, Buzzard, Peregrine, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Merlin. One of the things I love about birding in Orkney is that you never know what could turn up, so there is always the chance of seeing a rarity. 

    The RSPB have several reserves here all of which are free, more information can be found on their website www.rspb.org.uk/orkney. Some good ones for winter birds are Brodgar which surrounds the Ring of Brodgar, and The Loons where there is a hide overlooking wetlands, so it is good for waders and ducks.
  • Hi, thanks so much everyone! Thanks @Suleskerry for your great advice about all the different birds. Will definitely check out the birds around Scapa Flow and the Peedie Sea :smiley:
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