The North Ronaldsay Sheep Festival
- an update from the Bird Observatory -
by Sara Macías Rodríguez
After a long, cold, windy winter, excitement is in the air as spring signs start appearing everywhere on the island.
Gulls, geese and ducks were the main stars of the colder season and now we start to see other species that announce the spring and milder weather. The first bird to really signal the new season has been the Stonechat, such a smart little bird, common in other Orkney islands but only a migrant visitor here on North Ronaldsay.
During the last couple of weeks Lapwings and Oystercatchers have started pairing up and displaying, filling the air with lovely sounds in case of Lapwings and very noisy ones in case of Oystercatchers, but we love them all the same.
Nature is announcing the breeding season ahead, not only through birds though. Snowdrops are now covering Holland House gardens forming a beautiful white carpet, and Daffodils are about to come out too. Willows are showing their buds and lots of frogspawn can be found at one of the Observatory ponds, along with the croaking sounds of the frogs that hide under the water when someone goes past.
In another news, the 2020 Bird Report is under good progress and we hope it will be published by May. This year’s report should be a special one, as 2020 was an incredible year for birds on North Ronaldsay and for the first time the report will be produced by a professional designer and will include some amazing artwork from well-known wildlife artists.
All photos copyright and courtesy of Sara Macías Rodríguez and George Gay