This is the last 'Latest Happenings' of 2011 and, looking back, I think we can say it has been a successful year for RSPB Orkney. These were just a few of the events:
There was a positive response to the April outing 'Birding by Bus' which seems to be a popular trip and one we intend to repeat in 2012. Other memorable outings included the Gloup visits which were all fully-booked; the 'Noup Head Loop' walk on Westray saw visitors joining us and, in spite of a bit of rain that day, there was a friendly atmosphere throughout; I wasn't at the Families Moth Day but heard that this was a resounding success and many of the WEX youngsters attended this with enthusiasm; the Migrants Outings to Stronsay and Sanday once again produced plenty of birds and now seem to be firm favourites on the Local Group programme.
One of the highlights of 2011 - for me at least - was our Local Group's participation in Love Nature Week when a grand total of £431.83 was raised for the RSPB - it was thanks to the volunteers who helped out on both occasions (Street collection in Stromness and Bag Packing in Kirkwall Co-op) that things went smoothly and we were able to make the Local Group's presence felt in the community.
Can I thank all my volunteers - at Love Nature Week, County Show, Charities Bazaar - for their help? I am sure I should also take this opportunity to thank ALL Volunteers who cheerfully put in many hours on behalf of the RSPB.
What about 2012?
There are several new ideas in the pipeline of which more news later. Events taking place during winter/spring include:
Winter Bird Race, 4th March (weather permitting of course);
Spring Meeting, Friday 30th March Julian Branscombe will give a talk entitled 'Birds, Birds more Birds and a Salamander' which sounds intriguing - details later but put the date in your diaries;
Birding by Bus, 1st April. Full details to come but once again, please note the date;
Harrier Sky Dancing, Sunday 15th April - our usual format;
Bag the Bruck, April 21st/22nd - once again it will be RSPB at Waulkmill and OFC at Marwick Bay. Extra helpers at both these events would be appreciated! It's a really worthwhile cause so I hope we can rely on more people turning out to make the burden a bit lighter!
Full details of RSPB Local Group events will be published in due course.
Events run by other groups:
The Scottish Ornithological Society has two meetings early next year which our members are invited to attend. These are as follows:
Thurs 9th Feb. St John’s Pool by Julian Smith. An illustrated story of the creation of this highly successful wildlife pool near St John’s Loch in Caithness. St Magnus Centre 7.30pm. Contact: Colin Corse 01856 874484.
Thurs 8th March. Bhutan – the Unexplored East. Monasteries and Birds. An illustrated talk by Mike Betts. St Magnus Centre 7.30pm. Contact: Colin Corse 01856 874484.
There is a collection on the door towards room hire costs.
Orkney Field Club
There are two events quite early in the year, in fact, the first one is at New Year so will be a good way to shake off the festive excesses!
Sat 31st Dec, Sun 1st or Mon 2nd OFC New Year Ramble. We will take a coastal walk looking at the winter seascapes and wildlife, perhaps around Hunda, Echna Bay and Burray, although the final choice of venue will depend on the wind and weather forecast. Contact Dick Matson on 751426.
Friday 17th February - Club Night. A Window onto Underwater Orkney. An illustrated talk by Penny Martin on the marine life found in shallow waters around Orkney. The talk includes some, perhaps little known facts, photos and video of common marine life and an introduction to sea squirts, swimming snails and spider crabs.
Some interesting stuff to start off the New Year.
Charities Bazaar 12th November
I know it's quite a while ago now, but I am pleased to report that our sales table did really well and the raffle raised £70 thanks to the super picture of a Lapwing painted by member Kate Barrett. Many thanks to Kate for this and to all who were involved in the sales table rota on the day. It's really appreciated.
One of our members recently asked for advice on where to site a nestbox for a wren.
Reserves Manager Andy Knight replied as follows:
Wrens will use just about anywhere, so look for a spot where you can see it, has some shelter (can be inside a building) and is out of reach of cats – good luck. Andy
Winter Feeding The snow has already visited us and is lying as I write this. I expect that - like me - members are well stocked with extra feed to see our birds through the hard times. Once again I have bought Fruity nibbles from the RSPB; I've also got Insect mix feed from Shearers which has different seeds and mealworms and will be appreciated by many species. I have peanuts, fatballs and seed at the ready, also I think more of Lidl's Fun size apples feed the birds rather than children at this time of year! Let's hope this winter isn't as severe as the last one.
Amendment Can I just point out that photos of the last WEX event were by George Howe? I omitted this info at the time.
A Nice Merlin Story was posted on the Orkbird site on December 4th by Eric Meek and I think our members will be interested in this . . . . On Friday, creeler, Ronnie Norquoy, was fishing about 20 miles to the west of Noup Head, Westray when he noticed a Merlin following along behind the boat. Ronnie was heading for home but he noticed that the Merlin was struggling and that the gulls were beginning to give it some trouble so he slowed the boat down allowing it to come in and perch on the stern rail. He later caught the bird and took it home to the Palace where it spent last night. I picked it up this afternoon and found that it was a young male in perfect condition, just a little thin. Rather than let it go in this afternoon's storm I took it to Brian's where it'll spend the night and hopefully be released in better weather
Don't forget Stamps This is the main time of year for postage stamps so this is just a timely reminder to our members and their family and friends to save all postage stamps (it would be helpful if foreign ones are separated) towards the RSPB Save the Albatross Campaign. They can be taken to SAS Supplies, Laing Street, Kirkwall or dropped in at the RSPB Stromness Office. Many thanks.
All that remains is for me to wish you all
A Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
I am attaching one of Ian's photos (I have more but will send these in the New Year) which is very appropriate for this time of year.
Best wishes, Pauline W/Local Group Sec.