Although you wouldn't know it from the weather, summer is finally here. I know this because we are once again filming a hen harrier nest complete with female and 5 eggs - for me a sure sign that the summer season is underway. The pictures are being beamed into the Kirkwall Visitor Information Centre and according to everyone who has seen them, the quality and definition of the images from the new high definition camera are superb.
Placing the camera was relatively straightforward. Once hen harrier expert Brian Ribbands had identified a suitable nest in the West Mainland of Orkney, he and Assistant Warden Lorna Dow climbed up into the hills to set up the camera. The process was planned in advance to minimise time at the nest the female was soon back on the eggs.
She is now sitting tight and waiting patiently for the big day. If you are able to see the images in the Visitor Information Centre you may see her leave the nest briefly for food brought by the male although you won't actually see him. In Orkney the male hen harrier is polygamous which means he will probably have mated with and be providing food for at least one other female, if not more.
The chicks should hatch around the beginning of July and, once hatched will be ready to fly in about 5 weeks. In the meantime - all being well - they should provide plenty of entertainment for anyone watching.
Watch this space for updates