Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - JOHN MILES

BURGAR HILL IS a unique place, with his­tor­i­cal moor­land and a mod­ern wind farm to­gether. The lo­cal wader pop­u­la­tion as you make your way up the hill in­cludes Redshank, Lap­wing, Oys­ter­catcher and es­pe­cially Curlew, with Orkney hold­ing the high­est pop­u­la­tion in Bri­tain of a bird now threat­ened by changes in agri­cul­ture. Grass cut for silage, which means cut­ting ear­lier Red-throated Diver than hay, gives lit­tle chance for the breed­ing sea­son to be suc­cess­ful, es­pe­cially for Curlew, but also many of the other breed­ing waders as well. Check for pass­ing Whim­brel in the spring, as well as feed­ing Golden Plover and Dun­lin down from the moor. A small num­ber of Whim­brel now breed in Orkney. Orkney is blessed with a good breed­ing Twite pop­u­la­tion and it is al­ways worth go­ing through the finch flocks to find this lit­tle gem. Great Grey Shrike was found here in 2010. Once you’re on to level ground by the wind farm, look out for Pied Wag­tails and pass­ing White Wag­tails in the spring. Wheatears en­joy this open ground along with feed­ing Meadow Pip­its, Sky Lark and Twite. Once at the hide look out for the breed­ing Red-throated Divers as this is the best lo­ca­tion to view them on main­land Orkney as adults fly back and forth to the sound for food. POST­CODE: KW17 2PJ GRID REF: HY345 260 HOW TO GET THERE: The hide is off the A966 just north of the B9057 turn-off on your left with an RSPN sign. You turn right past Ge­orth and left af­ter Nidgarth and onto the track that takes you to the wind farm WHERE TO PARK: Main car-park­ing area by the wind farm build­ings DIS­TANCE AND TIME: It is only a few hun­dred yards to walk to the hide TER­RAIN: Walk mainly on crushed stone AC­CES­SI­BIL­ITY: All hours, all year FA­CIL­I­TIES: Kirk­wall or Strom­ness near­est PUB­LIC TRANS­PORT: Buses daily, although in­fre­quently – OCTO bus (tel: 01856 871536) op­er­ates a flex­i­ble, ‘by re­quest’ ser­vice in Orkney; trav­e­li­nescot­ OR­GAN­I­SA­TIONS:, tel: 01856 850 176. The SOC, The Scot­tish Bird­watch­ing Re­source Cen­tre, Water­ston House, Aber­lady, East Loth­ian EH32 0PY, Scot­land CLUB CON­TACT: SOC Orkney Colin Corse, Gar­ris­dale, Lyn­npark Road, Kirk­wall, Orkney KW15 1SL, tel: 01856 874 484 RSPB mem­bers group, Orkney con­tact Dick Mat­son, tel: 01856 751 426, p.wil­son410@bt­in­ter­ COUNTY RECORDER: Jim Wil­liams jim@ge­ MAPS: OS Ex­plorer 463, OS Lan­dranger 5/6

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