Calm seas, no wind, blue skies and brilliant sunshine has made for a fantstic few days on the isle. If wasn't for the frozen ground, icy puddles and temp of -2C, it could almost be summer!!?
Whatever, it has encouraged birds to begin to move......on Friday (19th) 45 Skylarks were logged and the first joyful bouts of singing were heard. A count of 21 Lapwings increased to 45 the following day when 37 Oystercatchers and 10 Golden Plovers were also counted - spring migration at last!! Despite the nice weather, the hard ground means birds are still finding it hard to feed so the Burkle birdtable and surrounding area continues to be heavily used, mainly by Starlings and Rock Doves although up to 15 Twite, 21 House Sparrows, a few Blackbirds and the lone Chaffinch join them.
The kids have (with a bit of coaxing) spent most of the weekend outside 'helping' with a few outdoor chores (ponies feet, cleaning out chicken hut, recycling bottles & cans) and I spent an hour or two servicing all their bikes so they can get back into cycling to school rather than walking. On Sunday afternoon we had an entertaining game of 'Hittyball' on the Burkle lawn - not an easy game to play when your 'lawn' has at least a 30 degree slope!
One of the Obs workmen, Ray, hired the hall for the evening on Saturday and invited everyone to come along to celebrate his birthday. We thought we'd go along with the kids for an hour or so...........but ended up staying 'til midnight! Whilst the kids amused themselves playing 'football' and 'badminton' in the hall, the adults amused each other with some chat, music and a few beers in the Committee room. We also showed these Orcadians how to play pool!!
Even though we had Henry (from Auld Haa) staying for a sleepover, the kids went to bed with no complaints when we got home!!!!
Up at the Obs, external groundworks were taking place this weekend whilst the inside awaits more supplies and qualified personnel. A cattle grid has been dug out and laid in position and posts for the surrounding fence are in - no more will sheep be able to lie at the back door!!!!