For over 30 years we have been expecting one as there have been a few sightings in the Northern Isles during our time here. Thousands of times we have said - 'We must get one some time!' but did we find the first to be recorded here on Stronsay - 'Not on your Nelly'  - a visiting birder from Mainland Orkney - out for the day - came across it at the Bu Loch on 12th May! 

That is birdwatching! 

Well done to Gerry Cannon who we bumped into that day, casually alerted us to his sighting not knowing of our 30 year 'Quest' for the species, and allowed us to use his photos of the bird (below).

The Avocet hung around for a week or so in the same area but always at a fair distance with no hope of obtaining good photo images.







ust heard about the Semi-palmated Plover on North are a few of the photos we managed to get of our bird in August 2000. Two with Ringed Plover for comparison.



















By the roadside on the Mill Brae in late July 2020..........




 A Short-eared Owl posing perfectly!











A great find along the Eastbank Road on 8th June - an adult Rosy Starling - one of the huge influx into the UK this year.









The first uncommon migrant of the year in the Castle garden - a brilliant male Hawfinch on 29th April. Photos taken through the kitchen window:








.....and for several days in early May - not quite so uncommon but equally obliging -

a bright male Siskin..............












Very few uncommon small migrants in early Autumn 2019

other than a Booted Warbler on 10th September (no photos)

but this Red-backed Shrike posed perfectly for the camera on 18th.




Followed by this Red-breasted Flycatcher in the garden at Osen on 3rd October - the same garden as the Collared Flycatcher of May!






And in early October....................




A Snow Bunting by the roadside.






As a result of the interest shown in our photograph of the Collared Flycatcher seen here recently, and requests for more similar images, we have put together a selection of photographs of birds, some of which in the Northern Isles might be labelled as 'rare' but not necessarily BBRC Rarities.  The majority of the photos were taken from within the confines of the car (in fact 'various' cars!) and all on Stronsay between 1988 and 2019.             


John & Sue Holloway. Stronsay Orkney




The male Collared Flycatcher of May 2019.





The female Collared Flycatcher of June 1999.

(Note the very long primary projection.)






The Rosy Starling of  2008








Grey Phalarope - on the sea! 2008







Bee-eater by the roadside late May 2013






Pallas's Warbler feeding among fencing-wire Oct 2011






Parrot Crossbill feeding by the roadside Oct 2012







Cattle Egret close to the road October 2014








'africana' Chaffinch - surely a distinct species! March 2011







Pallid Harrier October 2016





Great Blue Heron February 2012













Thrush Nightingale in the Reserve drive May 2009






Bluethroat - also in the Reserve drive. May 2009








Paddyfield Warbler - June 1996. Note in particular - pink legs, black bill with pink base and buff 'breast-band' in top photo, and rufous crown and pale collar in bottom photo.






Female Two-barred Crossbill by the roadside August 2008






Least Sandpiper July 2017





Long-tailed Skua through the windscreen! Autumn 1991






 Temminck's Stints - the first record for the island. July 2016.




Red-rumped Swallow May 2005 - still the only Stronsay record!




Sardinian Warbler -  October 1992 - the only island record.




Wood Duck - arrived on 18th Jan 2016 - heavy snow in the US!








Long-billed Dowitcher -  24th Jan 2016!!






Pintail Snipe - in an island garden 1st April 2005.

No - not an April fool!......



And - the most unexpected of all - in 2002 ......... an Icterine Warbler chick emerging from the nest in the garden of the (then unoccupied) house 'Lower Millfield' at the head of our drive. Photo taken from behind the upstairs window. The first fully documented record of the species nesting in the U.K








A male Pallas's Rosefinch on the reserve for several days in late May 2005 - a genuine migrant, refusing to eat from the liberal supplies of 'bird seed' we scattered over the whole area. The bird fed only on 'dandelion' seeds during its 3-day stay and did not allow close approach at any time.






A major rarity at the time, this Booted Warbler was discovered in an island garden in Sept 1991







The Olivaceous Warbler of September 2009 looked much greyer in some photos











A recent 'split', this Eastern Black Redstart was found in perfect habitat!








Just a single record of this species - Short-toed Lark - many more have surely visited the island but remained un-noticed among the 'oceans' of stubble!






And finally, one brief sighting in the garden at Airy, and just a single photo - the only Coal Tit ever recorded on the island!





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