There has been a lack of posts recently as we have been away on holiday for two weeks.
Over the years we have been all over Scotland at various times except for the far North East, Caithness. When we were looking last year for somewhere, a nice looking house popped up so we decided to go for it. Whenever we are away on holiday I scour the internet for info on wildlife potential nearby, so I can work out some 'targets' to look for near where we are staying. This was the first stumbling block. If you try Googling any combination of wildlife phrases with 'Caithness' you get very little indeed. This rang alarm bells. Either, there are so few people up there that info was in short supply ( the preferred option) or there was nothing to see!
In the end, the birding didn't seem too reliable, so I had a few plant options and insects to look for. Hopefully I hadn't gambled two weeks out of Northumberland in early June for nothing, after all, that can be a good time for vagrants in our own county and I would be 350 miles away! Luckily, June 2022 so far has not given up any Northumberland megas .
The targets I found seemed quite straightforward? Oysterplant, a rare and declining species of rocky shorelines, Scottish Primrose, endemic to the region and Broken beted Bumblebee that is still widespread up there, apparently.
Straight forward? Really? Oysterplant has massively declined and the most up to date info I could find was 5 years old, Scottish Primrose has two flowering seasons spring and later summer, was I inbetween? and the bee, well, how do you identify those with any certainty!
While contacting some locals for info, Karen Munro told us that we were arriving right at the opening of OrcaWatch week at John O Groats. I hadnt even considered Orca as a viable option to look for on the mainland, but I registered with the WhatsApp info services and crossed fingers.
We left on 28th May and had a pleasant but long drive to the far north arriving around 4pm.
About 10 minutes after arrival we were looking around our cottage when a message came through of 2 Orcas moving north past Noss to Duncansby Head. If I had known or familiarised myself with these places I would have gone to look but we were knackered after the drive so just cut our losses. As it turned out we could have had them just 10 miles to the north of us. Bugger.
This could be a very long post so I am breaking it up. I want to include some info just incase other people are searching the internet, as I was, for details so this will do for now. Here is where we were staying...
|Mory's Cottage, Keiss, Wick. Google it.|
|11.20pm. Still light. This continued until after midnight when dusk came. it was light again at 2.30am!|
|The view from the garden and living room window, with Noss Head in the distance, 4 miles away.|