Sunday, 18 August – The Orkney Main Island – RSPB Cottascarth, RSPB Birsay Moors, Maeshowe

The next day was mostly on our own. First, we visited RSPB Cottacscarth:

The Eddie Balfour hen harrier hide was a very nice place to watch for birds, with some great decoration by school children:

Then we visited RSPB Birsay Moors which is located just over a hill with a wind turbine on it:

As with many RSPB reserves, there is a very nice hide overlooking a small lake.

We saw several red-throated divers, some young ones:

And we saw a hen harrier!

Then we joined a tour of Maeshowe cairn:

Once I saw how short the entry was, I decided I couldn’t bend over for long enough to get into the cairn. So, Ralph went in and I stayed out taking pictures of the countryside and the birds. Across the way, the Stones O’ Stenness can be seen:

I saw many flights of graylag geese who kept flying around, then landing back in the fields below the cairn:

There were also a lot of swallows flying above the barley fields:

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