Wednesday 2 March 2016
I've been noticing the lengthening of the days for a couple of weeks now. Only slowly, but definitely happening! Today sunrise was a 0705 and sunset at 1742 - that's 10hrs 37 minutes of daylight! And in London sunrise is 0647 and sunset 1743 so that's 11 hours of daylight. We're catching up again and will soon over take the South of the UK with daylight hours.
The morning was very wet, heavy rain till in the afternoon the sun broke through. In Mainland Scotland and the North of England there was snow, quite a bit of it in some places. But here there was just a sprinkling in Orkney and none on Graemsay. Though Hoy looked white again for a while.
The photo above was taken at 4.30 pm with the sun still having another hour to set. In mid-winter it sets between the Hoy hills but now it sets just off the edge of Hoy. Spring is on the way!
As I say the hills of Hoy has a dusting of snow and cloud was heavy upon them all day today.
The usual Northlink ferry, Hamnavoe, is away for it's annual checks so we have a "Cal Mac" (Caledonian McBraye) ferry on the route instead. Here she is making her way out of Stromness towards the North of Scotland...
Some of the seabirds are returning now the year is moving on. There are generally a few oyster catchers hanging about the shore all year, but now larger flocks are returning. There were a couple of red-shanks on the shore. The Shags were in their usual place. They seem to hang out here daily! One has his/her wings out to dry. Apparently they don't have oil on their wings so it doesn't impede their diving and they can dive deeper and faster. However they must come out the water and carefully preen and dry their feathers. And they can't be in the water too long or they get waterlogged. Locally these are known as "Scafies". There's an inlet on Graemsay with a boat noust and old sail shed called "Scafie" (not sure I have the spelling correct!).
On the subject of birds.... Two of the hens found some silage spilling out a byre to have a good rootle around in.
Meanwhile Big Ginger came for a walk too. Button was still on the beach giving her territory a thorough survey. Besides she gives all the chickens a wide berth with their pecky beaks and flappy wings!