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Papay Wildlife Club: Arrival of the terns

12/05/2016 - 16/05/2016

£50 – £495

The Arctic Terns known locally as Pickies are a much-loved feature of Papa Westray. Whilst the Pickies are the main focus for this break, the dates couldn’t be better for seeing a range of other wonderful wildlife.

The first Arctic Terns are traditionally seen in Papay on the first day of haar (a blanket of mist which can sweep across Orkney from the North Sea on spring easterly winds) in the first full week of May. In recent years, the number of Arctic Terns breeding on Papay has been in the hundreds, rather than the thousands which the island used to have, part of a widespread worrying decline around the north-east Atlantic.

You’ll hear something of the ecology of the terns, and the reasons behind their decline. Other changes in the island’s bird population will also be remembered, from the colonisation of Swallows to the decline of the Corncrake. Will there be any Corncrakes in Papay this spring?

The sight of the terns is meant to be the highlight of this Papay Wildlife Club holiday. However, rival attractions include skuas, Puffins and other auks, the first flowering of the Scottish Primrose (Primula scotica), the chance of scarce migrants such as Bluethroat en route to Scandinavia or even the outside possibility of an early record of Basking Shark, Orca or Minke Whale. And all this will have a backdrop of clifftops sprinkled with Spring Squill and fields full of noisy breeding waders.

Each evening there will be short talks and identification sessions. We’ll immerse ourselves in the world of the Arctic Tern – the world’s greatest migrant – as well as learning so much more about the huge range of spring wildlife for which Papay is famous.

Price: £495 per person. £50 Single Supplement.

For further information and booking please contact Jonathan Ford (Papay Ranger).

Tel – 01856 252028. Email – papayranger@gmail.com Facebook – papay ranger.


£50 – £495


Papay Development Trust / Papay Ranger
01856 252028
papayranger@gmail.com, Facebook - papay ranger.


Papa Westray