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Near Environment

CLOBBER: A peep at a fraction of what is going on across Orkney - the industrialisation of a once rural landscape.

Hatston Industrial Estate seen from the Shapinsay Ferry Terminal, Kirkwall, September 2013. Note: Wind turbines on the skyline at Hammars Hill (a partly OIC owned project) approximately 14 kilomtres distant. (Left click to enlarge.)

The Long , the Short and the Tall – or Up She Goes!

The “new” community turbine on Eday imaged from the Observatory on Rousay through the 100mm refractor.

Another turbine to add to the store of these things throughout the isles. Note the two small figures (foreground on Egilsay) to the left of the smaller turbine apparently walking into the future.

John Vetterlein
October 07 2012

Mud, mud, glorious mud: following water main pipe laying on Rousay from the School to the Brinian (a distance of 3.5 kilometres), early 2012.


The 900kh turbine (nicknamed "Dumbo" or "White Elephant") being installed at Kingarley Hill, Rousay, as seen from the Observatory, Springfield.

Rousay, or Wind Turbine Sanctuary, this despite much of the island having been designated a SSSI, now has the highest population of wind turbines per unit area of any island in Orkney .


Marine Energy Activities at the Fall of Warness off Eday.

Lighting the Skies for Marine Studies - Power Down or Power UP?!

Imaged from Rousay (approximately 10 Kilometres distant), JCV 2010 October 30 21h 10m UT.

By way of Contrast to the above:

The Brings, Rousay, August 27 2010, mid-afternoon. (JCV)

The lesson of The Brings

Things have changed
on The Brings.

Overhead the Artic squa and the Tern    
no longer circle the sky,
the sounds from their cries
are no more.

Guillemots, Shags and Cormorants
are no longer to be seen upon the cliff ledges
and in the geos;
the landscape has a different feel today,
though superficially to the eye, at least,
little appears to have changed—and for why?

Who knows the answer to that?

There is no single answer.

We know what we as a species are up to,
we may even understand something of the consequences
from our actions, but in toto
The Brings stands as testament 
to our collective ignorance.

Seasonal "pests"

Magpie moth larvae

The Magpie moth (Abraxas grossulariata) is a handsome flying insect, but its larval stage is a monumental pest.

The moth started to become a serious problem on Rousay in 2006, reaching peak menace status in 2008-2009.


The larvae will feed on more or less anything, but show a preference for heather and fruit bushes such as blackcurrant and gooseberry, together with certain varieties of willow. It may also attack prunus trees, notably Bird Cherry (Prunus padus) and some varieties of Ash. Fuchsias are usually avoided.


The larvae may appear as early as December and continue to be active into August, by which time one may experience all three forms at one time in a given location. Highest levels of larval activity take place in April-May when heather can appear “alive” with the things and willows and other susceptible species become stripped of leaves within days.


In tree plantations at Braes and Springfield, literally dozens of young willows (and some Bird Cherry) have been destroyed by the pest. On the flanks of Knitchin Hill great swathes of heather have been stripped of leaves thereby exposing the reddish-brown stems giving the appearance from a distance of heather in bloom.


The position at time of writing (May 27 2010) shows some improvement on the two previous years. The only effective control in these windswept isles has been to remove the larvae by hand and to drown them in weak detergent.








John Vetterlein



May 28 2010

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