Thursday, 31 July 2014

Rain

It was a tremendous spell of hot weather but all good things come to an end. A Buzzard shot in the sun just before it melted...
...and a Dunlin in the heat haze.
The rain came to dampen things down, replenish water supplies but it also keeps the island green. It may even help the likes of Hen Harrier to find food as their prey gets flooded out.
It certainly keeps the eagles in one place as you can see from this bedraggled WT Eagle.
The rain never lasts for too long so the Buzzard was the sunny shot again.
Cooler temperatures are better for Adder sightings as they will bask more often. Too hot and they will head for the shade.
More overnight rain gave another opportunity to get a close look at the WT Eagle but at least there was a bit more light.
Golden Eagle sightings have been pretty good but there is distinct lack of young this year but when it takes 5 years to mature it doesn't matter too much if they have a bad year. Last years youngsters are still around.
Otter sightings have been pretty good most days but we still miss out now and again. A mum with two cubs was a surprise find on one of the tours as I hadn't seen any activity in the area for a while.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

On the hunt

Another scorching day was possibly going to keep things quiet at times but we had a cracking day.We had certain targets to find through the day so it was a case of trying to be in the right place at the right time. On the way to our first stop we located a returning Great Northern Diver - a bit distant for the camera but worth seeing.
Our first target was Golden Eagle. It was a bit of a wait but we did get a couple of Adders to fill the time in. The first Golden Eagle to appear flew in from behind us and proceeded to hunt the hillside.
We had both birds hunting the same area, one behind the other, hoping to flush some prey but they didn't have any luck. The first bird flew back over us before they both disappeared from view.
A Sparrowhawk put in a brief appearance, a couple of Whinchat and a cracking view of a couple of Raven. Look at the tail on that!
A decent Red Deer stag was another target for the day. The temperature was around 27C so we were flagging a bit. Grey Wagtail and Yellowhammer were nice to see...
...before we located a couple of fine looking stags feeding in the dappled shade of a tree.
A couple of mating Common Hawkers were nice to see as we stood in the shade.
A couple of Treecreeper, Golden Plover and WT Eagle were other highlights through the day. We looked for and didn't find an Otter but it wasn't one of our targets on the day. This Hooded Crow with it's beak open and wings drooping, to try to keep cool, might give you an idea of how hot it was!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Realistic

When the temperature soars into the twenties you have to be realistic about what the wildlife will do. When it gets hot the wildlife goes quiet so a bit more patience is required. We started the day with the Golden Plover flock, Grey Heron, Curlew and other birds along the shore. The loch was quiet so we had to be content with the commoner birds. We hit lucky with the WT Eagle as it flew in as we arrived on site and then flew off just as we were leaving. A search for Otters was fruitless but we did get nice views of a couple of Common Seal.
There was a decent breeze blowing when we stopped for lunch and we watched a pair of Golden Eagle flying around and doing their roller-coaster display.
We had another lucky break with a WT Eagle. We had just climbed into the motor and just about to drive off when the gulls started calling in alarm so we jumped back out see this adult bird flying overhead - awesome!
Our good fortune continued with some cracking views of Raven flying past...
...A couple of Dunlin, male Hen Harrier and an Adder too. An Otter was found right at the end of the day so that was a bonus. I busied myself with taking a few snaps of the Common Tern that was fishing along the coast.
A Hooded Crow was too hot to move so he made the grade for the day - off for a well earned pint after that!