A pleasant day out with guests yesterday left me wondering where a few things were. The Mountain Hares that have showed so well recently have disappeared off the face of the Earth. I know you can't see things every time but it's always a puzzle when they go into hiding. It's not just the Hares though because the Rabbits have gone too - now I've wondered about it I'll probably see heaps tomorrow!
We started the day in style with a Golden Eagle flying low over the ridge and also perched on the hillside. A stroll along the beach gave excellent views of Ringed Plover, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Sand Martin and an elusive Willow Warbler in the scrub. You always see Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach too and on returning to the motor I was asked about the difference between GBB and Lesser Black-backed Gull. Smaller, gentler looking bird with a grey, rather than black, back and yellow legs is the easy way to go but the best way is to find one at the same time - we got a stunning view of one while I was explaining things and another one to photograph in Bunessan.Just before lunch we had stunning views of a dog Otter on the shore munching on a fish. We were looking down on this beast so when he went off fishing again you could follow him in the clear water - stunning........but it made me hungry watching him eat. Lunchtime was the usual 'keep your eyes open' affair. A look round for Adders produced nothing so I guess they are off hunting Hares;-) The birds of prey all want to be the star of the show at the same time so after eating lunch in peace it all happened in a flash.....a distant Golden Eagle, a male Hen Harrier, 2 female Hen Harrier, Kestrel, Common Buzzard, Raven then four Hen Harrier and a Buzzard all together and then they were gone again - bizarre!
The afternoon was a leisurely affair but just as exciting with four more Otters seen, a mother with 2 cubs and the dog, stunning views of GN Divers with some in summer plumage and an adult White-tailed Eagle flying through a glen. I managed to see a Cuckoo that we could all hear calling but it was a distant speck - they will be a good feature through the coming weeks as they perform very well up here.
My local Barn Swallows have eventually made it back and it's a real treat to hear the male chittering and buzzing from the wire outside. The song is not unlike the transfer of data you get when you ring a fax machine - I wonder if he's sending messages long distance! Welcome home.