Another amazing start to the day with the sun shining and another tour planned. No problem with Otters as we picked one up at our first stop along with three Cormorant drying their wings. Another lone Otter was left to it's own devices before we picked up a mum and cub and it was nice to see them on the shore.
Groundhog day hits harder as we find all three WT Eagle sitting in the trees.Mind the male wasn't visible from close quarters and the juv flew around briefly as the female was just keeping an eye on things.
We spotted the mum and cub on the way back past but they were being hotly pursued by brightly clothed people with cameras. Even the Otters had to hide in the seaweed to secretly laugh and slip quietly away. We watched from a distance to make sure nothing untoward went on and had one Otter swim past us...
...and another some distance away.With 3 pretty poor sightings of Golden Eagle at lunchtime we had to try and recapture the pace we'd enjoyed earlier in the day. It's never that easy though, so with some serious pig tickling going on and a lot of laughing rather than giving the Tufted Duck a glance or two wasn't getting the job done. Another glance around and I had our quarry in sight and we charged down the rutted track at 5mph hoping we would reach the destination in time. We had a few moments where we weren't sure if the bird was present or not, a brief distraction of a Whinchat with food in it's beak and a dilemma of what equipment to haul out of the motor. 'What was it?' you ask. It was a big bird, doing what these big birds, allegedly, never do!
Tremendous views of this Golden Eagle were had before we set off again through a cloud of Common Darters.
Autumn is really starting to pick up pace now with the disappearance of Common Sandpiper, Northern Wheatears are starting to thin out and flocks of finches are starting to appear along with the waders returning from further North. We picked up a number of Northern Wheatear and a flock of Linnet, one of which posed for a photo.
The Ravens are grouping together too and with a flock of about 8 birds just out of sight, but calling all the time, it was inevitable that they would show eventually. They came up in small groups and chased each other around while others tumbled from the sky to touch feet with the ones below. I managed to get quite a few photos of birds mid tumble, upside down, with beak open as they called but they were all blurred shots! There will be another chance, I'm sure, to improve things but the image below does capture the moment somewhat.
Just as we got back in the motor all the birds lifted off and flew past us. The sound of the air rushing through their wings was just fantastic and the only half decent shot that I got was of this bird flying off! A brilliant experience though.
We picked up quite a few Mountain Hare and as we had one last scan around I noticed a pale bird sitting very upright. Too pale for Peregrine but the light can play tricks and it had to be a bird of prey of some description. We jumped out for a better view just as the bird turned sideways on to show it was a male Hen Harrier!
It all happened a bit quick after that with the bird moving a bit lower down and then it was off. A superb bird to find sitting in the open and I don't care about the poor quality of these shots!