Tuesday, 21 September 2010

That's life.

Monday was a fine enough day with a bit of a breeze blowing. The previous days PF Geese had moved but I was sure there would be more to follow. We hit a bit of a blank at our first stop but we did pick up a few of the commoner birds with the Ravens being the best of the bunch. Our first decent sighting of the day was a single Golden Eagle that didn't perform that well. We picked up Common Seals, Gannet and the odd Buzzard before we heard the distinctive 'wink-wink' call of PF Goose but, frustratingly, we couldn't pick the birds up! Our next stop gave us some stunning views of Golden Eagle. A single bird glided into view before landing on a rocky outcrop so we drove closer but the bird lifted before we could get out. It landed again and gave us superb views through the scope and then it was off again and flying towards us. Once again the awesome views stopped me thinking about the camera so this offering will have to do.
A few Redshank and a group of 8 RB Merg were had at our next stop before we picked up an Otter at close quarters. We only had about five minutes of viewing before the beast headed for it's holt. We had a leisurely viewing of two adult WT Eagle sitting side by side.
We stalled for time by having a cuppa just hoping that one of the birds would take flight but it wasn't to be. We left the two of them in peace and headed off. We picked up another Otter on our journey back along the loch and managed a good half an hour of viewing this time. With the tide well in we found a Shag fishing in the shallows. The Shag spent a lot of the time with it's head under water and then it would dash for a tasty morsel. I managed to catch it as it surfaced with it's prize!
On the final stretch one of the guests, Pam, caught sight of a pale fronted bird of prey sitting on a ruined blackhouse. It was on a bend in the road so I didn't see it but I promised to have a look on my way back. Surprisingly the bird was still there when I returned but just in the process of leaving - it was a another Buzzard.
Tuesday was a greyer day with a stiff Southerly blowing. With the guests on board we had an absolutely belting start to the day. We picked up an Otter at our second stop and got superb views while three Stonechat and a few Meadow Pipit bounced around behind us. Better still a juv WT Eagle graced us with its presence too. The local 'free breakfast' Buzzard was posing on his usual telegraph pole.
We were quite lucky to pick up three WT Eagle together being harassed by a flock of Raven. It's a sure sign of a carcass on the hill but it probably won't last more than a couple of days. A flock of 17 Teal was a nice find along the way. The birds had obviously just arrived and were busy having a bit of a clean up.
A nice female Hen Harrier was seen at lunchtime but the Golden Eagle were having an off day. It took a fair while and a visit to another site before we picked up one of those. It may have been a distant Golden Eagle view but there were three of them together. The two Golden Plover that flew low overhead were a nice treat as were the 12 PF Geese that flew past. Our final stop of the day gave the best sighting of the day. We were picking up the small birds like Linnet, House Sparrow, Goldfinch...
...and Skylark...
...before we picked up a couple of Mountain Hare. While watching the Hares a female Hen Harrier appeared over the ridge just behind them. It made its way towards us while dropping out of sight every now and then but we got some stunning views all the same. I was cursing the bird as it passed within feet of where we had just been parked before picking up the hares. That's life!

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