Friday, 31 January 2014

A wet month

Another day of reasonable weather had the camera back in action. There are plenty of Stonechats bobbing about so they seem to be coping well.
This Buzzard was feeding on worms in the field but it moved into the tree as I pulled up...
...but there was a closer one a bit further along the road.
I saw this WT Eagle just above the trees in front of me but it was heading away so I made haste along the road to get in front - a bit distant but it was worth it.
This female Red-breasted Merganser surfaced with a fish which the male bird tried to steal - he was too slow!
The local Hen Harriers have been sighted fairly regular but it's usually the females that you see. This male bird flew in front of the motor and headed off at quite a lick.
I stopped to check the shore for waders and I was pleased to find this Peregrine just sitting on the grass (didn't get one on the patch last year).
Another patch tick was this Wren - I've seen plenty of them but this was the first on the patch.
A nice surprise at the end of the day as this Golden Eagle appeared over the house when I got back!
So the Patchwork Challenge stands at 61 species and 77 points - better than last year despite a wet month.

Thursday, 30 January 2014


Finally, a nice day! I had to put some fuel in the car so that gave me a chance to go a bit further afield. No sign of the WT Eagles on the rocks above the Common Seals.
I came across a couple of Jackdaws in a group of Rooks and there were a few Tufted Duck on the loch.
A 130 strong flock of Barnacle Geese...
...were in the same field as 25 Greenland White-fronted Geese.
A bit of a wander around was worthwhile as I came across this Mountain Hare enjoying the sunshine and keeping out of the breeze.
A flock of Wigeon were flying along the shoreline... the hare decided to move off.
It didn't go too far but it kept an eye on me as I headed in the opposite direction.
A small flock of Ringed Plover stayed put as I walked past them.
Best sighting of the day had to be a Woodcock flying over the house at dusk.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014


The survey that asked whether WT Eagles should be controlled came back with 92% against the idea - see more HERE. Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter a vote.
With no let up in the rain the photos are getting fewer but the sightings are still there. I'm seeing the WT Eagles on most days but we don't seem to be in the same area at the same time! There are not many days that I haven't seen an Otter this month with the top sighting being a mum with two cubs.
I'd like to get a bit closer to the Black Guillemots as they are coming into their summer dress now - I'll keep trying. The thrush population seems to have moved out onto higher ground as the most regular sighting is of the Mistle Thrush.
The Oystercatcher are just loving this wet weather though - this one is having a rest from paddling about in the fields for worms!
I've not come across any white-winged gulls yet but there is still time for them. I'm not a great fan of gulls but they are always smart looking birds when you get a close look - Herring Gull, smart.
I waited for this GN Diver to drift a bit closer to where I was but as it got closer the rain came down harder - ho hum.

Friday, 24 January 2014


While wandering around in the wood, seeing very little, I came across this tree with strange patterns on it - odd.
Nothing more than a few Blue Tit, Coal Tit and a couple of Woodpigeon to see So I turned the camera on some fungus instead - Many-zoned Polypore, I think.
I had seen an Otter in the water when I'd drove past this location and on my return the Otter was fast asleep on the point. It wasn't worrying about the weather conditions as it was sleeping in the teeth of the wind.
I have seen a couple of gulls carrying starfish through the week so it was no surprise to see one on the side of the road. As this one was a bit different I took a photo - it looks like a Purple Sunstar.
I have been keeping my eyes open for birds to add to the Patchwork Challenge but it's slow going at the minute. A fly past Skylark was a surprise find and a pair of Goldeneye that always turn up at this time of year have been the latest additions. While taking a quick snap of this Greenshank...
...the bird flew off and I noticed this Dipper sitting a bit further back (another for the PWC).
Another day, another Hooded Crow - why not?
PWC - 57 species, 72 points.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

A little ray of sunshine

First off, a survey to take if you wish. A simple yes or no answer to the question of whether farmers should be able to control the population of White-tailed Eagles in Britain. They are claiming that this 'alien' species (we shot them to extinction before they were re-introduced) is seriously damaging the native wildlife and they have fears that they will attack children! and have a look at this for a bit more info
Another dreich day out was brightened up by finding a Grey Wagtail - stunning bird. It certainly put a smile on my face.
I was cheered up no end by a sunny day - it makes things a bit easier. First bird on the list for the day was Golden Eagle, I managed to see three on the day but none of them were close enough! A bit different with WT Eagle - two seen with one being a fly past, awesome!
There are plenty of Red Deer to be seen at the moment as they feed lower down the hills. This youngster was heading back to it's group after being left behind.
Plenty of Stonechats to be seen at the moment but it was nice to get some sun on them.
I watched this Curlew feeding in the shallows for half an hour while it caught quite a few Crabs. You could see the Crab trying to fight back by grabbing the Curlews beak but it was a one sided battle...
...with the Curlew removing the legs and claws before swallowing the rest.
There is plenty of water about but it's nicer to see in the sunshine.
With one Otter already seen but not photographed I thought I might as well go for another. The tide was well out so the chance of getting close was reduced but I managed to get one.
I watched it for a while before it moved off - you can't beat a nice day out!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Must try harder

Not much happening up here at the moment but a change in the weather might help. A cold snap might produce some different birds but these dreich day are just dragging on. Sightings of Golden and WT Eagle have been fairly regular but nothing close enough for a photo - plenty of time for that though. A Red Deer was wandering past the shop when we arrived the other morning.
The usual sighting of Buzzards drying themselves on poles provided the best opportunity for photos...
...and you are never far away from a fly past Raven.
There are plenty of GN Diver out on the loch but I've not had a close encounter for a while now.
Grey Heron has to be the easiest bird to get but they all look the same - this one looked a bit different as it hunkered down in a stiff breeze.
Now and again the Greenshank will stay put while you point the camera...must try harder!

Monday, 13 January 2014


Another fight with the weather - it looks good so you go out and it starts raining again! I sat and watched an Otter for an hour while it rained and I was on the point of giving up when the rain stopped and the beast headed for shore - a lucky break!
The Otter had a good clean up on the shore before heading back out for more fishing.
There was a Hooded Crow foraging in the same area and I watched as he found a large bone of some description and proceeded to try dropping it on the rocks to break it open! The rain came back so I moved a bit closer to home and took a few snaps of this Grey Heron enjoying the shower.
A wee bit further along the road I got my eye on another Otter but the light was pretty bad...
...and it looked like it was on a mission to be somewhere else.
Another stroke of luck - the sun came out just as the Otter came ashore.
A bit of a clean up and then a drink from the sea.
Look at the size of those feet - surely they belong to someone else!
It's nice to see the Red-breasted Merganser back into the breeding plumage...
...and a quick visit by nine Canada Goose was nice to get on the patch list.