Friday, 31 October 2014


No ghosts, ghouls or pumpkins in this post just the last two tours in October. Both days were dreich to say the least so not too many photos. No Golden eagle on either day due to the weather but Otters were the most sought after on both days. This Buzzard was obviously feeling a bit hungry as he was hunting in the rain.
Barnacle Geese were seen both days but we did get 33 Greenland White-fronted Geese flying over on day 2. If you look carefully at the photo below you can see there is an Otter swimming past these two Grey Seals.
Three Otters were seen on the first tour and four on the second - not a bad result for both sets of guests.
A couple of treats were had in the shape of Dipper...
...and a Whimbrel.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Left out in the rain

You don't get these dying storms without some precipitation to deal with so it was showers all the way but it doesn't stop the wildlife. On my way to pick up the guests for the day I followed this WT Eagle down the road and captured the moment where some Mallards decided to escort it for a while!
It never looked like a day for photos but we had plenty of sightings to keep us going. Barnacle Geese, Snipe and Sparrowhawk were the highlights at the start of the day. Turnstone, Ringed Plover and Reed Bunting were seen just before we picked up our first Otter - this one headed out into the roughest part of the loch to go fishing. We struck lucky with the second Otter as we spotted him just as he was heading into the water and then we watched him fishing.
We picked up a pair of WT Eagle sitting in a tree but this young bird was trying to join the party. The adult male eagle wasn't having any of this and seen the youngster off just as a heavy shower of hail passed through - talk about left out in the rain!
The GN Divers seem to travel too their wintering grounds as a family so you often see both adults together. These adult bird are coming into their winter plumage.
There were  a lot of Gannets still hanging around in the heavy winds.
A clear spell in the afternoon gave us a chance to catch up with Golden Eagle but the wind wasn't slackening off - it's not often you see waterfalls going upwards.
A Hen Harrier was seen jostling with a Hooded Crow and a few Red Deer standing in the open finished the day off nicely.

Monday, 27 October 2014


The day that the remains of the hurricane blew through things could have been difficult but it turned out to be a cracker. We started the day with a few Barnacle Geese, Wigeon, Snipe, a male Hen Harrier and Mountain Hare.
We had to work hard to find things but all the goods were found through the day. A pair of WT Eagle were seen on the skerries, 4 Otters soon after, one BT Diver, a raft of Eider, plenty of Buzzard...
...and six GN Diver.
A single Dipper was seen doing his thing.
A good smattering of waders included Turnstone, Dunlin, Greenshank and plenty of Grey Heron.
Sighting of the day had to be at our last stop where we found two Golden Eagle hunting the ridge and drifting in and out of the clouds - very atmospheric!

Monday, 20 October 2014


The weather is starting to turn a bit more autumnal now but the leaves are still clinging to the trees.With the dying breath of a hurricane about to hit our shores I don't think the leaves will last much longer. I had a quick trip out to ring the kids and I wasn't alone as this Golden Eagle sat on a rock nearby the whole time!
A 23 strong group of Whooper Swan dropped in for a rest. Nice to see but not a single youngster amongst them.
The Barnacle Geese have arrived too but there are only about 60 birds at the moment.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

I was there

The island has gone quite quiet now so the wildlife is a bit easier to see from the road now. On the way to the shop in the morning this young stag was strutting his stuff - on his own but you have to practice somewhere!
John and June hadn't seen an Otter all week so they were delighted to catch up with the one I was watching coming to shore. At least they can say 'I was there'.
On the way home there was a very tame Redwing on the side of the road. It had probably just made landfall after a non-stop flight from Iceland.

Friday, 17 October 2014


After a week off it was nice to get back out and what a cracker it was! All three species of diver were picked up at our first proper stop - Black-throated first, then a couple of distant Red-throated then a few Great Northern Diver. No mistaking the bulk of a GND.
It all got a bit difficult after that but Golden Eagle, RB Merg and 3 Otters were the highlights. A GS Woodpecker was seen while we watched a couple of WT Eagle perched in the trees. There was also a good finish as we picked up a male Hen Harrier which perched up on a post.
An early start for the next tour paid off with plenty of roaring stags. This looks like it has a Saltire on it's nose.
An Otter was seen fishing in the loch, a Merlin flashed across the road and there were a few Goosanders hanging around.
A WT Eagle flew over as we watched a few Wigeon.
Another Merlin was seen just after we had views of two Hen Harrier. A couple of Golden Eagle and a WT Eagle were seen as we had lunch. Prolonged views of another Otter and a good sighting of WT Eagle in the afternoon but the Whooper Swans stole the show for me.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


This post has been a long time coming as all the photos were from the first two days in October. A trip out with Doc produced a couple of migrant birds. We saw a couple of House Martin and a single Whinchat.
We watched an immature Golden Eagle being mobbed by Ravens. They eventually forced the youngster to land and then left it alone.
One of the WT Eagles that we saw gave a good performance as it circled overhead...
...and, of course, there were plenty of Buzzards to see. Doc had to take this photo for me as it was on the wrong side of the car for me to take the shot.
The following day was just as good for raptors. A couple of WT Eagle were seen from a distance at our first stop but we changed location and watched the two young birds interacting as they drifted over us.
A few Common Teal were seen through the day so there were some of the winter migrants coming in but there are still very few GN Diver around. The lack of winter birds is probably due to the good weather. There were plenty of sightings to keep us going through the day but Golden Eagle was proving difficult to connect with. After a few failed attempts I decided to head back to one of the locations and connected with a bird at close quarters.
It was a great sighting but the biggest surprise was when the bird headed out over the water and carried on to the other side of the loch!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

End of September

Just before I set off for the final tour of the month I had views of a male Hen Harrier quickly followed by a sighting of a flock of Starling being hunted by a Sparrowhawk.
The guests had requested Otters as the thing to see for the day. Around high tide we picked picked up our first Otter of the day which we watched for a good half an hour. A couple of Golden Eagle and a WT Eagle were seen before we picked up a family of 3 Otters. The youngsters had a bit of a squabble in the water...
...while a Common Seal watched us from close quarters.
Time flies when you are enjoying yourself so it was an hour and a half before we left the Otters. The usual waders were seen and another single bird of each species of eagle. There have been some impressive gatherings of Hooded Crows in various places.

Thursday, 2 October 2014


After picking up the guests we were driving past the shop and I noticed, what looked like, some debris in the water. We were thrilled to find a Red Deer stag swimming towards the shore!
There are plenty of Redshank in with the rest of the waders and high tide is the best time to get a good view.
With no sign of any WT Eagles to start with a second pass through the area produced 3 of the big fellas.
A couple of Golden Eagle and another WT Eagle were seen but they were outclassed by the views of Buzzard through the day.
There were plenty of Golden Plover migrating south but the views of these birds were always distant. Mountain Hare and a single Swallow were both welcome sightings. A couple of Sparrowhawk were seen - the first was a quick fly past but the second one put on more of a display.


Not the best of days for this tour as we had poor visibility for the whole day. Seeing a WT Eagle at our first stop settled everyone into the idea that we could have a good day.
It was never going to be easy but 4 Otters, Hen Harrier, Red Deer, Lapwing, Snipe and Gannet all helped. We also found a family party of Whooper Swan that had stopped for a rest on their journey south from Iceland.
The following day the weather had cleared and there was a lot more landscape to see. The Lapwings were a treat to see as they flew around.
Plenty of WT Eagles were seen on the day including this one that was doing a good impression of the caped crusader!
We only managed to see one Otter on this tour but one is better than none.
A Golden Eagle showed off it colours as it flew around at low level. It certainly looks a different bird when the light catches the underside.
When we tried to relocate that bird all we could find were a few Ravens.