Thursday, 11 June 2009

Now you see me, now you don't.

Sunday night was a bit rainy so I was off to watch the F1 at a mates house. Just as the race finished the sunset was looking pretty spectacular - out we went with cameras and captured this.Monday was another day of sunshine and some easy hits on the wildlife. We'd visited the WT Eagle nest and only saw the young bird. We headed off to look for the Otters and scored with the mother and cub at close quarters. While watching these I picked up the female WT Eagle sitting on the ridge. As we focused our attention on the Eagle she took flight and gave a good display of the 'flying barn door'. We bagged a pair of Golden Eagle sitting on the ridge and one of the birds in flight over us. The job was done really but we carried on with our sightings picking up a family party of Stonechat, 2 Adders, a Slow Worm, Whinchat and a Yellowhammer before picking up another WT Eagle. Superb views of a silent Cuckoo sitting on the wires and a collection of waders to finish the day off.
Tuesday was similar, weatherwise, to Monday but couldn't have been more different for sightings. Again we started with the WT Eagle - stunning views - and then it went pear shaped. We located an Otter on the near shore that was swimming away from us so everyone got a view. We attempted to get in front of the beast but it had disappeared probably into the holt. While trying to relocate it we found a Dipper sitting on the shore looking a bit lost!While scanning the shore outside the shop we located a strange looking Greenshank? sporting strong colouration, thin bill and extra long legs. Any comments on this bird are welcome as I've not seen anything like it before. The more I look at it the more it looks like a Greenshank though.We located two more Dippers, an adult with a youngster, in more suitable habitat of a mountain stream. Three Adders and a Slow Worm were keeping spirits high but we were struggling for Golden Eagle. Photos of flowers won't cover the disappointment but they look pretty.A great day out but we didn't connect with the Goldies despite the effort put in.
Wednesday was looking like we would catch a few showers. I had picked up from the ferry in Craignure making for a different day for me as I don't normally do the ferry pick-ups. We started slow with a few small birds, Buzzard etc. The clouds were gathering and we hit some light drizzle. We drove out the other side of this and immediately picked up 2 Golden Eagle on a ridge - superb. One bird dropped out of sight and didn't reappear so we decided to investigate. I picked the flying bird up in the distance and almost immediately lost it again - clever me! The second bird was still sitting on the ridge so we had another look. Just as we decide to move on I relocated the flying Eagle coming back towards us so it was pointed out. It didn't take too long to realise that one of the group was watching another bird. Two Golden Eagle in flight. I checked the ridge for the sitting bird, it was still there. Suddenly another 3 Golden Eagle cleared the ridge! What was going on? None yesterday and now they are bursting out of the scenery - I'm not complaining and neither was anyone else. We bagged two close Otters at lunchtime and a third was picked up not long after.We actually bagged another 5, yes 5, Golden Eagle through the afternoon - bizarre but that's wildlife for you!
Today was a different affair again. The weather is still holding and my head is getting burnt! We started off with Mountain Hare but it was a distant view of one trying to hide. We drove round the corner and found five of them having a little meeting. Four of them scarpered and left one behind who acted all innocent until he realised he was getting framed!The Hen Harrier are starting to show again with chicks on the go they are starting to hunt regularly. We picked a male bird circling round and then he dropped his legs to reveal the prey he was carrying. The female came into sight and the food pass was made then the birds went their separate ways - fantastic. The guests were desperate to see Otters and we came up trumps with the mother and cub settling down to have a nap before moving off to do some more fishing. The best was yet to come though. A visit to the WT Eagle gave us good views of the female circling above us before flying off over the trees. The male bird was at the nest feeding the youngster. You couldn't ask for anything more. A WT Eagle appeared in the sky quite close to and we suspected the female returning but this birds tail was all wrong. It was a young bird from 2007 sporting white tags. Would this set the male off? Not a chance, he was sticking with junior. Another bird appeared - WHAT? The second bird was white tagged too. They flew around together with one bird turning upside down to touch talons with the other a couple of times before soaring up into the blue sky. A stunning display and my camera was nowhere to be seen. It was caught on video by someone else who was there though. Maybe my chance will come. I'm off for the weekend and I'll probably end up chasing the wildlife with the camera but it'll probably rain!

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