Thursday, 30 July 2009

Scotch Argus

Monday was another fine day but I wasn't able to get out so we'll move swiftly onto Tuesday - a day of dodging showers! With a target of Otters and the tide well in already we set off on a different route. The Curlew numbers have built up quite nicely over the last couple of weeks but they are always overshadowed by the Grey Herons. There must be at least 30 of each of these birds dotted around the shore of Loch Beg. A lone juv Black Guillemot is failing to hold anyones attention when the Herons are so prominent but it's out there! The Hooded Crows have the young out of the nests so there are good numbers around and they are great to watch. The adults are always rooting through the seaweed on the shore or breaking Mussels on the rocks. When the tide is in they plod around on the machair looking for something to harass. We found a particularly noisy youngster that was hassling one of the adult birds. The parent was blissfully unaware of the youngsters shouting for food - we could learn from this I'm sure, if your out shopping and the kids are screaming just carry on regardless! Here is the adult doing the 'shopping'........and the youngster doing all the shouting and jumping up and down....The WT Eagle parents were showing well but still no sign of the youngster although I have received news that the youngster is flying around on occasion. We headed off to Loch na Keal to see if we could get a view of the Golden Eagles on that side but it was a wasted effort and the rain stopped play eventually. On the loch itself were a small group of Eider and about 20 RB Merg with a small flock of Linnet feeding on the shoreline too. We headed back along the loch eventually getting to the other side of the shower picking off the likes of the Northern Wheatears, Rock and Meadow Pipits, Raven etc. We eventually located an Otter which we watched for nearly an hour. He was fishing well and it was only a matter of time before he caught something big enough to haul out. When he eventually got to shore we could see he had an Eel that was at least three foot long! It was nice to get photos for the guests but it means that I don't get the opportunity myself - it must be my turn soon! Tuesday evening saw me travelling about again so I thought I would take the opportunity to see if I could catch up with the SE Owl that I nearly ran over. First stop was for the WT Eagles at Grasspoint - distant views of one of the youngsters that was soon joined by an adult bird. While I was watching the youngster a first summer male Hen Harrier flew by giving good views but too far for the camera. I took a few shots of the Red Deer hinds on the way back out - fine looking beasts.
Off for the Shorties next. I put one up from the side of the road again but it was off like a shot. I found a place with good visibility and started to scan around - not a sign! In the distance a flash of a pale bird turned out to be the target bird that was soon joined by another two. The initial bird then put in an appearance but too far away for any decent shots. The best I could manage is shown below and it wasn't going to improve in the failing light.Wednesday was a day of torrential rain - it sounds bad but it's all lies as it was actually another fine day which is getting a bit boring now. The Curlews are still out in force but the Golden Plover and Dunlin seemed to have moved on. Another great show from the WT Eagles but still no sign of the youngster for me. We cracked on through the day picking up plenty of small birds and also doing the flowers justice too. It was nice to see Heath Spotted Orchid still in flower in a shady spot along with St Johns Wort - most other places they have gone to seed. We gave the Mountain Hares a good shot and were rewarded with 2 of them together. On the return journey a Swift was a surprise find as it swooped in front of us. It not that easy to get photos with a full complement of guests so it was nice to get some shots of Scotch Argus while having lunch.

1 comment:

Kate S said...

The hooded crow has got a certain character!