Thursday, 3 September 2009

Bad Hare day

Monday was yet another wet day but with an Osprey in attendance at Lochdon it was time for a twitch. Bear in mind the bird was present early in the morning and I didn't hear about it till the afternoon - we didn't see it! We searched the area from top to bottom and back to front but not a sign of any Osprey. We did get a couple of male Hen Harriers and 4 Goosander and also wet - maybe next time.
Tuesday was looking like a pleasant day but the threat of rain was looming. First in the bag was a juv WT Eagle that flew around before dropping out of sight - that was before we got in the motor! This was closely followed by a brief view of a Golden Eagle again above a ridge then dropping out of sight. The threat of rain turned into a reality with a real squally shower as we searched for Otters. I managed to pick an Otter up in the choppy water but it headed off on a mission and we lost it. We moved round the loch, still searching, before picking it up again as it was settling down for a kip. The shower had passed so the light was excellent as we watched the Otter settle well down into the seaweed covered rocks and all but disappear! Moving on we checked through the waders that were present and I got my first year tick since the middle of June in the shape of four Knot.The scattered flock of birds included Turnstone, Golden Plover, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Redshank and Greenshank - a pretty good display. Lunch was a complete wash out - the heavens opened with a vengeance and we wondered if we might need a boat for the rest of the day! We carried on driving in the direction the rain was coming from hoping it would clear. Not too far down the road we were back into sunshine but the temperature had dropped about 5 degrees - a real sign of the onset of Autumn. A cracking Buzzard was sitting on a post at the side of the road so we stopped for a better look. It took off and landed on the other side of the road in a better position for us to view it - out came the camera to capture the moment.Next stop was to look for some of the smaller birds but we forgot all about them as an adult WT Eagle put in an appearance as it was being seen off by a Golden Eagle! We did pick up a few of the commoner birds along the way with Meadow Pipit, Ringed Plover, Linnet etc all putting in an appearance while we searched for Mountain Hare - the title of the blog gives the result of that search - nothing! We'd had a superb day all told but the best came just as we finished the tour. Two adult WT Eagle sitting in the same tree, one above the other....the male bird was sitting below the female but stunning views of them both........the female bird was stunning in silhouette...Wednesday was much better looking day but there was still rain on the horizon. We headed off with hope that someone had been out with Hare restorer but the sight of a flock of birds in panic mode and a large raptor in view had us hauling in to the side of the road. A juv WT Eagle was testing it's skills in scaring the local Buzzards. One of the Buzzards was heading straight for the Eagle as the Eagle made a sharp turn - the poor Buzzard nearly turned itself inside out to avoid a close encounter of the flying barn door!Another superb start to the day and we went from the giant to the miniature with a Stonechat performing very well on the fence posts.Luckily the Hare restorer had worked as we found a full head of Hare sticking out from behind a rock.....The flock of Ravens that were in attendance put on a fantastic display as they enjoyed the wind that was blowing in off the Atlantic. They chased each other, dive bombed and also did a bit of formation flying, calling all the time - stunning!We ploughed on wondering what we would turn up next. As usual with these good sightings it always seems to be followed by a blank bit but never for long. Northern Wheatears are starting to get thin on the ground as they head back off to Africa so one perched on a wall in front of us was enjoyed for a spell while a flock of sheep were gathered off the hill came spilling past us. The air temperature was pretty cold at lunchtime but we managed to get Golden Eagle eventually and I did see one Adder but it was off before anyone else seen it - oh for a sunny day! The heavens opened after lunch but the torrential rain didn't last for too long. We collected a fair spread of waders but there was no sign of the Knot from the previous day. We bagged a single dog Otter on our travels round the loch but no real photo opportunities until we located this Buzzard sitting atop a telegraph pole.The Red deer were scattered across the hillsides and it was surprising how many were out there once you got your eye in and we managed to find a couple of Stags eventually. While looking for the deer we watched this caterpillar crossing the road and I thought it might be worth a go at getting a caterpillars eye view of the glen.....

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