Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Nice weather, who needs it?!

Saturday started off reasonably good but the rain soon came in. I headed off in search of the Siberian Stonechat in poor conditions and gave the area a good grilling but I couldn't relocate the bird. On checking the cameras on my return I found a few shots from the previous day one of which shows the two races of Redwing side by side - cool.Sunday was another day with guests and the weather wasn't good! We did start the day in reasonable conditions but the rain was always threatening. It was fairly breezy so I wasn't expecting to get Mountain Hares at the first stop but lo and behold we found two distant hares sheltering from the wind and then a closer one revealed itself about 30 yards away! The Greenland WF Goose numbered six today, 4 adults and 2 juv, and the Skylarks showed well as a Snipe flew overhead. A trip to the beach gave us our first GN Diver of the day and a Common Seal but not much else before we headed into the rain. The poor conditions didn't help things so we raced through a few locations picking up a few of the common birds. We stopped at the shop for lunch so we could pick through the waders while we ate. PS was on form as usual 'there's a big f..f...flying thing over there' (I think that's what she said) that turned out to be an adult WT Eagle across the loch. It was raining pretty hard at the time too. We headed off in search of the Otters after lunch and it almost looked like it was going to be pleasant weather. The rain did hold off for about an hour but we hadn't seen much apart from a reasonable collection of GN Divers on the loch. Heading away from the lochside and into the glen we picked up two WT Eagle perched up and drying off. We watched them until they decided it was time to go - nice to see them in flight though. We had some nice views of a Red Deer stag in the glen before we retraced our journey. A car parked at the side of the road with a telescope trained on something needed to be investigated so we asked what they had........juv WT Eagle sitting out the rain that was pouring down again. I managed to read the ring on it's leg and it turns out the bird is one of our own. The photograph below shows how little white there is in the tail of the youngsters.We moved on in search of Otters again and it wasn't too long before we had one in sight. No sooner had we got out of the motor and the Otter was heading for the shore with a fish.It was a superb encounter and we managed to get the folk who showed us the eagle onto it too - it's nice to give something back! We stopped at the shop on the way back round to see if we could pick anything else up - the reward was 5 Whooper Swans dropping in - excellent! We had one last stop to look at the seal colony and that proved fortuitous too as the first thing I saw was a female Hen Harrier getting mobbed by a Buzzard. A superb comparison of these two birds as the Harrier hunted and the Buzzard 'mewed' it's displeasure.
Monday was an absolute stunner of a day - clear skies and not much wind. Sounds perfect eh? With the guests and PS on board we headed off in search of the hares. Nothing. Birds? Very few. PS reckoned it 'wasn't very good' or words to that effect. Highlights were a Sparrowhawk on the hunt that stopped long enough for this photo.....only 5 WF Goose, a couple of Skylark overhead and a Common Buzzard. Tantalising glimpses of the commoner birds seemed to be the order of the day as everything seemed to want to be out of our way. We did get nice views of Redshank.........and Grey Heron along the way....but even the WT Eagle that we picked up mocked us from a location that we'd already been through - a whole lot of 'if only....'! The Great Northern Divers showed well but a distant Golden Eagle that I picked up was never going to be easy as it flew against the land and a male Hen Harrier that proved to be elusive added to the frustration of the day. Our luck had to change though. While going through the waders and ducks outside the shop I picked up two Otters asleep on the rocks. We headed round to get better views and at last we had something that was easy to see! We travelled on in search of anything that moved. We stopped in a good location for Golden Eagle and our initial reward was nothing but nice views. A small flock of 5 Crossbills flew overhead and then, just before we were going to move on, a Golden Eagle cleared the ridge. As everyone got onto the bird another two Goldies joined the first one and two Ravens started mobbing them. One of the birds moved off and the other two briefly settled on the ridge. I managed to get photos of the birds perched up for the guests before we moved on. A few Red Deer hinds we showing at close quarters a bit further along the road.......and then we were heading back. We stopped to look at the Otters again on the way back through before we decided to call it a day.

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