Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Raptors and migrants

This is a bit of a catch up as I've neglected to pull the info together for this lot so here goes.....
Friday wasn't too bad a day weatherwise but a bit breezy. We started off with the great Hare hunt and scored almost immediately with one beast trying to fool us by being right in front of us. Too close to see when you are looking further afield! We tried to find more but it wasn't going to happen although we did get a stunning female Hen Harrier that dropped on prey right in front of us. We waited for it to reappear and started snapping away. It didn't work too well for me but I did get 1 shot....With a southerly wind blowing the next stop on a South facing beach didn't look good initially but with a quick scan across the bay I was stunned to pick up an Otter. It took a good while before everyone saw it but it was worth the time spent and a bonus of a fly by Sparrowhawk too. On the drive back out we had a Merlin flash in front of us but too quick to get the bins on it. A decent haul of raptors there and I forgot to mention the two Whooper Swan that were on a small loch at the side of the road. Way later in the day we found a sickly looking RT Diver that had grabbed the attention of a Heron and a couple of Golden Eagle performed over the ridge. No sign of any WT Eagle today and that had me puzzled but I suppose you can't them every time! Another Otter performed very well on our run back through and a GN Diver was pretty much ignored due to the performance of the mustelid.
Saturday saw me back on the road again in cracking conditions but the best weather doesn't always produce the goods. The start of the day was a bit of a struggle but the Mountain Hare was an easy find. Two Wigeon alongside a couple of Tufted Duck was more indication of the migrating birds starting to move through. A distant Golden Eagle sitting viewing it's territory wouldn't get up to fly but a small party of four Mountain Goats was a real bonus. Just before lunch we tripped over a flock of thrushes that turned out to be Mistle Thrush with 6 Redwing and a juv Ring Ouzel - what a find! A small charm of Goldfinches were flitting around the same area too. Distant views again of a Golden Eagle but this time in flight but the WT Eagle that was in the same location dropped out of sight before I could get anyone on to it. Another 8 Redwing were perched up on the wires alongside the road as we tried to chase up the eagles we had seen. No luck with that but we did get a flock of 15 Twite for our trouble. The RB Merg numbers are starting to build up but there aren't any stunning males yet. Two Otters wrestling on the seaweed covered rocks was a real treat to watch and we eventually got better views of two Golden Eagle flying together and a distant WT Eagle perched up.
Sunday was a showery day but the clear spells were worth it. A day out with B&B gave me a break from driving but we couldn't find anything that wanted to be in range of the cameras. We did have good views of a Golden Eagle quartering the moor before I turned the camera on the rainbows.........and i just had to have a go at the WT Eagles on the reef.......followed by more rainbows...Sunday night I was contemplating a visit to Oban on Monday until I'd checked the forecast Monday was going to be a peach of a day and Tuesday was going to be grotty. Me and Polite Spotter out on a jolly again. I had an Otter in the sights just before PS turned up so we tracked the beast along the shore but he didn't want to play. I took a few shots of these Curlew......while we waited to see what the Otter was going to do. He eventually caught a fish that needed to be brought ashore but he was staying well out.We left him in peace and moved on. I finally managed to get a shot of a Stonechat on our travels.......and while taking a few snaps of this bird.......can you guess what it is or maybe no interest...anyway, the camera decided it had had enough. It wouldn't take any more photos, the battery was changed etc but it didn't want to play. Then it would take one shot but I had to turn it off and back on before it would take another - technology eh?! Here is one of the shots that was taken between the swearing fits....I still had digiscoping to rely on though - it might not be good but it was working! We could see the WT Eagles sitting across the loch from us so we knew not to look for them and we also found two other adult birds that were too far away for photos. Time was filled with a singing Robin in it's natural habitat of steel cables........then in a more natural habitat where it blended in too well....A Common Buzzard tried the same sort of tactics using a telegraph pole for cover...We moved on and located another Buzzard that looked promising for photos but the road was all of a sudden busy. We kept an eye on it and PS was doing 'Uzi 9mm' impersonations with the camera. I thought I would have one last go with the sickly camera, just in time too....The camera had decided it just needed a rest I guess - we'll see. I tried it again on an obliging Heron....I tried the camera a few more times and it seems ok for now - watch this space. We moved on to check the ridges for big birds and the reward was three Golden Eagle - superb. The find of the day was another migrant bird. PS was off trying to photograph Seals and as she returned I heard 'chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff' then it shut up! I was out in a flash and we managed to get good views of the Chiffchaff as it flitted about in the willows. There was photos too but you can guess how they turned out! Just along the road we found Lesser Redpoll, a couple of Bullfinch, a Golden Eagle and a Grey Wagtail - not a bad haul. We headed back to base with a quick stop to photograph the Common Seals doing their banana impersonations....

The trip to Oban today was in the predicted poor weather so that's me up to date for now - back to work tomorrow:-)

No comments: