Saturday, 7 November 2009
Kate's day out
Friday I had an exclusive tour with an avid fan of the blog and tours, Kate, on board. The weather was stunningly bad in the morning with Kate wondering if we'd see anything at all! Initially we mostly found nothing in driving rain and blustery conditions - Curlew was probably one of the highlights. We changed tact and headed off for Otter. The waves were beating against the shore and it didn't look good for finding any kind of fish eating monsters. Persevering pays off and it wasn't too long before I had an Otter in my sights. We moved closer to where I'd last seen it and couldn't find a thing so we headed back to the original spot and used the vehicle for shelter. Five minutes of scanning and we had it back in our sights. The Otter was staying fairly well out but we watched him for about half an hour as he made his way past us. It was a cracking start but could we find anything else? There were plenty of seals, Shag and RB Mergs to keep us going and the Golden plover showed well too. The weather was supposed to improve later in the day so, again, the decision was made to head for the West end of the island and hopefully follow the good weather back through. We checked a few locations along the way with not much luck until we spotted a large bird hanging in the wind and driving rain. We hauled in and jumped out to find a juv WT Eagle - stunning! It really performed well despite the conditions and when the rain increased the eagle headed for a spot to land.....The light seemed to improve a bit and I was surprised to see blue sky when I looked the other way. This had to get the bird back in the air. Sure enough the beast took to the skies again and seemed happy to just hang in the wind but not for long. Two Raven cleared the ridge behind the eagle and went into full attack mode. The eagle was taken by surprise and headed towards us trying to swat the Ravens out of the sky........the action was getting ever closer to us and giving incredible views. The final fly by before the bird turned was a real spine tingler....I must say that Kate's photos looked better than mine but the experience of what we watched won't be captured! We headed off for lunch knowing that we wouldn't be able to top that but there was still more to see. We bagged the WF Geese that had increased to 31 birds, a Kestrel or two, plenty of Redwing and the tango twins that we intent on getting some camouflage...A few Skylark scurrying about amongst the Starlings were nice to see but not as good as the single Twite.We headed for the beach to see if we could rustle up a Hen Harrier along the way. Not a great deal to see on the way but as we settled down with a cuppa a male Harrier cleared the ridge - excellent! The sun was heading for the horizon and we were running out of time for Golden Eagle so we packed up and raced off. I reckoned we had about half an hour to find a Goldie and no sooner had I mentioned this and we had one in our sights! Another Hen Harrier, a female this time, didn't stay in view long enough for Kate to see it but the Goldie was taking the honour anyway. Some day out considering there wasn't much hope at the start!