Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Three's a treat!

Sunday was a cracking day but I spent most of it sleeping due to a late night on Saturday! Monday was a bit damp so I spent the day in the shop and reading.
Tuesday was supposed to be nice and they were right to start with. I managed to find all the bits of rain that was to be had but the rainbows were nice. I had a check of the WF Goose flock and counted 31 birds again but there could be 32 - if only they would show all at once!I saw a distant Otter and a distant Sparrowhawk before the rain came in and moved me on. I took a slow drive back stopping to chat to folk on the way but didn't see a great deal until I clocked this Kestrel....Not the best photo in the world but it was worth the shot. I headed for home to get some lunch before heading round the loch to see if I could get better views of any Otters. Digiscoping is a tortuous pastime as I'm sure you are aware. The regular wader flock was scattered about in shallow water so I thought it might be worth a go - not on your nelly! No shutter speed at all despite the light - I would have been lucky to get a non-blurry shot of something dead! Ah well you have to try though. A scan round the loch produced one Otter that was showing great interest in a young seal and vice-versa. The Otter came out of the water to look at the seal and seal disappeared off the rocks, the Otter went back in the water to swim round the seal and the seal hauled out again. Funny to watch but you wonder about the potential danger for both beasts. The scenario was broken by the adult seal putting in an appearance at which point the Otter disappeared. Not too long after and not too far away from that drama I picked up mother and cub rolling about on the seaweed. Not sure if the nosy Otter was one of these two or not. A WT Eagle soaring over the ridge in one direction and the rain pushing in from the other had me throwing in the towel for the day - there's always tomorrow!
Wednesday started off overcast with the threat of rain that didn't materialise. I headed off in search of the Otters again as it seemed a good starting point. It was a bit chilly when I left but it was baltic when you got into the teeth of the wind! I did the right thing and set up to grill the place - eye streaming, nose running, finger breaking cold - and I found nothing out of the ordinary. The Cormorant was drying his wings, the Little Grebes were popping up and down, the RB Mergs were out in the middle, Herons aplenty and the Oystercatchers were keeping their heads down. A blurry eyed view of two dark shapes and one pale one on the far shore had me wiping the tears away to get a better view. The two dark shapes turned out to be Hooded Crows but the pale one looked a bit more interesting as it wasn't a gull........a pale Buzzard sitting on the seaweed with it's tail well in the water. I've seen them bathe in freshwater but I didn't think I'd see this - maybe it thinks it's an Osprey! I had to go for a closer look......nice looking bird. I moved on wondering where would be the best place to sit out of the wind. In the motor with the heater on seemed a good idea but it's too restricted for me, I like to be able to see everywhere. A Great Northern Diver wasn't close enough to tempt me out, a seal impersonating an Otter didn't have me fooled for too long - it's like mental finger drumming - what'll I find next? Plenty of Grey Herons and the odd Curlew along the shore but they weren't going to hang around and neither was I. After spending a bit of time watching Meadow Pipits doing their thing and grilling the gulls I headed back along the way. I parked up to have a good scan around. Scan left, nothing, scan right over the ridge, nothing, scan left along the loch, Otter - woohoo! It was a lucky break as I caught sight of a tail disappearing. I waited for the beast to resurface and there it was a bit further out. Too warm and comfortable to get out I was straining to look over my shoulder but as the Otter surfaced again I was surprised to find that the first one hadn't went down yet! To retain my warm and comfortable viewpoint I reversed along the road to get a better view. I managed to find one of the Otters but not the second - that's what you get for being comfy! All of a sudden the Otter was heading for shore with a fish - grab camera and make for the shore. I was out in a flash and into the teeth of the wind that was blowing in off the water - cold I tell you. Into a safe place and wait for beast to appear - I couldn't see much though streaming eyes but I could hear alright. A squeak came from just offshore and there was the Otter demolishing the fish. The big surprise was the two cubs that were trying to get in on the wonder I'd only seen one Otter. Both the cubs were fairly dry so they'd been out a wee while. She didn't share the fish so the cubs must be fending for themselves and as she headed off the cubs moved in to see if there was anything left. A lot of squeaking and chittering later they reappeared as the female clambered over the back of the rock. She just kept coming straight over and paused briefly to look in my direction and then carried on about her business.The youngsters disappeared into the crevice of the rock and the female was back out fishing so I moved off again wondering if this was the mum and two that had been seen earlier in the year. Who knows?! They look about the right size but where have they been for the last four months? It'll be interesting to see if they become a regular feature or not. Heading back along the way the Blackbirds are noticeable everywhere. There aren't a great deal to be seen but in the Winter the numbers are boosted by Scandinavian birds - could this be one?I couldn't help but see this furry lump sticking up so I had to investigate.Mum and cub fast asleep in a nithering wind - get me one of them fur coats.


Kate S said...

I don't know.... more otters than you know what to do with!!

Wonderful pictures. You need to go out in a car without a roof to get the real benefit of warmth, heated seats and full view!


Stewart said...

In Northumberland that would have been a Rough leg! God I'm cynical...

Bryan Rains said...

Kate - I think I'll stick with a roof and the elements outside:-)

Stewart - This Buzzard gets mistaken for Rough-leg and also Osprey every year. Cracking bird though.