Saturday, 10 April 2010

Three days old

First of all - nobody noticed that I got my days wrong in the last post but I've changed it now. I've not had a chance to update the blog until now due to tours through the day and social commitments in the evenings so I'll try to keep it short and let the pictures do the talking!
Wednesday was a bright enough day and a cracking start on the wildlife front. We picked up one of the young WT Eagles sitting in trees above a field full of sheep with lambs and then spotted this obliging Snipe sitting on a post at the side of the road.
A Greenshank showed well on the shore while a GN Diver was a bit more elusive as it was feeding just behind. The local WT Eagles were both present at the nest so it was nice to see the eggs being turned by the female and the male looking on. We had a cracking display of two male Wheatear displaying against each other oblivious to us. I managed an action shot of one of the birds leaping at the other.
We had three Otters that performed well before we got to lunch where the Golden Eagles performed well. We picked up the first bird as it appeared over the ridge in the distance and the second bird joined it before they gained height and then swooped down over the top of us and out of sight again. The other highlight of the afternoon was the discovery of the WF Geese again. Not sure where they are hiding but I'm not seeing them every day. Right at the end of the day I picked up another year tick, a Swallow flew down the road in front of the motor - stunning!
Thursday morning was overcast and it had rained overnight. First bird on the list was a Swallow which could have been the same bird as yesterday or, just as easily, it could be a different bird.
We picked up a couple of Greenshank and a GN Diver before we bagged our first Otter. The loch was flat calm so it wasn't hard to spot as it surfaced so we stopped to view it as the heavens opened. I checked a bit further up the loch to check on the weather and noticed a big area of ripples - bins up....3 Otters. We headed along the road for better views. We stood quietly at the side of the road and watched them fishing. They were close enough to hear the splash as they surfaced or dived, you could hear the crunch of the fish being eaten and the occasional blowing of water out of the nostrils - fantastic stuff. They came out eventually to go to dry off and have a kip.
The first Otter that we spotted caught up with these three and the female tussled with this squeaky beast as the youngsters slept on. It must have been one of the females youngsters from last year as the tussle didn't seem to have any animosity and it seemed more like 'you can't join in, your on your own now'. He headed off past us still squeaking.
With the WT Eagles in the bag we headed back past the Otters and I couldn't resist one last photo.
Lunchtime gave us the usual Golden Eagle pair who plainly haven't bothered with nesting this year. The bonus of the day was finding my first Slow Worm of the year.
As we headed for the beach in the afternoon we picked up a single Redwing (Shop Lady had 30 Redwing in the trees at the shop!)...
...and a couple of Wheatears along with my first Sand Martins of the year - I was starting to wonder which season we were in with that mix. A large raptor being harassed by a Raven turned out to be a WT Eagle that eventually flew over the top of us.
We did see the WF Geese again and a Mountain Hare before the day was done.
Friday it was still overcast but it cleared through the day. The morning was a bit chilly and quiet on the bird front with the highlights being a flock of 30 Golden Plover in summer plumage and a nicely posed Mountain Hare.
Lunchtime things kicked off with a vengeance. We'd seen an Adder and we were waiting for the Goldies to do their thing. We heard a very angry Raven 'ROP,ROP,ROP' about two seconds before a Golden Eagle appeared about 50 yards away with the two Ravens in pursuit - what a sight!! The black menaces tried their best to get the eagle to go to ground but gave up when they thought it was a safe distance away. The Goldie was a bit miffed and turned back towards the Ravens and disappeared from sight so we waited....and waited... and then they were back. The Ravens were giving it their all and managed to ground the big bird which sat with it's beak open and wings mantled. When the Ravens landed the eagle went for them. The mate of the first Goldie had to come to the rescue after that and draw the Ravens away - spectacular stuff.
We picked up our first Otter just after that but it gave us the slip as it disappeared behind an outcrop of rock. A bit further along the road we saw something disappear under water so we stopped to check it out hoping it was another Otter. It wasn't what we hoped but there was no disappointment as a cracking GN Diver surfaced right in front of us.
Another Golden Eagle was scoped in the distance before we picked another two Otters. We got stunning views of these two as we were on a high point looking down on them. The mother with two cubs was not too far up the road from here but not as close so we kept moving. While watching the WT Eagle on the nest we picked up two Common Crossbill, a juv and an adult male, another two White-tails in flight and yet another Goldie. Our last stop of the day produced a distant view of 5 WT Eagles high in the sky and a few nice Red Deer stags for a distraction.
Last night we went to a bird club meeting to see Roy Dennis give a talk about his book A life of Ospreys.
A superb talk and a cracking book.
Last of all another moth photo and a failed attempt to ID it - some sort of carpet moth was the best I could come up with but I could be wrong.


Anonymous said...

Another super day out with a knowledgable guide. Thanks Bryan. M&D

Stewart said...

Hello Bryan, the moth is an Engrailed....