Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Sunny days

Monday was a cracking day with a nice breeze blowing. Golden Eagle was the first bird on the list as we captured this beast soaring over the ridge.
The Eider ducks were sitting pretty on the near shore as we searched for an Otter. We got decent views of GN Diver along the way and the usual view of the WT Eagle at the nest with the addition of the other adult bird soaring above. We eventually located an Otter asleep on the shore but he showed no signs of waking up in the time we were there. Stunning views of another Golden Eagle at lunchtime as a bird flew past us then started displaying.
It was nice to see the Stonechats with youngsters doing well and a couple of Whinchat in the same area. Last stop of the day gave us superb views of Mountain Hare as a few of them raced past us before sitting to attention and then running on. Three Black-tailed Godwit were still in residence along with good numbers of Ringed Plover and Dunlin. A beautiful calm evening with the tide in provided a photo opportunity and still no midges to speak of (that'll be the end of that comfort then!).
Tuesday was another cracking day (T-shirt weather now). The day started off with a couple of eejits walking through the Iris beds scaring all the birds and, obviously, disrupting the nesting birds too. I asked them if they were aware of the birds nesting there and the response was that they were aware but they were just trying to get some photos!!! I sent them packing. Despite the disturbance we still managed to get a single Mountain Hare, a few Dunlin, Whimbrel, Ringed Plover, Wheatear, Skylark etc. Bird of the day was a sighting, at last, of a Cuckoo. There are plenty about but not many that we get to see and the numbers are down again on last year. Areas that held a few birds last year are down to single calling birds this year! I've never seen or heard a young Cuckoo down this end of the island and I wonder if the population is just dying out, through unsuccessful breeding, rather than other problems on migration. Just a personal view from a small area.
On a brighter note the Sedge Warblers seem to be in good numbers this year with at least 4 birds seen. Another two Mountain Hare were seen having a face off with two Hooded Crow. Good views of Tree Pipit and Golden Eagle at were had followed by a brief view of an Otter. A few of the guests missed this beast so I was under pressure to resolve this! Half an hour later I located another Otter sleeping on the shore so everyone managed to see that! While watching the Otter I noticed the Hooded Crows heading towards the nest and it was nice to see the heads of the youngsters come up with blazing red gapes (must have a go at getting a photo!). The Butterwort is back in flower so a few of us descended into the ditch to get some photos.
The young WT Eagle is coming along nicely and the female is happy enough to leave the side of the nest to perch above. We headed back to see if the sleepy Otter had woken up. Sure enough he wasn't there and had swam across the loch to the near shore. We got fantastic views as he came ashore before heading off. A cracking way to finish the day. On my way back home I stopped to get a shot of Early Purple Orchid. which will be out in abundance before long.

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