Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Cracking stuff

Sunday was a day of rest with pleasant weather and it was similar conditions for the tour on Monday. Before the guests arrived I'd spotted four Canada Goose and better again a female Red-breasted Merganser with 5 small young! As the guests arrived I spotted an Otter across the loch but it was soon out of sight so we headed off to relocate it. It wasn't too long before we had cracking views of the furry beast as it clambered over the rocks and back into the water. Another Otter was located and once again it performed well until other people turned up and started slamming car doors. Needless to say the Otter wasn't hanging around for that sort of abuse. Cracking views of the female WT Eagle were had next and we had a good look for the youngster too but had no luck with that. The weather was starting to close in with a few showers appearing on the hills so we went in search of Adders while it was still pleasant. Luckily we found an Adder but better again was this cracking Slow Worm.
What a beauty, eh? We had a good hour of waiting before we picked up a Golden Eagle. While looking at a couple of Grey Seals we'd noticed a small herd of cows on the headland opposite. As the cows moved along while munching the grass they revealed a juv WT Eagle standing just behind them!! A visit to a freshwater loch produced four summer plumaged RT Diver and a female Hen Harrier as we drove back to the main road. Our final stop of the day gave us a view of the male Hen Harrier that I thought may have succumbed to the pressure of bringing up it's youngsters so that was a real pleasure to see. A couple of Dunlin in a small stream were very obliging... was the Snipe under the bridge on the other side of the road.
Tuesday was a different day all together with showers following us around in the morning. First spot of the day was a very close female Hen Harrier giving us a fly past. Once again we saw the female WT Eagle but no sign again of the youngster - it can't be long before this bird starts moving around. A request for Crossbills was sorted out quite easily as we picked up a couple of birds at our next stop. As afternoon approached the weather started to clear a bit so the Adder was no problem.
A Golden Eagle was spotted in the distance but despite a long wait we got nothing closer - you can't win 'em all! As we stopped for a comfort break I had a quick scan around and I was surprised to see a juv WT Eagle heading towards us. It banked around and dropped it's feet as it disappeared from our view. It reappeared a minute later with a fresh kill and headed to a small island to start it's meal. We headed closer to the bird and enjoyed good views of the young bird. Next on the request list was Manx Shearwater and we did well with about 20 birds seen with a few of them coming close in. There seems to be a tremendous amount of Stonechats around at the moment and most of them are youngsters so that's good news for one of the birds that was hard hit in the winter. The youngsters are all moulting so they don't look their best but still a stunning bird.
We'd bagged a few Mountain Hare but we still hadn't picked up an Otter for the day so we headed to a trusty location. It wasn't a long wait before we were watching a mother and cub clamber out of the loch to eat a fish and then a good half hour of watching them fishing. The title of the blog says it all - cracking stuff.


Unknown said...

A cracking day indeed - all in all 54 bird species on the tour (including ten "lifers" for this birdwatcher!)plus loads of red deer, common and grey seals. A great day - thanks Bryan!

Bryan Rains said...

Cheers Gavin - found it at last. It must be an age thing!