Tuesday, 28 June 2011

An Adder added.

I'll not bore you with the details of my days off as there wasn't much birding going on! I did watch this female Linnet collecting wool to line it's nest...
 ...while the male just browsed the surrounding vegetation.
 I also discovered a Ringed Plover sitting on it's second clutch of eggs - nearly stood on that one!
Tuesday I was back in action in good weather. It was nice to see that not much had changed out there. We found a Great Northern Diver not long after we set off.
The Otters were a bit elusive to start with so the WT Eagle at the nest was a welcome sight. A couple of Golden Eagle put in an appearance too but one of them dropped out of sight as a bunch of Ravens came in to see them off. Cracking views of this bird as it was chased over the top of us.
A Sparrowhawk drew the attention of the local hirundines while a Whitethroat was singing away in front of us.
We eventually turned up three Otters so we ate lunch while we watched them having theirs. A couple of Hen Harrier at our next stop were a joy to watch and the Adder was added to list too.
A round up of the flowers through the day was certainly enhanced by the addition of the Melancholy Thistle.
Another couple of Golden Eagle, another female Hen Harrier, Whinchat and Stonechat both with young and Wild Goats too. There is a lot more that hasn't been mentioned but not everything wants to be the start of the show.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Red-tailed Eagle.

No change in the weather yet so Wednesday was another damp one but full of interest. The rain we had at the start of the day was encouraging a few birds to 'sing' so the Corncrake we heard was a bonus and the Snipe were calling from the Iris beds. We had a bird that caused a bit of confusion too - this plain bellied bird was alongside a few adult plumaged Dunlin.
It looked and acted like a Dunlin but surely it should have some black on the belly. After checking with a few people (cheers folks) the answer was it's a first summer Dunlin - you learn something new every day!
Another good find was this newly fledged Raven. It's not that often that you can get this close.
Our first White-tailed Eagle posed well on the rocks.
The weather seemed to be clearing so we headed for a spot where we might get Golden Eagle. We had lunch while we waited and the rain started again so we finished lunch and moved on. An Otter was more obliging as it hauled out with a crab and then had a wash and brush up.
A crowd was gathering so we moved on and found another Otter not too far away and as I scanned around I noticed there was a young WT Eagle sitting on the rocks watching another Otter fishing!
The weather was starting to look like it might break and we viewed this 'Red-tailed Eagle' in the last of the rain.
Still no sign of Golden Eagle but we headed for a spot for a cuppa and got cracking views of a Common Crossbill...
...a male and female Hen Harrier, an Adder...
...and finally a Golden Eagle! Last but not least we enjoyed good views of a few Lesser Redpoll too. We had a stunning male bird but he didn't want to hang around for photos so we had to make do with this one taken through the windscreen.
Thursday I headed out to check some new areas and managed a few snaps of some of the commoner birds. Whinchat...
...and Skylark were all numerous.
I also had good views of both types of Eagle but not much else of interest but it was nice to be checking out a different area.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Scooby Doo and Roadrunner.

Tuesday dawned bright and sunny but it didn't last long as the clouds were rolling in before I'd left to pick up the guests. The usefulness of cameras on a dreich day was questioned but if you don't have your camera you can't get any pictures - who knows what will present itself?! After negotiating the roadworks we started in earnest with the likes of Curlew, Wheatear, WT Eagle and Eider.
A couple of Crossbill were a bonus for the day before we had a search for the main attraction. The Otter we found turned out to be a star as it played up to the cameras even going as far as sticking it's tongue out at the cameras...
...and doing Scooby Doo impersonations!
The rain came on quite heavy in the afternoon but we still got views of an Adder and a few Slow Worm. We had a cracking finish to the day as we came across a few Redshank...
...and even got to see the youngsters too!
We stopped to look at a Lapwing at the side of the road and almost missed the Snipe that was sitting on the fence in front of us! As one of the cameras fired off a Corncrake started calling right next to us so we parked up and waited to see if it would show. We got the head sticking up as it called and it just got closer and closer before doing a Roadrunner in front of us. Not the best of photos but it was taken through a rain soaked windscreen!
A young Lapwing was the subject of the last photo shoot of the day and as you can see that was a stunner too - awesome day!!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


Mondays tour was a real treat - pleasant weather and good sightings. I managed to get a couple of snaps of a RB Merg before getting everyone on board.
Plenty to look at when we set off - Redshank, Lapwing, Ringed Plover, Northern Wheatear, Skylark, Mountain Hare and this sunbathing Common Snipe.
You never know when the sightings could dry up so we headed off to search out some more goodies - Willow Warbler, Cuckoo, Buzzard, Blackbird, Song Thrush and Whinchat all showed well.
Three Golden Eagles were up next plus a male Hen Harrier. We did well with the pipits too as we'd already had Meadow and Rock Pipits earlier in the day this Tree Pipit completed the trio.
Still no clouds of butterflies but we did get a Clouded Buff (cheers for the ID Tom).
A sleeping Otter was a good find but it was a bit distant so a sighting of a closer one fishing was a bonus and a good finish to the day.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

It started with a splash.

Friday was a wet day but no tour so I cracked on with other things. At the end of the day I watched the adult male WT Eagle hunting in the rain. He seemed to fly around drawing out all of the birds from the marsh before steaming in to make a kill. Not entirely sure what he caught but it could have been a young Curlew which he then carried off for himself. 
Saturday was a better day and another tour. The highlights from the day included a hard won Otter while a couple of Ringed Plover at our feet were virtually overlooked. Common Sandpipers are showing well at the moment.
Our best find of the day had to be the Bottle-nosed Dolphins we saw. It started with a splash as we drove up the road looking out on the loch.
They were obviously chasing a shoal of fish as you would see periods of frantic movement followed by calmer loafing about before they moved in on the fish again.
They were close enough that we could hear them breathing too - excellent stuff.
We followed that up with a superb sighting of a Peregrine attacking a flock of Rock Dove but failing to connect. Cracking views of a Redshank...
...(one for Rick here) and good numbers of Mountain Hare.
Not all of them were that distant.
We'd had plenty of Red deer through the day but this was the best of the bunch. A Royal already but we'll see how he looks when the velvet comes off.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Changeable weather.

There is not much change in the conditions up here with good days and bad but the sightings continue to be good. I'm not getting that much with the camera at the moment and when I do get the chance the results are mainly poor! Hen Harrier sightings are on the up with this male bird showing on a regular basis but always distant.
The WT Eagle chicks are looking pretty impressive now and as they grow bigger there needs to be more food delivered. It's nice to see the adults flying around but we couldn't have been further away from this one when it landed!
The male Common Scoter is hanging around but once again too distant for a decent photo.
The Otters are behaving well with sightings every day but it can be a long search at times.
Despite the changeable conditions the air temperature is quite good which is good for the Adders but they can move off pretty quick if they spot you coming.
Most of the waders have youngsters at the moment so they are all on the alert for potential predators of their young. The Oystercatchers are probably the noisiest of the lot.
The occasional good opportunity for a photo presents itself but you wouldn't think that it would be a Cuckoo that gives that chance.
The Mountain Hares are showing in good numbers when the weather is good but the close ones have a tendency to run off as the camera comes out.
A good sign of Hen Harrier chicks coming along is seeing the female birds out hunting.