Friday, 29 June 2012

It's not just the big stuff.

Monday was another pleasant day. Best bird of the day had to be this very obliging Red-throated Diver.
With a couple of sightings of WT Eagle, SE Owl and a male Hen Harrier all in the bag we could have finished the day after the first hour! We got the runaround from the Golden Eagles again but after some nifty driving we got cracking views of one bird being harassed by a female Hen Harrier and a Sparrowhawk!
Tuesday another day full of excitement. The Mountain Hare was on the run...
...a young Lapwing scooted along the road in front of us...
...while the adult birds chased the Common Gulls.
You might not see too many Rabbits about but there is a thriving population of 'wickle fluffy bunnies' or Buzzard food if you wish!
The Snipe have been performing well too.
Common Sandpipers are....very common. A stunning bird up close though.
Add all of that plus Whinchat, Common Redstart, Dunlin, Ringed Plover....I could go on. We saw the big stuff too but it's hardly a day out without the small stuff and a soggy Raven!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

A hard life.

Saturday the weather was a bit poor but when it cleared I headed out to have another go at the Short-eared Owls. I could see three birds sitting on fence posts and another flying around from the shop but when I drove round there was nothing in sight. A few minutes wait and an adult took flight...
...closely followed by two youngsters. One young bird landed on the fence, calling and giving everything the hard stare! Awesome bird!!
On the way home I spotted two female type Hen Harriers interacting. By the time I'd stopped I could only see one bird and I wonder if the other bird had been a first summer male passing food to the female.
Sunday was a better day but the threat of a shower was always there. We started the day with a trio of Mountain Hare and a brief glimpse of a male Hen Harrier. Next up was a Red Deer stag that was relaxing in the sunshine and looking like life was easy.
A Red-breasted Merganser was looking like it was having a hard life but once it's moult is complete it will be back to it's best.

The sightings came thick and fast after that with WT Eagle, three Hen Harrier, Spotted Flycatcher, Dipper, another Hen Harrier, four Adder, Slow Worm and cracking views of the humble Rock Pipit.
A couple of WT Eagle were seen circling over the loch and when one bird headed off the other bird...
...gained a bit of height before performing a spectacular stoop down to the rocks below. Naturally, this upset the gulls that were loafing below and they gave the eagle a real hard time! It's a hard life being an eagle!
Our last stop of the day produced the Golden Eagles that we'd been searching for with the added bonus of a small herd of Feral Goats. Another cracking day in the field!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Pole dancers.

Friday was a pleasant calm day full of midges in the morning but better when there was a bit of wind! The Short-eared Owl chicks put on a superb show - handsome beasts!
Posts were popular through the day with Snipe, Meadow Pipit, Buzzard and Hen Harrier all trying them out for size.
The female Hen Harrier was a treat but the male flying past was the icing on the cake.

The midges don't just bother us humans, they have a go at the deer too. I wish I could wiggle my ears like this!
There is only one thing to do and that is run away.
The sightings came thick and fast with WT Eagle, Otter, Golden Eagle, more Snipe and plenty of the common birds too. A family party of Raven provided a good finish to the day as one of the youngsters posed next to the motor.

Saturday, 23 June 2012


Wednesday I'd planned a trip to Lunga. As I headed out into the sunshine an Otter was fishing offshore. Once on board the boat for Lunga we left the pier and headed straight for four Bottle-nosed Dolphin - awesome.
A Great Skua flew over the boat as we headed for open water. A few Manx Shearwater, a RT Diver and the usual auks. Two Arctic Skuas put on a good display when we arrived at Lunga.
A quick round up of the photos. Plenty of Rock Pipits to be seen.
The Twite were obliging.
Wrens were as bold as brass.
Northern Wheatears were out in force with plenty of young birds around too.
The auks are not difficult to photograph so I started with the Common Guillemots. A few had small young while others were sitting on eggs.
The bridled form of Guillemot are easy to find and quite striking up close.
Shags are nesting in any space big enough for them. I just love the eye colour on these birds.
The razorbills are equally striking no matter which angle you look at them from.
There were plenty of Puffins bringing Sand Eels in and plenty posing for the usual portrait shots but it was nice to get the odd shot of a bird showing off in charismatic style.
The Grey Seals were hauled out on the rocks as we left the island.
We were treated to more stunning views of the dolphins as we got back to port - a cracking day out.

Friday, 22 June 2012


Monday what can I say...sunny...again! A good start to the day with some close Red-breasted Merganser...
...and a Short-eared Owl. Three red-throated Diver were another good find before one of the guests spotted some Otters. Safely parked up we settled in to watch two Otter cubs chase each other around in the shallows.
It was frantic action for a wee while before they slipped silently away.
A WT Eagle was seen sitting on a rocky islet before we visited the nest site where we viewed the chicks. An adult bird came flying in before we moved on.
Golden Eagle and Hen Harrier were seen at both of the next stops but nothing as close as the Whinchat.
Five Adders were seen in the afternoon but no other reptiles. I'm starting to wonder where the Common Lizards are this year. We'd had a Common Snipe displaying earlier in the day but to get one on the ground at the end of the day was a real treat.
We caught up with Mountain Hare but a better find was this very pale Linnet.
Tuesday was overcast to start with but the sun got out in the afternoon. We started off with an adult WT Eagle and an Otter before heading off for Short-eared Owl. We got a few distant views to start with and eventually got close views when we moved location.
Cuckoos should be heading back to their winter quarters now so we are seeing less of them but we still hear one every day. Hen Harriers are in good numbers this year so the regular sightings are well received. There are plenty of Stonechat around too with most pairs on to their second broods now.
We only managed to see one Golden Eagle today but at least it did the right thing and gave us a fly past.
We finished the day off getting the run around from a Mountain Hare.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Food pass.

The weather wasn't that clever on Saturday, a stiff breeze and rain! It certainly curbed the camera action a bit but the sightings were good. We started well with three SE Owl and a WT Eagle before moving on to some serious Hen Harrier action. I managed to catch a food pass with the camera. The male and female came together...
...the male drops the food...
...and the female catches it. Typical that the last shot was blurred!
Other highlights on the day were Wood Warbler, RT Diver and Adders in the rain.
Sunday there was a return to fine weather. On the way to pick up the last of the guests we bagged some stunning views of SE Owl and two Otters. A swift return to the second Otter paid off as we found the beast lurking in the seaweed.
It wasn't too long before it was fishing in open water showing well. More SE Owl action before we had the star attraction of a female Hen Harrier.
A bit of a wait for two Golden Eagle was worthwhile. Cracking views of two WT Eagle one of which flew off with it's lunch.
Plenty of Adders after lunch plus Dipper and two Butterfly species - Small Pearl-bordered and Dark Green Fritillary.
We finished the day with stunning views of Mountain Hare.