Sunday, 30 September 2012

September gone already!

A great start to the day despite the heavy shower that passed through at the time - two WT Eagle and an Otter bringing fish ashore. A Guillemot was a surprise find...
...the BT Diver almost got away but we got good views in the scope eventually just before one of the WT Eagles flew over us!
After viewing the Tawny Owl we were starting lunch when a Golden Eagle appeared. Lunch was abandoned as the eagle came closer and closer - what a superb fly past it gave!
A change of location saw us watching the Goldie for another twenty minutes as it flew around with six Buzzards for company. Calming things down we clocked a couple of Mallard:-)
Hen Harrier had been talked about but we didn't see one until near the end of the day when this one flew right in front of us!
Just to make sure we weren't dreaming we had another female, a juvenile and this cracking male Hen Harrier!
A bit of a slow start to the next tour where we saw plenty of Buzzard, Grey Heron and Hooded Crow.
Three Otters gave the day a kick start. It was a real thrill to watch the two youngsters follow their mum while she fished and better still was one of the youngsters chasing a Hooded Crow across the top of a rock! The Tawny Owl was present, a Red Deer stag was found and a couple of Golden Eagle provided some entertainment.
Two WT Eagles and three Red Deer in front of the motor finished the day off nicely but, once again, the Hen Harrier stole the show - awesome!!
Well, September ends but it's a new month tomorrow - let's do it all again!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Some small stuff.

Another cracking day out was started with a tip off about 3 Otters. We set off to the location and picked up a single Otter on an islet eating a fish before picking up the mum and two cubs - here are the cubs riding piggy back on mum.
Catching fish and bringing them ashore gave us better views - what a treat!
A couple of year ticks were a bonus for me. A group of about six Long-tailed Tit were seen in passing and a Grey Plover was seen flying off later in the day. The camera never came out for the rest of the day but two WT Eagles, a single Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier, six Golden Plover, Sparrowhawk, another Otter and Mountain Hare all added to the day.
A bunch of photos of common birds...Common Gulls are moulting into winter plumage.
The humble House Sparrow is a dying breed for some and very common for others - does anyone look at them? A male bird is always good to look at...
...but so are the females.
You can never see enough Linnets...
...and you may even find a Twite or two amongst them.
If you want a bird to look smart and have some attitude then look no further than the Starling, a fantastic bird to watch.
Dunlin and Ringed Plover are the common waders on the beaches - most people don't see them until they fly off but they are worth looking for to get good views.
Rooks breed on Iona but come across to Mull foraging - just a big, black bird - look at the range of blues and purples when the light catches them!
Just in case you thought the plot was being lost, a WT Eagle against the blue sky.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Wet and dry.

Another dreich day turned up some quality sightings but low on numbers. We started the day by having a look at the roosting Tawny Owl.
A top quality Otter sighting next with the beast coming ashore almost immediately after finding it...
...and then having a good clean.
Another couple of Otters were welcome sightings as we travelled in the rain as were the three WT Eagles sitting it out. The Mistle Thrush flocks are busy plundering the berry harvest at the moment...just look at the rain though!
We also had a superb sighting of a Sparrowhawk perched up. As you can see it was there long enough for some photos.
We managed to find a couple of Hen Harrier but bird of the day, for me, was my first Bar-tailed Godwit of the year - 151 for the list.
A much better day for the next tour which gave us a good start too. An Otter was spotted plus the BT Diver put in another appearance.
Male Hen Harrier - need I say more?
The sightings kept coming with Golden Eagle being mobbed by Common Buzzard, Mountain Hare, another male Hen Harrier, three Whooper Swan and this Golden Eagle that was checking to see if we had any food!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

A bit of patience.

There is a bit of catching up to do but I'll get there soon! A day off in decent weather saw me photographing some common birds and finding a decent one. For all the people that struggle with pipits here is a Meadow Pipit...
...and a Rock Pipit to compare it with.
The decent find was a small black speck on the sea in bad light. I could see it was a diver of some sorts but it wasn't staying up for long so I had to wait before picking up the grey head and neck of a cracking Black-throated Diver - shame it didn't come close.
My plan to mix things up on the tour almost seemed the wrong thing to do after a good start. We picked up Mountain Hare, Curlew...
,,,and Linnet amongst other things.
We then struggled to find any of the big hitters for about an hour. You just have to keep plugging away and something will put on a show. A juvenile WT Eagle performed well.
An Otter performed very well just before we had lunch. We watched it fishing for a while before it brought a fish ashore - we left when it headed off fishing again.
Absolutely stunning views of two Golden Eagles circling over our heads was the highlight of the day.
A Common Buzzard carried on hunting as we pulled up beside it...
...and a female Hen Harrier gave us a tremendous fly past too. It all turns out right in the end.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Taking your chances.

The spring tides are quite impressive at the moment. They can make it difficult to find Otters but you have to take your chances. We set off in search of Otters and bagged two within a quarter of a mile of each other. When the views are this good you don't worry about seeing another!
There were heavy showers pushing through all day and most of the group got a soaking while watching the second Otter. There were plenty of Red Deer to see but there was no eagle action at all! We had a brief view of a Hen Harrier as it made off in the opposite direction to us but luckily it took pity on us and, five minutes later, gave us a superb view.
Another fruitless search for Golden Eagle gave us another two Hen Harrier and more Red Deer. A WT Eagle was found sitting on a rocky outcrop and a Golden Eagle was flying around the whole time we were having lunch. The Tawny Owl was on show so there was plenty of photos taken of that one. The afternoon was spent dodging showers but we did have one big surprise. As we drove down the road in heavy rain an animal was spotted running towards us - cracking views of an Otter were had as it stopped to look at us before disappearing into roadside vegetation. A male Hen Harrier was seen while looking for Mountain Hare and a female Hen harrier was seen as we headed back to the motor. We sat out another shower before getting superb views of Mountain Hare.
A White-fronted Goose was a good find on the day...
...and we finished in style with a WT Eagle flying over us!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


Two good days - is it possible to have a bad day? After picking up the first of the guests we bagged a WT Eagle and a Golden Eagle. With all of the guests on board we located a couple of WT Eagle and a Yellowhammer. A search for Otters was difficult in choppy water but we eventually found one. With a couple of changes of location we got cracking views as it came ashore.
A female Hen Harrier, 8 RB Merg, Tawny Owl and three sightings of Golden Eagle got everyone on an even score. Most days you get to see Gannets but it's never easy to get close enough for a decent photo - this one wasn't too bad.
Hen Harriers had been easy through the day but there was much appreciation for the male bird we located at the last stop.
The Mountain Hares are easy to get on the grassy areas or on the sand so this one sitting in a more fitting place was good to see.
The next day was a bit tougher but all the relevant species were seen in windy conditions. Our first good sighting was an Otter that showed well but a bit harder to get a good shot.
A couple of juvenile WT Eagle were seen but they disappeared from sight fairly quickly. A fly past from a Grey Heron while the camera was in my hand got captured.
All of my regular breeding Barn Swallows have moved on but there are still plenty to see feeding themselves up before they depart.
We had completed the day with views of Red Deer, Mountain Hare, Hen Harrier and quite a few other species but the Golden Eagle had complete the 'must see' list for the guests.