Saturday, 30 November 2013

End of November

Well, that's the end of another month - no year ticks to be had but I managed another couple of additions to the Patchwork Challenge, Bullfinch and Goldcrest, to take the tally up to 108 species and 134 points.
An early trip out was fairly productive in dull conditions. Plenty of Reed Bunting about, 100 Barnacle Geese, WT Eagle, 20 Lapwing plus all the regular stuff. A Buzzard was looking like a real savage frowning at everything from his post.
Maybe it was the Rock Doves that were frustrating it - no chance of catching them!
An Otter was spotted quite far out on the loch but heading for shore with a fish in his mouth. I had enough time to scramble down to a closer position as it cleaned itself up on the seaweed.
Look at the face on that - another one with a frown!
I keep saying there are plenty of GN Diver on the loch but they are mostly single birds scattered across the sea. It was nice to find a group of six birds just loafing together.
A female Hen Harrier was seen sitting on a fence post close to the road but it didn't stay long. I'd stopped out of sight of the bird but it was in flight before I got sight of it again...
...and they don't often fly towards you after that! Let's see what December brings.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

A waiting game

It's been a while since I had a proper close view of an Otter so I kept my eyes peeled for a decent opportunity. A search around for Otter spraint was easy enough with plenty of places showing signs of extra nutrients being laid down.
It wasn't too long before I found an Otter but the light wasn't great so the places to watch from had to be carefully chosen. He was easy to see when he surfaced...
 ...but it took a bit more time to get into position to get some shots when he had the sun behind him.
The Otter didn't hang around for too long before he headed off across a short stretch of water and then back onto dry land.
I got ahead of him and settled down to wait for the beast to took a while before I had him in view again. The big surprise for me was the fact that he had wandered over the rocks and passed by me within a couple of yards!! Naturally, I couldn't move as he stopped for a look at me before trotting off and back into the drink.
With enough food inside he settled down for a snooze so I left him to it. A lovely encounter though.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Good and bad

The weather has been a bit changeable so I'll deal with the bad first! We had a bit of strong wind that brought with it a few flurries of snow and we had to go out in it. It was just after sunrise so there wasn't a great deal to be seen but all of the gulls were hogging the shore waiting for tasty items to be washed ashore. We had two superb sightings of Golden Eagle along the way though. They must have seen all of the gull activity and come for a closer look in case there was something to be had.
The following day was good weather as it was nice and bright with very little wind compared to the previous day. The Buzzard were out in force and a lot of them had full crops.
Most of the Robins that I saw were keen to get a bit closer in case there was food to be had.
A surprise find was two feral cats curled up in the sun. It's not very often you see them in the open like this.
Best find of the day was a male Great Spotted Woodpecker that stopped in a small stand of trees.
I spent some time watching a group of Redwing working their way across a field and got the occasional chance to get a few shots of them.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

On the doorstep

I'm not out for more than an hour these days and it's always close to home but when it's all on your doorstep anyway why go any further?! The weather has been a bit changeable so when I located an Otter in good light I thought my luck was in.
He came ashore for a bit of a sniff around...
...and then the rain started. I thought the eyepiece was steaming up with the damp conditions but it was the lens getting covered in rain so most of the photos turned out like this.
I waited for him to head off and then I left. A few Greenfinch paid a visit to the garden early one morning so I was lucky to get a poor shot.
A sunny day was a bit more productive with Golden and WT Eagle seen while a male and female Hen Harrier circled around underneath them.
A Cormorant tried to show off it's good side but whether it has a good side or not is in the eye of the beholder.
A GN Diver was just offshore from that but even though it was a bit distant it's nice to see the bill pattern as it changes from summer to winter colours.
There was another encounter with a Golden Eagle but it was out of range before I even thought about the camera. Quite a few Raven were foraging along the shore - not sure what they were eating but there seemed to be plenty of it.

Friday, 15 November 2013


Another day with a bit of sunshine produced a couple of good sightings. Two birds fishing at the mouth of a river turned out to be a couple of Goosander.
There were plenty of Red Deer to be seen on the hills some of which were still in their breeding groups.
With the sun shining I thought it might be worth looking for the Adder - still out there but a bit sluggish now. I hope it survives the winter.
A Red Deer stag trotting by was nice to see.
I stopped to check out something in the sea (a Common Seal) when I saw this Buzzard just coming in to land. It's surprising the size of the branches they will land on though.
I stopped for lunch and was seeing very little but just when I was going to move on I saw this disappearing over the rocks.
The Otter was keen to roll around on the seaweed...
...before heading into the water.
He headed for land again for another clean up while watching the traffic go by - a nice way to finish my lunch!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Just passing by

I was just passing by when I caught sight of the distinctive figure of an Otter in the water.
I went for a closer look while he was feeding...
...and a Shag was keeping an eye on proceedings too.
The Shag came for a closer look...
...but the Otter was just passing by.

Monday, 11 November 2013


You don't have to see the spectacular to get a buzz from the wildlife but they do help. An early morning shot of a Red Deer on the run - it was too dark for a decent shot but the movement conveyed in this shot made a bad shot reasonable.
I was wondering if the weather would stay clear enough for a dry run out when a Rock Pipit perched on the roof of the motor. It would have been a nice shot but the camera was on the front seat. I got the camera and hung around but the pipits just stayed on the overhead wires!
A Blue Tit was looking for spiders on the shed when I was heading out so I had to get a snap of that.
There seem to be quite a few GN Diver about now with a group of five birds seen and a few singles as well.
The Buzzards plumage always looks quite variable up here but few people will take the light condition into consideration - here is one in the shade looking quite dark.
An Otter was seen fishing but it never came any closer...
...and the Grey Herons were quite distracting as they kept flying past.
This is the same bird sitting on the shore all hunched up.
Back to the Buzzards. This bird was bathed in light as the sun was setting but it looks quite pale...
...a different bird when the sun disappeared - colder and darker but only a minute or so between those shots.