Thursday, 31 July 2014


It was a tremendous spell of hot weather but all good things come to an end. A Buzzard shot in the sun just before it melted...
...and a Dunlin in the heat haze.
The rain came to dampen things down, replenish water supplies but it also keeps the island green. It may even help the likes of Hen Harrier to find food as their prey gets flooded out.
It certainly keeps the eagles in one place as you can see from this bedraggled WT Eagle.
The rain never lasts for too long so the Buzzard was the sunny shot again.
Cooler temperatures are better for Adder sightings as they will bask more often. Too hot and they will head for the shade.
More overnight rain gave another opportunity to get a close look at the WT Eagle but at least there was a bit more light.
Golden Eagle sightings have been pretty good but there is distinct lack of young this year but when it takes 5 years to mature it doesn't matter too much if they have a bad year. Last years youngsters are still around.
Otter sightings have been pretty good most days but we still miss out now and again. A mum with two cubs was a surprise find on one of the tours as I hadn't seen any activity in the area for a while.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

On the hunt

Another scorching day was possibly going to keep things quiet at times but we had a cracking day.We had certain targets to find through the day so it was a case of trying to be in the right place at the right time. On the way to our first stop we located a returning Great Northern Diver - a bit distant for the camera but worth seeing.
Our first target was Golden Eagle. It was a bit of a wait but we did get a couple of Adders to fill the time in. The first Golden Eagle to appear flew in from behind us and proceeded to hunt the hillside.
We had both birds hunting the same area, one behind the other, hoping to flush some prey but they didn't have any luck. The first bird flew back over us before they both disappeared from view.
A Sparrowhawk put in a brief appearance, a couple of Whinchat and a cracking view of a couple of Raven. Look at the tail on that!
A decent Red Deer stag was another target for the day. The temperature was around 27C so we were flagging a bit. Grey Wagtail and Yellowhammer were nice to see...
...before we located a couple of fine looking stags feeding in the dappled shade of a tree.
A couple of mating Common Hawkers were nice to see as we stood in the shade.
A couple of Treecreeper, Golden Plover and WT Eagle were other highlights through the day. We looked for and didn't find an Otter but it wasn't one of our targets on the day. This Hooded Crow with it's beak open and wings drooping, to try to keep cool, might give you an idea of how hot it was!

Monday, 28 July 2014


When the temperature soars into the twenties you have to be realistic about what the wildlife will do. When it gets hot the wildlife goes quiet so a bit more patience is required. We started the day with the Golden Plover flock, Grey Heron, Curlew and other birds along the shore. The loch was quiet so we had to be content with the commoner birds. We hit lucky with the WT Eagle as it flew in as we arrived on site and then flew off just as we were leaving. A search for Otters was fruitless but we did get nice views of a couple of Common Seal.
There was a decent breeze blowing when we stopped for lunch and we watched a pair of Golden Eagle flying around and doing their roller-coaster display.
We had another lucky break with a WT Eagle. We had just climbed into the motor and just about to drive off when the gulls started calling in alarm so we jumped back out see this adult bird flying overhead - awesome!
Our good fortune continued with some cracking views of Raven flying past...
...A couple of Dunlin, male Hen Harrier and an Adder too. An Otter was found right at the end of the day so that was a bonus. I busied myself with taking a few snaps of the Common Tern that was fishing along the coast.
A Hooded Crow was too hot to move so he made the grade for the day - off for a well earned pint after that!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

The wrong day?

A trip to Lunga was good in some respects and bad in others. Maybe I was there on the wrong day! The Shags provided good opportunities for photos and they seemed to have plenty of nests with youngsters.
The Puffins performed for the crowds which always puts a smile on your face but I saw very few birds bringing fish to the burrows.
The Kittiwakes appeared to have done well with most of the nests having two chicks and the rest just a single youngster.
Guillemots didn't seem to be doing very well either despite there being plenty of birds...
...with the bridled variety looking particularly dapper.
I only spotted a few chicks in the seething throng.
There was no sign of any Razorbill youngsters but there were plenty of adults around but I never saw any of these birds with a fish either.
Some of the Puffins were still digging burrows!
A few Arctic Tern were seen among the more numerous Common Terns while the Great Skuas patrolled the skies.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014


It's the middle of July and the photographs have dried up - more a case of not getting the chance to point the camera as the guests always come first. All the regular stuff is showing as it should but the exciting thing for me is the return of the wading birds at this time of year. The Redshank, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher and Curlew have had good breeding seasons. The Greenshank are starting to appear in reasonable numbers.
Golden Plover numbers are coming up nicely with about 50 birds out there with plenty of youngsters in there too. A few Dunlin have appeared and again there is youngsters there too. A superb sighting just outside the shop was a female RB Merg with 16 chicks! The chicks appear to be two different sizes so it's probably a creche but who knows...part of the flock of youngsters - notice the larger chicks at the back.
They don't take any looking after either as they have to catch their own fish.
This WT Eagle pays us a visit every day at the moment - nice to see.

Saturday, 19 July 2014


The weather for this tour was particularly unpleasant but you just have to plough on. There was a bit of a struggle to see the WT Eagle youngster at the nest so we moved on from there with a promise to return later in the day. We watched a Cormorant attempting to swallow an Eel. It got there in the end but it's interesting to watch the fish try to escape after the Cormorant has closed the escape hatch! There are still quite a few Golden Plover around, Greenshank numbers can be different every day ( we saw one on this trip), and it was nice to see a fully fledged juvenile Curlew hiding in the sedge.
We were looking for somewhere to have lunch and to look for Otters when I had a hunch that we should look in another area first. We were just about to leave that area when two Otters appeared.
They were quite nervous, keeping a careful eye on all the traffic that went past, but they were fairly relaxed as we kept our distance.
The rest of the afternoon was just as exciting as we got good views of Skylark, Lapwing, Raven, Ringed Plover and a couple of Snipe. The top sighting of the day had to be the Mole that we rescued from the middle of the road! A return to the WT Eagle site was a real bonus from the day as we got good views of Sparrowhawk, two Golden Eagle and one of the adult WT Eagles.
After the balancing act, above, the bird finally settled down to give superb views. What a  finish to a miserable day!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Up to speed

This post should bring things up to speed with the sightings! A couple of immature WT Eagles caused havoc outside the shop as they drifted overhead - no doubt chuckling as they went!
On the same day there was a couple of Dark Green Fritillaries dancing about the Red Clover in the garden.
A few different things to seek out made for an interesting day even though it was red hot. An Adult WT Eagle flying to it's nest gave us a good start.
The usual suspects were along the shore so this Common Tern stood out well even though it was in poor light.
We had a look at the Pale Butterwort which was still in flower. An Otter gave us the runaround but at least we all saw the beast while this Curlew gave a superb fly past.
A couple of broods of RB Merg were seen - what a delight it was to watch them skittering across the water.
We managed to find a pair of Golden Eagle circling in the distance but we waited and we got our reward as they sailed overhead. Next up was Great Sundew and in flower too!
The earlier Otter sighting was trumped as one of the guests picked up another one just slipping into the water. Fabulous views with a bit of patience.
 A trio of Mountain Hare at the days end were good to see and that was just the topping on the cake - almost forgot the Eider family that we saw.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014


It's been a while since the last post but I've had other distractions. Just to keep things up to date here are a few highlights since the last time. A shopping trip helped to empty the pockets but I filled my boots with a Peregrine diving over the cliffs while two youngsters screamed for attention in the nest. While I was watching the falcons this Otter tried to sneak past without being seen!
The WT Eagle chicks will be fledging now but one of the adult birds is a regular sighting in these conifers while it looks for food.
The wading birds are starting to return now and we have been getting regular sightings of Golden Plover and Greenshank. Another dull day produced a cracking sighting of an Otter clambering around on the seaweed.
It's all down to the wildlife to show itself so some sightings are great, some are not so great but sometimes it doesn't show at all but the best sightings are always of something you haven't seen before - Emperor Moth caterpillar was something I've not seen before.