Sunday, 31 August 2014

End of August

A quick round up of what's happening at the end of August. Despite the Golden Eagles having a poor breeding season there are still sub adult birds around to show the different plumage.
There seems to be quite a few Grey Wagtails now.
Plenty of Buzzards on show as the youngsters are now venturing out.
The hirundines are starting to gather before their migration south so Swallows and House Martins perched together is nice to see.
There are a few Little Grebes starting to appear on the sea lochs.
Stonechat - just stunning.
This Buzzard was drying off and allowed a close approach.
There doesn't seem to be that many Linnet or Twite around but you can always rely on a Skylark.
The Adders should continue to perform until we have a cold snap.
A variety of waders around at the moment with Redshank, Greenshank, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Curlew, Knot and Dunlin.
We had two attempts at getting this Golden Eagle but it was worth the wait.
The Otters are continuing to be elusive at the moment - some sightings but nothing close enough for photographs. There are plenty of gulls around as the Mackerel...
...are chasing whitebait onto the shore.
It does mean that the WT Eagles are trying to get in on the act too.
PWC - species 102, points 127. Year list 141

Friday, 29 August 2014


A trip to Newcastle had to include a bit of birding. It was nice to catch up with a few old faces (you know who you are). We don't have Moorhen and Coot on Mull so it was nice to catch up with them. Plenty of Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Stonechat, a couple of Common Whitethroat...
...and a nice Whinchat.
A flock of about 70 Lapwing had 25 Dunlin and a single Black-tailed Godwit sharing the space.
There were five Snipe close by while an Avocet fed in the shallows.
Little Egret is a regular sight in Northumberland now but it's been a while since I'd seen one.
These Swallows have already featured in Ipin's blog so it was nice to see that they were still there but definitely ready to go.
Just outside the hide we could see 7 Ruff but there was only one close bird and that was hard to see!
A Caspian Gull a bit further up the coast was a must see bird.
Eider ducks were plentiful in the harbour... were the Starlings.
Plenty of other common birds were seen so it wasn't a bad haul for  a couple of hours in the field. Got to have an Oystercatcher in because it'd be rude not to.
The reason for the visit to Newcastle was my daughters wedding so the father of the bride has to be there!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Hard to get

The final tour before a trip to Newcastle was a real raptor showcase. We started the day with all the gulls going up in a panic as a Peregrine came charging through. We got decent views of an Otter that was moving away from us and couldn't relocate it when we moved to a closer position. A couple of RT Diver were on the loch in the same location. There was no sign of the juv WT Eagle but Sparrowhawk, Whinchat, Stonechat and Hen Harrier filled the gap nicely.
An adult WT Eagle played hard to get before circling overhead.
A couple of Golden Eagle played hard to get as well but with a bit of patience we had one bird cruise over us.
We'd had another couple of Hen Harrier and nice views of a Northern Wheatear before we came across a Kestrel hunting. By the time the camera was out it had settled on a post.
A couple of Curlew were resting up and preening quite close to the road.
A Black-tailed Godwit was a nice find as we viewed a Mountain Hare. A couple of Adders showed well as they sheltered from a stiff breeze.
We came across another Whinchat that posed for us on the fence - superb!
We paid another visit to see the juv WT Eagle and managed to find it this time. As we stood watching one of the adult bird came flying in with food and, for once, it was a case of 'right place, right time'.

Monday, 25 August 2014


I had a couple of days off so I just managed a quick visit round to see the WT Eagles. Sunbathing was the order of the day...
...with the youngster watching on.
Back on tour we had a busy morning starting off with an Otter. The young WT Eagle was showing well but we got both the adults flying around at another location...
...while we were watching a Golden Eagle. There are plenty of Buzzards to keep you on your toes.
Plenty of other stuff to see as we moved around - Slow Worm, Red Deer, seals, loads of Meadow Pipit, Common Whitethroat and Northern Wheatear.
A couple of Mountain Hares were seen just before we had a look at the Adders - cracking views as usual.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Dicing with death

A quick look through the gulls that were plundering the sprats revealed nothing more exciting than this Black-headed Gull.
When all the gulls rose into the air it was fairly obvious what was going to fly by - a WT Eagle. A Common Buzzard wasn't impressed with the larger bird flying through it's territory so it had a real go at it!
The usual suspects were seen on the tour but the highlights were the three Goosanders...
...and the funky looking family of Red-breasted Mergansers.
The Stonechats have had a good breeding season this year with some of the pairs getting off 3 broods. The adult male is really nice to see.
The Adders are sticking to the sheltered spots and they can move off quickly but with a bit of patience they soon come creeping back out into the open.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

A bit fishy

A cracking bird to start the day was this migrant Whinchat.
The swallows at the house have left already but there are still birds feeding young in the nest and others that are almost ready to make that epic journey to Africa.
We had a real treat while looking for the WT Eagles. A young bird was seen to fly off while another two birds circled over the ridge and when we just about to go an adult bird put in an appearance delivering a fish to it's youngster - awesome!
With all the sprats in the shallows the Grey Herons are having a field day.
A particularly tatty WT Eagle was frightening the life out of the gulls - no surprise when you see the size of that bird.
Plenty of other stuff to see through the day. Hen Harrier and Adder spring to mind but this Common Frog was a bit of a bonus.
Catch of the day had to go to the Heron that speared this flatfish. You could hear the splat as it caught the fish then it flew down to some deeper water for a bit of lubrication.