Off tomorow - Monday - with Kevin Allenby from Birds of Britain to recce the Camargue for a possible spring birding trip.
Back with a report on Friday.
Saturday, 29 November 2008
A cracking cold day with such crispness and plenty of snow. High clouds and then ones full of snow. Yellowhammers on pheasant feeders at Ardtalla, a probable Black Necked Grebe(!) at Seal Bay and then a male Hen Harrier and time to watch Barnies in the snow - fabulous. Best of all a Golden Eagle with a white, white background. So ends our last Goosefest of 2008 - brilliant.
Friday, 28 November 2008
On our return this evening when I asked - what was your bird of the day? I received five different answers! That is how diverse the day was. Starting at the ICCI we had; Whooper Swan, Barnacle and Whitefront Goose, Wigeon, Scaup, Long Tailed duck, Red Breasted Merganser, Knot, Redshank, Godwits, Oystercatchers, Slavonian and a single Great Crested Grebe to name a few and then we headed out to Ardnave. Two Lesser Canadas on the way. There, of course, were skeins of Barnies , Purple Sands, Tufted duck and Dabchick (not common for Islay) Twite as well as a handful of Snow Buntings.So... Bird of the day - what would your have been?
On our return this evening when I asked - what was your bird of the day? I received five different answers! That is how diverse the day was. Starting at the ICCI we had; Whooper Swan, Barnacle and Whitefront Goose, Wigeon, Scaup, Long Tailed duck, Red Breasted Merganser, Knot, Redshank, Godwits, Oystercatchers, Slavonian and a single Great Crested Grebe to name a few and then we headed out to Ardnave. Two Lesser Canadas on the way. there , of course were skeins of Barnies , Purple Sands, tufted Duck and Dabchick (not common for Islay) Twite as well as a handful of Snow Buntings.So... Bird of the day - what would your have been?
Thursday, 27 November 2008
This was the start of our last Goosefest of 2008. It was a wee bit blowy today and in order to get our eyes in we watched Whitefronts and Barnacles along the high road. Spectacular in their bright green habitat and sunlight hills beyond. the sky danced with clouds and then we headed off around Loch Indaal to keep up with the light. Red Throated Divers, Purple Sandpipers, Turnstones and velvety Pale Bellied Brent along the shore line. Later we watched Chough, Merlin and a Kestrel. A cracking Ringtail had us all excited as we watched it hunting sending up Snipe, thrushes and Skylarks too. Night followed quickly and we enjoyed seeing the Barnies in to roost at Bridgend with a high water merse before catching a handful of Woodcock heading out to feed. A brilliant, if a little baltic day!
Friday, 21 November 2008
Crazy day! The wind was from the north west and cold with it and our photographer was up for anything! We headed inland beyond Skerrols and were rewarded with fantastic views of a Sparrowhawk hunting over the wetlands. It perched on a fence stob and some fabulous images were taken from just 20 metres away. The landrover is a super hide! We then met up with the beat keeper and congratulated him on his management of this land for Islay Estate - plenty of wee finches )chaffies, Linnet, Rockdoves and Red Stag on the hill. Returning to Indaal we watched Scaup, Great Northern Diver and a Long Tailed Duck. Later as dusk fell we rounded off with Woodcock, Barn Owl and a lovely coffee at Debbies where our photographer met with Carol Ogilvie who illustrated plenty of wildfowl books by her husband Dr Malcolm Ogilvie - he had one from
the USA which she duly signed and drew a lovely Barnacle goose for him. What a day ...Crazy!
Thursday, 20 November 2008
Waking up to rain and picking our client form the airport things did not look too good birding wise - however the cloud lifted and we headed around the loch. Photographing Purple Sandpipers outside 'Debbies' and then the same with a lovely flock of Pale Bellied Brent geese. Just off the rocks we had Great Northern, Black and red Throated in one 'bin' full! The light played peekaboo but a male Hen Harrier at Carn Duncan and a couple of Merlins made the flat light bright for us!
Monday, 17 November 2008
We spent the day birding the Rhinns. Although wet later we escaped the early dampness and watched Loch Indaal. There were plenty of Barnacles roosting at the Merse - especially at 'smelly corner'! Down at the spit were 24 Pale Bellied Brent and one dark one. A pair of Chough were good to see - we did not need the scopes - we just observed from the Landy. We stopped again at old St Michael's Church pull in past Port Mor and saw a cracking Great Northern. A field of redwing and Fieldfare were a delight and Golden Plover, Whitefronts, young Gannet and Shearwaters kept us looking around Portnahaven. The rain crept in on our return it was almost dark by 16:00hrs!
Friday, 14 November 2008
We based ourselves in the north Rhinns today. The weather held good and although there was cloud the light improved as we progressed. At the back end of Machir Bay we watched Chough, Wigeon, Teal, Oystercatcher, Linnet and Twite. Unfortunately no Snowbuntings this time. We enjoyed three Hare - running and then stopping - just amazing to see.
Plenty of gulls, and at Saligo, Gannets and a Great Northern Diver passed. We the had the wonderful experience of watching male Merlin hunting - unsuccesfully - although pipits and finches did explode from every direction. A male Hen Harrier delighted us at Sanaig and along the way back to Port Charlotte in the open land a family of Roe Deer presented themselves perfectly for a photo opportunity!
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
It was a fabulous day all round. birding along Loch Indaal from the ICCI (Gaelic Centre) through
to Port Charlotte. Plenty of duck; Scaup, Scoter, Eider, Teal, Wigeon, Shelduck, Megansers and seven Long Tailed Ducks. We also had cracking views of Slavonian Grebes too. (this is especially for our Grebe fans in Leamington Spa!) After the past three days of storms the water was still and both views and light were superb. A group of Whoopers arrived and then set off just as quick heading south - magical. On the hills behind us two Golden Eagles circled. Barnacle roosting on
the sand - they have been feeding by the moon over the past days.
It was good to get out with clients after the past ten days of looking after the homeschool - a change is as good as a rest!
Sunday, 2 November 2008
On Friday I was out with a couple of Austrian Journalists. We enjoyed the Rhinns on a stunning winter's day and John, who will also be helping out next year came along too to see how it was done. We watched Chough, saw a Gannet off Port Weymss and generally explored the landsape and they took loads of photos...of course. There was the most gorgeous salmon sunset over the Orsay lighthouse. With the fresh northerly weather we now have Redwings and Fieldfare everywhere!
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