Saturday, 31 January 2009

Goosefest 5 raptors

It was extremely windy today - and infact very wet first thing, but soon dried and the clouds scudded across a cold sky. Plenty of Barnacles and Whitefronts and a super male Hen Harrier. We then scurried around Loch Indaal Bowmore side and found Wigeon, Scaup, Scoter, Slavonian Grebe and GND. Cracking! Purple Sandpiper, Curlew, Barwit and Turnstone were along the shoreline.
At the back end of Bridgend we had superb views of a Peregrine seeing off a pair of Raven, 21 Whoopers on Skerrols and some Tufted as well as a Pochard, Scaup and displaying Goldeneye. Wonderful.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Nature Notes

I post this on

and just in case you do not go there here it is for your delectation!

The rain has been pretty incessant. In order to obviate such wetness we escape out doors away from the cosiness of a warm stove and cups of tea into the teeth of the gail.

Sometimes, I can join both my favorite outdoor activities together: naturewatching and cycling. If you have a bicycle it is a great tool for getting you close to nature and being part of it without any disturbance. You can stop and start whenever you need or feel the urge to. It is non polluting and keeps you fit too - and if you want to you can stop at Debbies in Bruichladdich for a coffee and look for Great Northern Divers off the beach - it happens!

Riding this week along the top of the Loch Indaal a fabulous group of Oystercatchers took off right in front of me gliding along a wee whilst keeping me company then sheared off heading for the beach. The light was just spectacular and for a moment everything was enhanced, the black and white of the birds, the steel blue grey of the sea and the streaks of wind whistling across the strand. Earlier, on the same ride I had met up with brian palmer, he of the magnificent Washing Machine Post We rode out beyond
Red Houses and up the glen and eventually returning via Mulindry. I noticed a hen Merlin on a post and then she flew alongside us, in the field next to the road. We were travelling at 30kph and the bird was equally happy. All of a sudden it took off across the greeness. What a view.

'Merlin' I cried but it was to no avail - we had already seen it and it was gone. Passing a moment in time.

In the past I have had some amazing encounters awheel with birds. I remember one late evening, and unlikely for Islay, still spring night and as I rode along I was aware that I was being accompanied. i looked over my left shoulder and just above me no more that 1 metre away was a Barn Owl. We rode together for 1 kilometre! It was an exquisite situation.The stillness and quietness and my globe of light cutting a way through the darkness. Never to be repeated.

It is not always like that, a friend of mine was once attacked by a Buzzard - he did have alot of brown hair and it was the in the days before helmets - maybe it thought he was a rabbit. It was quite a shock!

Anyway back to this week, what with the Barnacles in new fields trying to find more grass and Purple Sandpipers finding yet more ways to get out of the wind line and House Sparrows (that we share our house with) tucking into the fat balls and peanuts, it has been an eventful week.

If you wish to keep up with my adventures on a daily basis have a look at my twitter (yes truly)

Friday, 23 January 2009

Merlin Twite and Plover

We had a cracking afternoon and dusk around Gorm. Plenty of geese as expected and Chough too. Then a large 50± Twite and lots of Golden Plover too. A hen Merlin on a post was brilliant and then we headed for the goose roost at Bridgend. The kelly kettle supplied hot chocolate and kept us warm whilst we waited. Terrific.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Happy New Year

Lots of new things on offer;

Carmague trip

more later