Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Free and easy

That seems to be it for the season so I'm free and easy now so the posts might be a bit sporadic depending on whether I'm out or not. A rainy day didn't produce very much inspiration but there was plenty of entertainment provided by the Greenshank chasing each other around.
The following day I was heading to the shop and noticed a couple of large lumps across the marsh - two WT Eagle having their breakfast.
I've been trying to get a few more birds on the list for the Patchwork Challenge but it's hard going. Nothing new was found while I checked out a flock of Chaffinch on the shore. A couple of Rock Pipit...
...a Dunnock... Otter fishing in the distance and a fly past by a Great Black-backed Gull.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


A couple of things that needed done saw me travelling from one end of the island to the other with a bit of wildlife watching along the way! Some nice sightings of Red Deer on the roadside and a group of Grey Heron looked nice as they roosted on a spit of land and the sun was rising behind them - no time to stop unfortunately. A quick stop on the way back to base was productive as an Otter was seen heading into the loch as I stopped, plenty of RB Merg, a few Goosander, a flock of Wigeon and a couple of Buzzard squabbling over some food. The action of the Buzzards drew the attention of the Hooded Crows which caught the eye of a WT Eagle...
...the smaller birds cleared off as the eagle swooped in...
...and made off with the food.
A brave Hooded Crow briefly perched on the back of the WT Eagle.
Not bad for a 10 minute stop but I had to keep going. Back to base for a quick lunch and then it was straight back out again and I had a bit more time for fun this time. A Hen Harrier was seen dropping into long grass so I hopped out and pointed the camera in the right direction just in time to see the bird come into view with it's catch.
It was obviously a day for feeding well as there was, just behind the harrier, a Buzzard sitting on the fence with food...
...a Stonechat catching flies...
...the PF Goose was grazing in the field... was a juvenile Whooper Swan...
...and a single Barnacle Goose.
I spent a bit of time waiting for a Slavonian Grebe to come close - it never really came into range but it was a nice bird to watch.

Monday, 28 October 2013


It's that time of year where you will get a bit of passage as well as the birds that will make their home here for the winter. There are thousands of Fieldfare on the island at the moment but they will soon disperse further south.
The biggest flock I have seen was about 500 birds with a few Redwing in the flock. The Whooper Swans are passing through at the moment as well so the odd sighting of birds flying over is bettered by birds that stay for a while. Mostly these birds are brought down in bad weather, stay for a day or two then move on. A flock of 21 birds landed on the loch, in front of the shop, while it was raining but they only stayed until the weather cleared. Super views as they flew past...
...and the four youngsters in the flock were keeping up with the adults. Quite a feat when you think these birds have just flown in from Iceland (that'll be the country, not the shop).

Saturday, 26 October 2013


A calm day for a tour was an easy hitter for Otters. We had our first Otter before we set off closely followed by another Otter sighting 10 minutes later! Quite a few Stonechat were seen along the way.
A Dipper was seen when we picked up our third Otter of the morning.
A Black-throated Diver was picked up in the distance so we moved to another position and got good views through the scope. Yellowhammer are not that regular a sighting so a group of four birds were nice to see.
A fourth Otter was seen before we had a close encounter with, what I presume to be, the third Otter.
A distant Golden Eagle sitting on a ridge got the afternoon off to a decent start. We moved to another location to have lunch and thought we were going to draw a blank. We watched a Raven flying over and then it seemed to take an interest in something that was out of sight for us. A bit of patient waiting and we saw a Golden Eagle take to the skies. It didn't stay up for too long but then it didn't stay down for too long either! It gave us a good looking over...
...before landing on the ridge.
As an afterthought we had a look for an Adder and I was quite surprised to find one on the wet ground. No camera to hand so I missed out on that one. Another two Golden Eagle were seen sitting together and a close encounter with a male Hen Harrier - you can see the grass dangling from the talons as it carried it's prey off.
A female Hen Harrier was seen next along with my first sighting of a Greenland White-fronted Goose this autumn. Plenty of Red Deer and a distant Hen Harrier were seen at our last stop. I saw one Otter as I dropped the guests off and another one a couple of hundred yards along the road.
Just around the corner from that and I was following a Hen Harrier along the road.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Just messing about

A bit of practice with some different settings on the camera was worth doing but there was nothing to point the camera at apart from the cats. A couple of Robins are singing in the garden but the close one sticks to the back of a tree and this one is pretty mobile and never close.
A flower in the garden was easy to get close to - just messing about.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Dark days

A short run out in the morning and another in the afternoon - the overcast weather continues. A female Hen Harrier provided a great start to the day.
A Sparrowhawk was spotted wheeling over the forestry but by the time I had stopped it was fairly distant - good to see though.
I spent a bit of time watching the Hooded Crows breaking into shells on the shore. An interesting way to pass the time. No photos of the action, just some shots of them in the trees - blinkin' useless!
Even the Raven didn't want to play.
A Curlew was making it's way along the shore...
...while I watched a Black-throated Diver on the sea. I wonder if this is the same bird that I photographed at the back end of September.
A pleasant half an hour was spent sheltering from the wind while waiting for a couple of Little Grebe to put in an appearance.
Starlings at the side of the road, who could resist?
I was on a mission in the afternoon but I saw an Otter on a rock as I went past - 'that'll be nice on the way back' I thought. Not a sign! A nice Shag drying it's wings...
...and a couple of Goldfinch on the wires.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Wild goose chase

I headed out on a wild goose chase to see if any of the Greenland White-fronted Geese have arrived yet. A pair of Gadwall were nice to see - the first I've seen for a couple of years.
There were quite a few geese to be seen on the day with Greylags aplenty, 40 Barnacle Geese and a single Pink-foot - no sign of any White-fronts yet.
I'd started the day with a view of a WT Eagle and a couple of Fieldfare but the following day I saw quite a few Redwing and Fieldfare - too flighty for anything decent though.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

The rock in the loch

A quick run out to see what was about. At one stop I could see a WT Eagle sitting on a rock in the loch. It looked quite settled so I left that for later! A bird disappearing under water had me stopping again but it was just a Cormorant - I missed the fish swallowing as it surfaced behind...a rock in the loch!
With the sun shining I had a look for the Adders again and found one in the basking area but nothing beside the hibernating area - too warm I guess.
I'd noticed a couple of Great Northern Divers when I was waiting for the Cormorant to surface but they were too far away at the time. When I returned they were a lot closer in so a few snaps were taken. The summer plumaged bird was looking good...
...and it was nice to get the comparison of what they look like in winter plumage. A pale bill and a noticeable neck band.
The White-tailed Eagle was still in the same place, a long way from the shore, so I took some shots of that too.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Is that it?

Well, it looks like the tourist season is coming to a close so the tours are drying up but I'll still be getting out there. The nice weather has hung in for a while which makes some things look better...shiny Starlings for instance...
...but not so good on a back lit Raven!
Great Northern Divers are starting to appear in numbers now with some of them still in their summer dress (there will be more).
The Adders are soaking up the last of the sunshine and should be visible up to the end of the month...depending on the weather of course.
There are plenty of Robins singing their hearts out at the moment so it's nice to just sit and watch them now and again.
Dunnocks may be overlooked as they are skulking in the undergrowth but they are well worth a look if you can find one.