A hard frost lit by a beautiful emerging dawn was a sight to behold and led to a cold but, nonetheless , glorious day. There was virtually no wind and Loch Indaal was more reminiscent of a mill pond than a sea loch.
The conditions were perfect for survey work and another tetrad within the BTO Atlas survey was completed. Scrutiny of endless Greenland White-fronted Goose flocks failed to locate the collared bird of yesterday but, as the birds become more confiding, this should become an easier task!!
Stangely little appears to have changed in terms of species composition but nice views of birds like Slavonian Grebe, Long-tailed Duck and Red throated and Great Northern Divers are always a bonus. Our wintering Light bellied Brent Geese appear to be split into at least two distinct groups and it's nice to see the gradual increase of birds over several winters. Large groups of duck at both Loch Gorm and Gruinart sat out on the ice and a male Peregrine took a Blacbird right next to the car at the latter site in an attack more typical of Sparrowhawk!!!
At Loch Gorm two Otters, not quite adult sized, played just offshore in a seemingly never ending series of dives and "vertical appearances" just like a pair of swimmers in a synchrinized dancing competition!!!
Finally, in the diminishing light of a disengaging day Woodcock were seen moving at three sites from their daytime lying up positions to their nocturnal feeding areas. Presumably some of these birds are from Europe and form the regular surge of birds that appears at this time of year.