Thursday, February 12, 2009

11th February,2009.

Another nice day, slightly warmer and no frost to begin with. The hills retained a dusting of snow which provided a wonderful backdrop to the landscape below, for the most part bathed in sunshine.
The initial results from yesterday showed there to have been 14,000 Barnacle Geese assembled at the head of Loch Indaal in the morning. A very impressive sight and one that almost repeated itself today too.
At various places both Fieldfares and Redwing were present suggesting their having "filtered back" from Ireland (?) already in the clear overnight conditions or possibly they had been forced over from the mainland given the poor weather in various parts. Both Golden Plover and Lapwing are now to be seen concentrated at various points.
On the Oa an immature Golden Eagle made a long ,but shallow,"dive" at a grouse it had spotted on an adjacent hillside. Oh, to have such eyesight!!! Survey results would both extend and improve enormously!!! Previously a male Peregrine had circled the whole area below the large radio mast at Port Ellen, thoroughly but in a matter of seconds!!!

The geese were largely where they had been yesterday so a useful comparison can now be made of the two sets of figures for the purposes of the international census. At one point we "lost" quite an appreciable number Of Barnacle Geese, only to find them packed together on the beach at Kintra. Again, these birds were possibly roosting after a session of night feeding. Sometimes it's useful to simply listen for geese you are looking for , but can't see, as they're very vocal and sociable and can be traced to some unseen spot.

And then the journey home, with the coast of Northern Ireland clearly visible along the horizon, picked out in an endless variety of hues of grey and violet, but occasionally lit by golden bands of sunlight streaming from behind low cloud.

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