Wednesday, February 25, 2009

23rd February, 2009.

Misty with some rain early, and rather damp and penetrating! Improved later but still dull and grey.

Most importantly, "Happy Birthday , Katherine"!!!

Headed north up the Rinns as visiblity so poor at the southern end.Conditions over the Outer loch were such that not much could be seen although "inshore" Great Northern Divers (3) and Black Guillemot noted, the latter in resplendent breeding plumage and much easier to pick out than in the depths of winter. Ihe southernmost sector of Inner Loch held quite a number of dispersed groups of Eider and a similar pattern of Red-breasted Mergansers, mainly males
At Sunderland 4 Mistle Thrush seen to fly off to the north,suggesting their being migrants , particularly when local ones are in song on their territories. Little of note at Gorm, or at Gruinart, although the numbers of Lapwing at Ballinaby were impressive at 300 still.
On to Loch Skerrols where a good array of duck included the Lesser Scaup, together with Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Greater Scaup, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal. A Coot, Little Grebe, Mute swan and Whooper swan completed the "display" together with a large flock of Barnacle Geese in the fields beyond. A really rewarding spectacle! An intriguing aspect was that a majority of the duck then moved, only for some to return later. Which water they are moving to and from is still a mystery! Time didn't allow visits to Finlaggan and Ballygrant so we may yet solve the riddle on this one!!

At the head of Inner Loch Indaal more Eider and Mergansers were present together with Long-tailed Duck, Greater Scaup, Slavonian Grebe and both Great Northern and Red-throated Divers. A mixed dispersed flock of Ringed Plover and Dunlin ranged over the exposed mud and Bar-tailed Godwits rested far out in the "bay". The Greater Scaup numbers have fluctuated recently , not excessively so, but enough to indicate there are birds elsewhere , still lending hope that the "splinter group" might contain the Canvasback!!

The Hato Pinero issue in Venezuela is still as vexing as ever. One contact there has had informal warnings from government sources about being involved in the issue, a far cry from what we take for granted within our system of public consultation in this country. Predictably no response has come from the political group in the UK allied to Venezuela and its modern socialism. The threat to the area still remains but, currently, everything seems to be at a standstill.

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