Friday, February 6, 2009

5th February, 2009.

A pre-dawn peek at the weather saw a sprinkling of overnight snow ,which was then the precursor to a quite nice day. Cold, but fine, and with some bright, sunny periods.
A further surprise awaited me as I drove into Bowmore! Looking over the exposed Flats, just after Bridgend, the immense shape of a Sea Eagle could be seen perched out on a projecting rock, but I coudn't stop as it was "rush hour" (well I did have a car in front of me and one behind!!). Malcolm (Ogilvie ) and myself were counting geese together, and had to travel past the spot again, so we managed absolutely tremendous views of this immature bird feeding on what looked like a dead Heron. An intrusive Raven looked quite small by comparison!! The eagle showed no wing tags and, presumably, is one of the several birds which have been present off the east coast of Islay or down in the very south east of the island.
Our "partnership" for the day had a motive behind it, besides counting geese!! Malcolm has recently returned from a month down in Antarctica so we had ample opportunity to have a good, long chat about it. Absolutely fascinating and looking forward to a couple of talks which are being prepared.
The main goose contenders ( Barnacle and Greenland White-fronts ) showed no surprises, but we both agreed that the Grey-lag Goose numbers appeared to be gradually creeping up again. Perhaps the counts on Tuesday and Wednesday next week, when effort is put into establishing precisely the actual population figures present, rather than the distribution of geese, will allow a comparison with those earlier in the winter.
It was a joy to be out; with the eastern hills clothed in snow and providing a spectacular backdrop, the clear sky and fine light the day swept away all memories of the poor weather we've had in recent days!!!
An odd party of Redwing at a couple of places ( dark birds wth wide eyestripes ), some noticeable parties of feeding Curlew, and a few places with dispersed groups of Lapwing suggest spring is "round the corner".

A really enjoyable day in a variety of respects!!

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