Monday, May 4, 2009

3rd May,2009.

A quite pleasant day but with occasional showers, some of which were quite heavy. Otherwise intervals of warm sun, which is a laways a change.

An early seawatch brought nothing exceptional despite the northwest wind. Odd Manx Shearwater and Whimbrel were the highlights, so it was particularly disappointing to learn later in the day that the Outer Hebrides had had an exceptional passage of Pomarine Skuas with over two hundred being seen. Are these skirting western Irish waters, rather than the "rat run" up through the Irish sea, past Islay , Mull etc with us only getting the occasional bird using this route? Certainly the visibility in the morning was such that individuals , or groups, far out towards Ireland would have been seen from Islay.

On then to BTO Atlas work looking at central/northern parts of Islay and enjoying exploring odd corners I rarely get the opportunity of visiting. Whilst nothing special occurred, a possible new heronry, a couple of new sites for Common Sandpiper and Teal, all begin to add in to the overall picture of our breeding bird distribution on the island. In one of the more protracted periods of sunshine a good emergence of Green-veined White butterflies was evident along with Peacock, Green Hairsteak and Orange-tip being seen, the latter quite a scarce butterfly on Islay.

An evening television programme about the history of agriculture and the changing methods of sowing and harvesting wheat was really interesting, although disconcerting given I could recollect a lot of the main features!!! Being taken by my uncle, as a small boy, to see the last remaining pair of Shire horses at the plough in our local area in South Yorkshire, has always remained with me ......they're so very big from a little boy's perspective!!! Later, in the 80's in Tunisia, viewing a landscape of rolling, swaying wheat, and knowing something was different, until I suddenly realised they were still using long stemmed varieties long after we had moved to much shorter varieties back home, which are far more stable.

And so, realising they 'd now started making history programmes about my boyhood, I went to bed!!!!

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