In the main a fine day but with some really heavy showers during the early afternoon ensuring the trend continues of our having received almost 10" of rain in August!!
Whilst seawatching was an option little coverage of sites in recent times, away from RSPB Reserves, suggested it worth doing a round trip to see what was about!! The penalty of virtually no active birders on the island and a huge area to cover places additional value on contributions by visitors.A count of Atlantic Grey Seal off Portnahaven showed good numbers present and a maximum of 106 counted by a colleague earlier.
Whilst the conditions weren't ideal I decided to complete a BTO WeBS count over Outer Loch Indaal. A few Eider, Common Scoter, Arctic Tern, Gannet and Kittiwake were the most obvious birds other than Razorbill with several small groups, or family units, spread over the outer waters. An obvious Greenland Wheatear, the first of the autumn, was south of Port Charlotte.
Inner Loch Indaal showed wader numbers to be increasing but, again, difficult to count in the conditions. The lone Barnacle Goose was still present, awaiting the arrival of its well travelled colleagues!! 8 immature Shelduck, Red throated Diver, Red -breasted Merganser , Common Scoter and Eider , with most other duck species due to arrive shortly. A single Razorbill youngster , sheltering at the very head of the loch in the lee of Black Rock, was intriguing until it showed itself well.
Linnet flocks are now in evidence and several amounted to between 50-70, which suugested an encouraging breeding season. On to Loch Gruinart, with Linnet, a Northern Wheatear, and an endless selection of waders ( Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Whimbrel, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Greenshank, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Knot, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin and Lapwing ). Again, very few duck in evidence and, as it happens, no Grey lag Geese , one species I was on the look out for prior to the forthcoming survey. The poor weather of late has halted the harvesting of barley fields where the geese move to immediately the action has died down. This makes them easier to count and then check again as they move to nearby Loch Gruinart to roost. This year could be a bit of a challenge and suggests extra counts might be needed!!
On wet fields at Ballinaby Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Bar-tailed Godwit were feeding with 3 Black -tailed Godwit .
A good day with Northern Wheatear, Common Whitethroat still near home, doubtless held up by the poor weather. A few House Martin and Swallow still remain with reported late broods around.