Saturday, December 5, 2009

A good winter's birding day!

The main objective of the day was to get a WeBS count of Outer Loch Indaal given the weather conditions were suitable. Achieved, with a slightly surprising result in that the number of Great Northern Divers exceeded 20, not a particularly high count, but with all other species virtually absent! Thankfully a flock of Barnacle Geese north of Nerabus included not only a " hutchinsii" Canada Goose but also a "parvipes", with excellent views of both being obtained.

After the count I went up to the Inner Loch area given other recent reports have not really given any feedback for "wider" areas of Islay. A few Long-tailed Duck were present and Slavonian Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, Great northern Diver, Eider, Greater Scaup, Light -bellied Brent Goose and Wigeon besides a variety of common waders. all in all a very enjoyable array of birds! On a point of enquiry........ I've never ever seen the Greater Scaup flock here feeding, they're always "roosting"!! The numbers fluctuate, which suggests they've feeding areas elsewhere regardless of the tides, but where?

Moving on to the RSPB Gruinart Reserve the Little Egret showed well and was obviously finding food easily given its foraging rate and success! The atmosphere here in late afternoon was terrific with the calls of anxious Teal, Mallard and Wigeon joining with a background of calls from Barnacle Geese and Greenland White-fronted Geese....terrific! On the way home a "modest pond" west of Port Charlotte provided the highest count of Moorhen I've ever had anywhere on Islay in ten years .....ten birds. It's not the commonest species so a notable hotspot!

Not a bad day, but back to normal as I write this with rain pounding on the window!

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