Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Isle Of Jura 25th Jan., 2010.

A group of us spent the day on Jura completing some more BTO Atlas work ( thanks Louise, Stuart, Mark and Ewan ). Our efforts resulted in a further eleven tetrads being completed! The moorland areas, somewhat predictably, had few birds to offer and most records emanated from areas of scrub, a couple of coastal areas and some small bits of woodland. Having said that , the aggregated list of species seen by all of us was quite impressive ( Light bellied Brent Geese, no.s of Red-breasted Merganser and Wigeon, Black-throated Diver, Merlin, Kestrel and a variety of passerines ). I was struck by the absence of Lapwing and Golden Plover compared to Islay, but noted two groups of Grey lag Geese.

As ever Jura presented a mixture of being forbidding and inviting at the same time, wild, majestic and, north of Craighouse, largely devoid of people!! George Orwell wrote his famous book "Nineteen Eighty-Four" whilst in temporary residence in a cottage way up towards the north of the island. A place in which to let the imagination soar and as able to provide solitude today as it was then , other than for passing walkers intent on listening to the phenomenon of the Corrieveckan "whirlpool" offshore of the north coast and a couple of residents at the very tip of the island. Yesterday neither walkers nor any sinister men from the Thought Police were in sight!!

As we waited for the return ferry three Whooper Swans flew rapidly north at height , with eight having been seen earlier in the day north of Newton on Islay. Were these returning birds after their previous enforced move due to bad weather? We had sufficient time to gain a fleeting glimpse of the Iceland Gull at Bunnahabhain, but the light was fading and we could add nothing to the debate which has emerged relating to it possibly showing features of "kumlien's " .

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