First of all I notice that there has now been in excess of 10,000 visits to the site from all parts of the world. May I thank everyone who has taken an interest in what I have offered and I shall try hard to repay your time during the next weeks and months. My intention was to provide something better than simply summarizing sightings of birds on Islay by adding extra information and personalized material. I'll keep on trying and, remember, I have three other Blogs ( see opposite ) which I fully intend "operating" to the same, or similar, level of output in the future.
Now, update time! Yesterday (Sunday) I did the repeat coach trip down to Glasgow and out to Dumbarton, setting the Beauly Firth behind and saying goodbye to my daughters for a few weeks. Snow still cloaked the higher slopes of the hills within the Cairngorms and Drumochter Pass, but was largely gone elsewhere.
Today I picked up the car and thoroughly enjoyed the drive northwards and westwards to the ferry terminal at Kennacraig. The hills to the east and north of Loch Lomond were covered in snow,which I suspect had fallen overnight according to the forecast. These, and the similarly covered high peaks surrounding Arrochar and the Rest and Be Thankful Pass, provided a thrilling backcloth to what felt increasingly to be an exciting return journey home after several weeks of difficulties with transport.
The ferry was delayed a lttle while due to a creel rope having entwined around a propellor, which was soon sorted out by a diver descending and freeing things up.
I was then particularly pleased to bump into a past colleague from RSPB, Roger Broad, who I've not seen for ages, which meant two hours passed very quickly! Even then, the journey had a further surprise in the form of Michal Sur, returning from the Seychelles after seven months to take up a further short term contract with RSPB. Never has a journey flown by so fast!
And so, after sorting out over the next couple of days all the inevitable bits and pieces associated with an absence of almost three weeks, I'm looking forward to getting out and about and making sense of what seems to be a late spring. Certainly groups of Barnacle and Greenland White-fronted Geese are still around and Grey-lag Geese appear widespread, in pairs, with the males taking up a very proprietorial position at the first hint of interference or disturbance. Back home!!