Saturday, April 3, 2010

2nd April,2010.

With the weather much improved it was a day to be out taking full advantage of the circumstances!

The sea was rather calm given the brisk northerly wind. A few groups of auks moved through and adult Gannets beat their way northwards too in an endless stream , albeit in low numbers. A few of the local Fulmar were huddled around the corner from the usual breeding cliff face, but others were out at sea. Oystercatcher, Redshank and odd Curlew were around the coast and around thirty Common Gull were congregated in what is a usual breeding site, but ,otherwise, things were quiet off the south west of the island.

A few flocks of 250/350 Barnacle Geese were present along the Rinns and rather more at Gruinart, but Greenland White-fronted Geese numbers appeared low. Both the Outer and Inner Loch Indaal areas held Great Northern and Red-throated Divers, but the spring upsurge in numbers appears not yet to have happened. Many of the duck in the loch have departed but a few still remain, the Greater Scaup flock being much depleted. At Gruinart there were some fine pairs of Pintail on show, Teal paired but still vocal and "busy", and resplendent Northern Shoveler and Wigeon. The lone Gadwall male and the now regular Little Egret were also present. With the latter having remained , and survived , the winter here, it will be interesting to see whether it moves or, simply, hangs on throughout the coming summer.

Counting waders, or even seeing them easily, on Loch Indaal was frustrated due to heat haze ( no I'm not lying!! ) so the task was set aside for later. With a Northern Wheatear at home yesterday I anticipated seeing others, but never did, so obviously many birds have been held back. As I eventually drove back twenty + Light -bellied Brent Geese were feeding at the lochside north of Bruichladdich, a species that is often one of the last to depart northwards.

As I came over the open grazing moor above home a couple of Curlew pairs were in evidence and a rather dark female Hen Harrier was out hunting, a striking bird in contrast to her paler counterpart further to the south. The Lapwings appear to have temporarily abandoned the area given the snow cover and the absence of their calls , display and presence gave a rather empty feel to the area.

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