Involved in the penultimate goose count of the season on the Kilmeny route, which I've not done for quite a while so it was quite interesting to return. There was quite an appreciable number of geese still around which, in some senses is perhaps not too surprising given the period of northerly winds we had recently. Very often Barnacle Geese seem to "pack up" immediately before departure and also become noticeably active and excited ( if such can be applied to birds! ). In our sector no such large gatherings were in evidence, although there was quite a number of well distributed groups, still voraciously feeding and doubtless putting on body fat before departure.
In one of the farm stack yards 26 Yellowhammers were present, including a high proportion of males. My thoughts returned to the situation I'd encountered when up near Inverness ,now almost a month or so ago, where birds there were on territory, a situation I still find intriguing.
Later a pair of Goosander was seen on a small loch, a situation encountered each spring, but never including anything but low numbers of birds. Given the expanse of Islay and Jura it would be entirely possible for the odd pair to breed and never be encountered or, again, it may be a well developed pattern of birds returning elsewhere. As I returned home a flock of Whooper Swan (16 ) on Inner Loch Indaal was at rest after completing an initial "leg" of their journey back northwards. Duck numbers have now plummeted on the loch and it will be interesting to see what the impending count produces.