Monday, April 12, 2010

Quite a good day!

With the weather predicted to be fine plans were made to "exploit the day" to the full, and so it proved!

A seawatch actually produced very little with a 100+ Gannet S, and a few auks north , but not much else. "Alba" wagtail, Linnet and Goldfinch all moved through in penny numbers.

I decided to try and take a thorough look at the whole "recording area" to assess the status of the birds present, better to be able to comment on the records, rather than simply reporting, randomly, on their presence here and there, which has little relevance. Easier said than done given the eventual heat haze and the tide being at low ebb for much of the period!! However a reasonable grasp of what was around revealed itself.

Geese appeared to be less well widespread, but 2500+ in two areas on the flats near Bridgend and numbers at Gruinart, showed a high presence still. Grey lag Geese appear to be much reduced, as no flocks were encountered, but pairs are absolutely everywhere! Some of the Light-bellied Brent Geese may have gone , as only a couple of parties were encountered, but they were actually being disturbed by various activities around the loch.

Of summer migrants, two Swallow flew north along Loch Indaal, as did a single Northern Wheatear and Willow Warblers were present in several areas, the highest numbers being noted at Loch Gorm with at least five singing birds. LBBG ( a summer visitor here) are now well distributed, as are Pied Wagtails. The Outer Loch (Indaal) showed slightly increased numbers of Great Northern Divers (29) , but there was the likelihood of more as counting was made difficult by the sun dappled water ( we really shouldn't complain!! ) Numbers of Guillemot and a few Razorbill dotted the outer waters,and odd Red-throated Diver and a couple of Kittiwake were present. A good flock of Common Scoter was strung out in the boundary waters of the inner and outer loch at Laggan. The inner loch carried a variety of birds, again a couple of Great Northern Diver and Red-throated Diver, a single Slavonian Grebe in absolutely resplendent plumage, the remnants of the Greater Scaup flock, a few more Common Scoter and several Goldeneye. Shelduck and Red-breasted Merganser were much absorbed in courtship display compared to most of the Eider that were sitting out the day onshore! Waders were difficult! A flock of 70+ Bar-tailed Godwit, some Knot, Redshank, Oystercatcher and Curlew all fed out on the flats , but were difficult to count. Whilst a few Turnsone and Ringed Plover were obvious the larger numbers of these species , accompanied by Sanderling and Dunlin , are not yet in the numbers we enjoy later when these smaller High Arctic breeders move through.

The Gruinart Reserve rang to the sounds of Redshank and provided good views of Shoveler, Pintail, Wigeon, Teal and the lone Gadwall and also a Greenshank and the now regular Little Egret. A battle of "presence" was taking place between a Mute Swan and two Whooper Swans, but otherwise all was a fairly ordered afternoon!!

A good day against which it will be possible to set and compare any changes within the promised period of continuing good weather!

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