A day given over, in part, to surveying the Light-bellied Brent Geese present on Islay and Jura as a contribution to the much more wider monitoring activities which will have also been undertaken in Ireland where the majority of them are present in winter. Yesterday I checked the area on Jura where a group had taken up residence at the end of last winter. Unfortunately none were present, so it remains to be seen whether it was a one-off occurrence in 09/10 or whether some birds will turn up there.
After a plethora of records in recent times birds were quite hard to find on Islay ( always seems to happen on a survey day!!). In all I only pinned down 22 ( 21 on Loch Indaal and a single bird at Loch Gruinart ). Loch Indaal was again absolutely alive with birds and such a sheer joy to be part of that I spent the best part of two hours simply going through the vast numbers of different birds that were present. Some of the best were the "speckly" Grey Plover which were very confiding and provided extraordinarily good views. A rather restless flock of Golden Plover were also present with birds wheeling around and calling plaintively as if wishing to be moving on. Quite a number are around generally besides the ones which have been seen moving through direct, including over the sea.
A check to see if diver numbers had improved produced the same situation as previously so further checks can be made later. Sometimes a particular day can catch a movement offshore, which coupled with views of newly arrived groups , is quite exciting despite it heralding the onset of winter!!