A slightly delayed entry due to being in transit! Due to ferry changes my intended day on Jura was frustrated, but such allowed me to complete a series of WeBS Counts ( BTO Monthly Waterbird Counts )and also the first of the Low Tide Counts on Inner Loch Indaal. These determine the numbers and distribution of birds within given sectors. The ensuing information can then be used to "screen" any future proposed developments as it indicates where the most important feeding areas are.
Prior to that an opportunity arose to survey Outer Loch Indaal given there was virtually no wind which means divers,in particular,can be easily picked out. Good numbers of both Great Northern and Red throated Diver were present and a single Black-throated Diver. A few Red-throats had passed south off SW Islay earlier in the day and numbers of all these species may yet increase further. A gradual counting of birds around the Outer and Inner Loch provided a real selection of birds....Common Scoter, numbers of Northern Eider, Wigeon and Red-breasted Merganser, Pintail, Mallard, Teal, a Goosander, 6 Long-tailed Duck, Shelduck, Goldeneye, more divers, numbers of Slavonian Grebe, odd Razorbill and Black Guillemot ,both Mute and Whooper Swan and, of course, geese. As often happens, the Greater Scaup flock appeared to have moved offshore and weren't in evidence!! Waders species though were similarly well represented, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Knot,Redshank,Turnstone, Purple Sandpiper, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Oystercatcher, a Greenshank, and, best of all, a 1st winter Grey Phalarope, doubtless driven in by the storms of recent days. An absolutely delightful bird with pristine markings characteristic of its age. Over the years I seem to have been very lucky at coming across this species, usually totally unexpectedly, as today ,but not a bad surprise!!
The lochs I visited for WeBS counts ( Gorm and nearby lochans, Skerrols, Tallant ) provided a similar array of waterbird species. Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, odd Greater Scaup, a few Pochard, Goldeneye, still good numbers of Tufted Duck at Loch Gorm, Little Grebe, geese again, Mute Swan and almost 80 Whooper Swan on Loch Skerrols. Various "family disputes" arose within the latter and their bugling on such a calm afternoon was intense and clear. Whilst some broods of three and four were present, a lot are of two only, which contrasts markedly with the broods of some local Mutes which are often of up to five. Of course, the numbers of Whoopers here currently are also swelled with non-breeders and,collectively, many may yet move further south. Last winter's severe weather cleared out virtually all wintering birds so conditions hereon are on interest!
And so ended a very rich and rewarding day's birdwatching on what was an enjoyable day in its own right!!