Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spring slowly emerging!

A day spent "mopping up" on some survey work whilst conditions were suitable. A rather grey day with distant mist and a lumpy sea. Nonetheless it enabled the completion of some WeBS counts not finished previously in less favourable conditions.

The sea was rather quiet with a slow but steady stream of adult Gannets moving south. Other than local birds ( Fulmar, Shag and Eider ) little else was apparent. Outer Loch Indaal appeared devoid of birds but, here, visibility was not the best! Certainly the numbers of Great Northern Diver are low at present.

Loch Gorm held small numbers of Tufted Duck, a group of male Pochard, a Red-throated Diver in summer plumage and four Whooper Swan besides a couple of groups of Herring Gull and a LBBG. Nearby a couple of flocks of Lapwing were feeding on disturbed land with odd birds on territory and in display a little farther on. Sadly Loch Gruinart produced no pleasant surprises but the pair of Gadwall were still present. On Loch Indaal a fine assemblage of waders was in evidence, if a little distant, foremost amongst which were good numbers of Bar-tailed Godwit. Tide conditions weren't the best, but certainly two Slavonian Grebe, Common Scoter,and at least three Great Northern Divers were present in addition to various common duck species. At least today the Greater Scaup flock appeared to have done one of its disappearing acts! Noticeable was the increase in LBBG, both here and in amongst gull flocks on land recently or actively under plough. Very much a "summer migrant" for us their appearance is a welcome reminder of better conditions to come!

A trip round to Gartbreck showed the large collection of Rock Dove feeding on an under-sown stubble field to have reduced substantially from the 330 I counted last week to the 150 present today. Other smaller accumulations indicate the island population is in a very healthy state!

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