Saturday, June 25, 2011

Disappointing outcome! 24/6/2011

For once a day simply devoted to birding!! An early look at the sea off Portnahaven showed repeated groups of Gannets plying back and forth and a few Manx Shearwater moving south offshore. The sea was quite calm and, despite a slightly hazy view across the azure waters to Northern Ireland, various features such as cut silage fields and white cottages could be picked out clearly. All this provided an opportunity to appreciate the extent to which Gannets move back and forth within the whole divide and the numbers which must be involved!!

Given the calm conditions an opportunity presented itself to count birds in the outer reaches of Loch Indaal. Predictably bird numbers were low, although odd Razorbill and Guillemot were feeding in the entrance to the loch. Further in, off Bruichladdich , a single Red-throated Diver fed offshore and 17 Arctic Terns were out over the loch or present on the exposed rocks north of the village. Good numbers of Common Gull are around at present, some breeding, but others gathered in groups.

A look over several lochs, and corresponding WeBS counts, produced little of significance except a reminder that Grey lag Geese and their growing broods are beginning to be in increasing evidence. It's that time of year again!! Following a call to see friends I continued around Loch Indaal , but things were very quiet.

Regrettably the Ring-necked Duck reported yesterday from Ballygrant Loch couldn't be located. Time was taken to carefully scrutinize a distant group of Tufted Duck, but without any luck. Most are now moving into eclipse and one sleeping individual raised hopes for a while, but to no avail. Whilst several of the male birds were beginning to show differential colouring to their "side panels", all had crests, were the wrong shape, and sadly exhibited a black tip to their bills as opposed to any white band either there or at the base!! As some form of slight compensation a Bullfinch called repeatedly nearby and a male Yellowhammer was seen later along the lane back to the village.

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