Calm conditions early morning persuaded me to have a walk out locally first , and then go seawatching, leaving later in the day to develop its own plan. The sea was almost calm, a sullen band of grey extending to a misty horizon. All intentions worked well, with eventual activity taking in most of Loch Indaal too. Sitting at the head of Loch Indaal in the early afternoon it was obvious a big storm was coming in with "blot out" visibility from the south. No sooner had I decided to return home than a pretty vicious cyclonic storm opened up with large rain droplets and volumes of water pouring down. Headlights on and caution reigned through some quickly developing floods on the main road. Horrendous..........and a few miles further on , it was dry!! Ah well!
Both pairs of Swallows in the barn now have flying young, so the vicinity of the house is a permanent maelstrom of activity! First thing over 40 Meadow Pipits were on the telephone wires to the house, which suggests they've had a good season. warbler movement has suddenly stepped up with several Willow Warbler and Whitethroat noted.
Seawatching was rewarding, but not exceptional, with numbers of Gannet and Manx Shearwater in evidence, a few 10's of Kittiwake but little else in numbers. Both Arctic and Great Skuas went through, as did a party of Dunlin, two Whimbrel and a Red-throated Diver. Most revealing was the absence of local terns who must have cleared out after breeding. Oh, and embarrassingly folks, I had a single Basking Shark offshore of the new spot I was trying out. It would happen , wouldn't it!!
A gradual progression northwards along Loch Indaal saw very little of note in the Outer Loch other than a juv Red-throated Diver. Further in moulting Red-breasted Mergansers again showed numbers lower than in previous years , which appears to be an ongoing trend. A good selection of waders was present with several parties of adult Dunlin present, ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit and a single , almost pristine , Sanderling in full summer plumage. A handful of Arctic Tern, several young Black-headed Gulls ( for once ) , a couple of Sand Martin and several Pied Wagtails feeding around a pool completed the picture before the rains came!!
On the way back, on higher ground and in the lee of "the storm", a brief view of a Wheatear showed a large, very bright, robust bird that immediately brought a reaction of " Greenland", but such would seem to be very early?