Monday, January 24, 2011

Divers and Long-tails!

A rather grey day and somewhat calm until late afternoon when the wind rose. Out to the south west the sea was choppy, with a fog band repeatedly revealing or obscuring Ireland!

A seawatch first of all showed a few Gannet flying south, the first I've seen this month, and a bit of "auk activity". Around 60 flew north, probably all Razorbill, but farther round into the mouth of the loch ( Loch Indaal) there was even more activity with up to 150 birds tooing and froing from way out to the SE, i.e. a point well offshore to the SW of the Oa. Sometimes some of these movements are quite bewildering!

I then spent a full day doing BTO WeBS and Low Tide Counts around Loch Indaal. There was very little in the Outer Loch, as previously, but a fine winter plumage Black-throated Diver and a couple of Great Northerns provided some respite. Farther in, a few more Great Northerns were in evidence, but numbers are well below the expected norm. Again,in the Inner Loch, a handful of Red-throated Divers was present along with a few Slavonian Grebe. Long-tailed Duck were actually into double figures and several fine males splashed around and pursued the minority number of females that accompanied them. Similar activity occupied the Common Scoter flock of 40-50 birds , but despite watching their antics intently none of them showed any white patches in the wing that would have made them Velvet Scoter! The 45 or so Light-bellied Brent Geese remain, some of them again being within the flock of Greater Scaup that was getting a battering late afternoon in the wind backed waves of the Inner Loch.

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