Sunday, January 15, 2012

Saturday run around!

The beginning of the day proved to be almost calm and a real change to recent times!  Later the southerly wind became quite fresh and things turned quite cold.
Given the still conditions I went looking for Crossbills in a couple of places where they'd been last year, but with no success. Not a single suspicion of presence! So the first initiative of the day fell foul. Between general birding I also looked again for the Snow Goose , but without any success either. A long hour going through a large Barnacle Goose flock in the location used previously produced absolutely nothing different. It poses the question as to whether the bird is still here, as no further reports have arisen. It is a bit of "57 variety"  looker and certainly doesn't stand out very prominently.....and we do have a lot of Barnacle Geese, so I shall remain optimistic!
By this time I'd seen odd "white gulls" and resolved to try and complete what had failed a couple of days ago, so I continued to visit a wide variety of locations. Reaching Bunnahabhain the adult Iceland Gull, known to be around wasn't present on this occasion!! It first visited as an immature bird and now must be in its eighth winter. Last year I had a similar experience, when wanting to photograph the bird. I then spotted it perched on the gunwhale of one of the local fishing boats returning into Port Askaig.......nothing like easing yourself into the   local  scene. Travelling around a bit I was amazed again at how few small birds are around, odd Starling flocks, pathetic little groups of birds around garden feeders , but little else. I was also amazed at how soddened the land generally with some well-defined "mud flows" on downward slopes.
Time spent on the eastern side of Loch Gruinart was a real joy with a good variety of duck and waders, particularly good numbers of Shelduck. Here too were a couple of "white-winged"  gulls! So, in the end I'd had five such gulls, three Glaucous and two Iceland but with another likely Iceland Gull not recorded. With birds now been recorded very widely within Britain the final number associated with this incursion must be quite large.