Saturday, January 7, 2012

Thankfully.....back to birding!

Whilst the weather was still a bit mixed, with a strong sea and robust breakers making seawatching a bit of a waste of time, although , in all honesty, nothing much seemed to be on the move after an hours dedicated observation.
Outer Loch Indaal was much less disturbed although not all that much was on offer. A total of  23 Great Northern Divers was counted, although there might well have been more as visibility wasn't brilliant, a single Red-throated Diver and a total of  210 Common Scoter in various flocks. These were very "flighty" which proved none of them , unfortunately, had the odd Velvet Scoter amongst them !!

The head of Loch Indaal was very choppy and counting wasn't easy. Red-breasted Merganser, Eider, Greater Scaup were all in evidence but numbers were difficult to establish.  The evidence of recent storms was apparent given the amount of debris way up on the inner merse near Bridgend but, strangely, there appeared to be an absence of waders excepting 30/40 Lapwing huddled down in a tight group at Gartmain. At this point the weather turned a bit grim so I went up to Newton where a Snow Goose had been reported previously.Various large groupings of Barnacle Geese were present, plus a few Greenland White-fronted Geese, ,  but despite a lot of hard work and time no Snow Goose was seen. The geese were very flighty due to gas guns, aimed at disturbing them anyway, were going off at various locations locally but some consolation  was gained from good views of  a Lesser Canada Goose which appeared perfectly and then, just as easily, disappeared amongst the ever moving ranks of geese working the field.

Sadly it has to be said some people have come off badly given the recent storms. Roofs, tiles, outhouses all have suffered in various places and some people have only had power restored to their houses today! The bizarre sight of an oil  storage tank marooned on the beach at Uiskentuie and, elsewhere, other various  pieces of unexpected debris, brought home the strength of the recent storm we've suffered. In a local context, the fact that the lighthouse at Portnahaven has had its power supply cut off, and  has now "worked through" its emergency supply is a real concern. Here , local people know and respect the power of the sea , and  very much care for the people who have a maritime involvement. Many locals have small boats of their own and, indeed, have themselves served their time in a variety of roles at sea and they , and their families, have a close affiliation with all seafarers.  God Bless all those who sail at sea is not an empty sentiment in this part of the world!