Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tuesday, 17th July, 2012.

Finally, some time has emerged to commence "Blogging" again after a hectic period dominated by visits to the mainland, a virus ( affecting me, not my computer! ), family visit, setting up an office, and routine business taking up much more time than it ought to have done!!  Having gained the light and departed the tunnel hopefully things are back to normal!!

Taking advantage of the calm conditions I covered Outer Loch Indaal in the morning before the rain and mist descended on us all!  I'm interested in the use made of the area at different times of year and, at other times, it being almost devoid of birds. At no time is it ever heaving with birdlife but has an interesting assemblage overall nonetheless. At this time of year it's very quiet with a few auks ( Razorbill and Guillemot ) in evidence, odd Eider but not much else compared with the Inner Loch.  Auk numbers will increase as adults bring their young into quieter waters to feed , even numbers of Manx Shearwater can be seen occasionally feeding in the wider mouth of the loch's entrance. Gannets explore both lochs, but never assemble in the numbers that can be seen off the coast at Port Weymss or Frenchman's Rocks where ,clearly, fish shoals become concentrated. Later numbers of Great Northern Diver and Black-throated Diver can be found in groups in the Outer Loch , presumably having arrived from farther north and then taking time out to rest and feed before dispersing. Whilst birds are seen on migration in both autumn and spring, they are usually singles or in low numbers. Closely assembled groups perhaps suggest that they also move at night, as do geese and swans, and the perils this embraces with the current upsurge of wind turbines being located out at sea. Concerns such as this are obviously difficult to study, and also potentially enormously expensive, which, I suspect, is a core element attached to so many modern developments nowadays besides the time aspects involved. Various duck species also congregate temporarily so that the outer loch becomes an area to witness various species that are possibly all on passage, as opposed to the the inner parts of it and all of the Inner Loch itself which plays host to a variety of wintering species as well as carrying a breeding population of our commoner residents. To witness all this happening requires a regular scrutiny of the outer loch being undertaken, which might be intended but which the weather succeeds in frustrating on may occasions as viewing conditions become difficult. And so, an ever changing tapestry that makes birdwatching the absorbing activity it will doubtless always be!!

Locally Willow Warblers are now "on the move" , although only as occasional birds. Stonechat appears to have had a successful season so numbers may now be moving back to the level previous to them being decimated by the winter a couple of years ago. Odd Whinchats are also moving through and some of the recent fine evenings, when the sun has bathed the landscape in golden light , has seen a whole variety of feeding passerines on display. As well as the above species Meadow Pipit, which also seems to have done well, Skylark, Goldfinch, Lesser Redpoll and Reed Bunting have been a delight and in numbers which attest to their success. Less so with the Swallows at home, who appear to have given up after a period of bad weather when their youngsters starved in the nest and the attempt was abandoned. The adults are still around, returning each evening to roost in the barn, but are largely absent during the day.