Monday, February 18, 2013

Success despite the weather. 17.2.2013.

Overnight the southerly wind had freshened and serried lines of waves with "white horses"  made their way to the head of Loch Indaal. It also seemed much colder despite it developing into a bright day

The day started well with a party of 6 Chough around the house as we took breakfast ( that looks terribly blase), but few other birds other than odd Herring Gull and GBBG were in evidence as the wind gusted and howled around the house. Not the most supportive conditions!

The north eastern sector of Loch Indaal was somewhat calmer and held some duck , although the numbers have already beginning to reduce, partly due to season but, also, I suspect, because of poor weather previously. A fragmented group of 20-30 Common Scoters had various males in display with much splashing, short flights and diving. Close by a couple of Slavonian Grebe loosely associated with the birds. A fine male Long-tailed Duck showed briefly, but water conditions and the gusting wind made telescope usage more than a bit difficult! Northern Eiders and odd Red-breasted Merganser were dotted across the loch but it was awkward trying to get any precise numbers.

After a quick supermarket "shop" we continued on with our intended quest to try scrutinize goose flocks for birds of interest!  Loch Tallant had around 30 Teal and a Mallard but nothing else and examination of an area for Common Crossbill drew a blank. A female Hen Harrier sailed gracefully around above a plantation before slipping away quickly using the benefit of the wind. After looking at various large flocks we came across one which held a Light -bellied Brent Goose and a fine Lesser Canada Goose, in fact the latter was the closest bird to us at one point!!  Excellent views in good light over a prolonged period ensured we were very satisfied with bioth our efforts and the outcome.

Afterwards we almost did a  reverse of the route we'd followed yesterday, but we didn't come up with anything new other than a female Sparrowhawk at Ballinaby. Its presence appeared to have ensured that any passerines present had  disappeared as neither finches nor larks were in evidence.

Eventually we meandered home, our journey finishing with the sight of a Common Buzzard and a female Peregrine circling around over the hill south  of the house.

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