Monday, May 13, 2013

Twitch by any other name! 11.5.2013.

Away early looking for Crested Tit and Black Grouse, but to no avail.  Talking to a couple of local wardens it seems the numbers of the former might just be low at present. Visits in recent years to this overall area do appear to suggest that Crested Tit is more difficult to see than previously, which is a shame. By contrast , Black Grouse appear to have improved in various areas, although not in others, with some populations being lost altogether.  The swings and roundabout situation within which many natural populations exist, compounded by the increasing number of influences we as humans bring to bear upon them !  Best not to contemplate the situation too intensively as too many conclusions are little short of being depressing!!!

The weather had deteriorated with rain at times. I travelled on to Burghead, via Lochindorb, pausing at intervals to scan various moorland tracts. The plaintive calls of Golden Plover contrasted with the far carrying and assertive outpourings of Grey lag Geese  ( where aren't there Grey lags nowadays? ).  A single Black throated Diver was seen on a roadside loch and Common Sandpipers fled out over the water from roadside territories. Somewhat subjective was the conclusion that Meadow Pipit numbers here "in the east" were far below the level  they are currently enjoying on Islay.

Hit on a clear patch of weather at Burghead, but this did little to assist the search for the recently reported While-billed Diver! A nice Great Northern Diver in full summer plumage and several Razorbills showed to full effect in good light amidst the calls of both Arctic and Sandwich Terns overhead, whilst a party of Common Scoter flew nearby.  Burghead is a nice picturesque spot with an interesting harbour and three adjacent buildings previously used for grain storage, all attributed to the past skills of Thomas Telford, whose influence in past days appears to have been as ubiquitous as the current day distribution of Grey lag Geese!! And so the putative twitch came to an end and I set off on my journey to Kirkhill, Beauly, to meet up with my younger daughters, get fussed over by the dogs and act as factotum whilst their Mum is away, ( oh and to oversee (my word) all efforts at revising for exams!!).