Friday, January 13, 2012

Overall, a pretty satisfying day!

A look at the sea after the more local patch area showed fairly calm conditions, with a little swell given a light SW wind. Nothing was really on the move other than a few distant Auks flying north and odd Fulmars. moving on northwards alongside Loch Indaal the sun in the SE unfortunately meant the surface glare from the sea negated any worthwhile observations could be made.

Moving on towards Loch Gorm to complete the monthly WeBS count, the first of two observations involving Buzzard took place. Above Foreland a single Buzzard and a Mistle Thrush , within a metre of one another, moved forward across the sodden field searching for what I imagined could only be earthworms on or near the surface. No competition, no interaction!  Later , quite the opposite was observed when an obviously immature Grey Heron took on a Buzzard as they squabbled over a Pheasant carcass!!  Nearby a very large adult female Peregrine watched from a fence line perch with interest!!. A little farther on, a female Hen Harrier hunted along the eastern part of the loch with no obvious success. It struck me that some raptors must be having a difficult time of it at present as there appears to be so few small birds around.

By contrast Roe Deer  currently appear to be in good numbers and were seen in several places.

A call at the RSPB Gruinart Reserve showed a good selection of common species on the "lagoons" adjacent to the salt-marsh, foremost amongst which were a number of Pintail, but with Little Grebe and Whooper Swan present as well. Loch Skerrols also had the latter two species present as well as Mute swans and several Goldeneye.  A search for the goose flock within which the Blue Snow Goose is present proved fruitless  but provided some great views of Barnacle Geese which should never be set aside!

Towards the end of the afternoon I settled down to try and count the waterfowl etc on the central, inner part of Loch Indaal. What a treasure trove of birds this can be when viewing conditions are suitable. Mallard, Teal, Shelduck, Eider, Wigeon, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Scoter, Goldeneye, Greater Scaup, and Long-tailed Duck plus Slavonian Grebe, a Great Northern Diver plus various wader and gull species provided an absorbing picture. With dusk approaching I began to make my way around the inner confines of the loch and parked up in the hope of getting shots of geese coming in to roost. I then got sidetracked by a 2nd winter Glaucous Gull that was carefully picking through debris and vegetation at the head of the loch.

Eventually I left,with the final bonus of the day being a couple of Woodcock rising from the edge of the grass moor near home in the fast diminishing light. Overall , a good day!

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