Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Crossbill cacophony! 12.6.2012.

The day started off poorly with low cloud, mist and intermittent heavy rain showers, although these cleared by mid-morning. Up in the north east of the island a party of 18/20 Crossbills were heard long before they were seen overhead.  They finally passed close by, still calling excitedly and continued on south over the open moor, their calls carrying over the still air for some considerable distance. Certainly evidence of post breeding dispersal and even the precursor to what might be a further occurrence of more birds from the north later. A single Red-throated Diver flew high over open hill land to the sea beyond, presumably on a feeding foray from its breeding lochan high within the surrounding hills.

My routine watching of an eagle pair was ruined in the early stages by the presence of MIDGES!!  Gradually    
they dispersed as a slight breeze arose, but they are a nuisance to say the least!  At one point I had both eagles clearly foraging around for something in the middle of a large slope covered by acid grassland and with several "slumps" and gullies across it. They were about 40m away from one another and slowly moved around either along the "lip" of the gullies  and even along the line of a couple of the widest ones.At other times they seemed to move at random across quite open areas. On occasion they lumbered forward, with wings outspread for balance, and bent to examine something , suggesting whatever they were interested in was moving!  Sadly the distance prevented seeing what they were examining, be it Adders, lizards or ,possibly, emerging Northern Eggar moths. Exchanging opinions with Roy Dennis later it was thought it was too early for them to be hunting frogs, so the reality might forever remain a mystery! Certainly seeing the two great birds moving ponderously around, their golden heads and necks gleaming in the sun, was an unforgettable experience. Eventually the female flew off and perched up to keep a vigil overlooking the valley. He continued wandering sedately around and was lost to view , although still applied to the quest well after a full hour had gone by, testament to the fact that the effort must have been worthwhile!!    


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