Sunday, January 13, 2013

Waterfowl counts 12.1.2013.

The day broke rather dark and forbidding, but given there was only a light easterly breeze I thought I'd start things off with a seawatch.  Fulmars, Shags  and Herring Gulls moved offshore and a fine adult Great Northern Diver was in Claddach Bay. Auks were on the move south, with almost a hundred passing in an hour way off shore and , likely as not, all Razorbill.  Other than that two Common Scoter males flew south and provided the high point to the exercise.

A count of Outer Loch Indaal showed Great Northern Divers in small numbers, a flock (25 ) of Common Scoter and the usual presence of Herring Gull and Shag, but also odd Cormorants. The easterly breeze here made counting at a distance less productive, but the general impression was of little being around. The large inland loch inland on the northern Rinns, Loch Gorm, held little. A few Mallard, Tufted Duck and Goldeneye and varying numbers of Grey Lag Geese moving on and off from nearby feeding grounds. Surprisingly the  lochans nearby held no Teal and I wonder whether our recent wet weather has provided small flooded areas which they're finding attractive as feeding areas?  Throughout this time I'd been scrutinising the large goose flocks that I'd come across in the hope of  "connecting"  with one of the "Canadas" which are around, or even the Red-breasted Goose, which I'm beginning to suspect may have left. Ah well, the winter is yet young and there's the end of the year too!!

Cutting across to Loch Gruinart I couldn't help spending time on the eastern side overlooking various large tracts of shallow water in which numerous Wigeon were feeding , along with Mallard and Red-breasted Merganser. All were giving tremendous views in improved light. Waders too were in profusion. Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit, Redshank and a single Greenshank all showed to good effect. A nice end to the afternoon!

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