Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A day of improvement and surprises. 7.5.2013.

Probably the best day in the year so far!  Sunny, warm, light winds, a real pleasure to be out!  Another day on Jura , although with weather in contrast to a couple of days ago!

Such was the influence of the weather that the ferry was in constant service getting day visitors over to the island. It was a perfect day for birding, although conditions underfoot on the hill were still wet in places. Willow Warblers seemed to be everywhere, singing their hearts out as new territories were declared. North of Craighouse a succession of singing Sedge Warblers buzzed and wheezed alongside the road. The sea was placid, gleaming and yielded the nose and head of an Otter moving across the bay. Along the coast itself   7 Light-bellied Brent Geese looked absolutely resplendent as they fed in the shallows.

Farther on, a woodland stretch had innumerable Willow Warblers and  a Blackap (2013, 194 ) in song. A Great Spotted Woodpecker called, flew further on and fed for a while before slipping away. In recent years this species has begun to be seen more regularly on Islay and these increasing sightings possibly signals a slight extension of their permanent range onto "the islands". Best of all was a singing Pied Flycatcher, which was very mobile and difficult to see, which suggested heavily that it was a newly arrived migrant. Whilst the bird does breed on mainland Argyll, its numbers are very low and, therefore, this occurrence is worth monitoring further. A little later an absolutely stunning male Whinchat  (2013,195 ) perched for a while on a fence line and gave exceptional views.Off shore a Great Northern Diver in full summer plumage slowly moved northwards and provided great views of what is such a transition in appearance compared to winter.

As if to add further confirmation of summer several Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Green-veined White and a single Orange-tip butterfly were seen.  In all, a very enjoyable day.    

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