Today ( Monday) was the first of two days devoted to goose counts aimed at establishing the number of Greenland White-fronted Geese within its wintering range. As I've explained previously these are organized , on Islay,by Scottish Natural Heritage with a view to monitoring out own local population.
The day was fine, colder, rather cloudy , but welcome after the spate of poor weather we've had recently!! The sector I was involved with was the Rinns, which produced a quite reasonable number of observations of geese. Quite coincidentally it also produced two male Peregrine, three Sparrowhawk and prolonged views of a male Golden Eagle closely associated with its territory and receiving some unwelcome attention from both Peregrine and Hooded Crow!!
Returning home I had great views of the recently arrived immature Iceland Gull and Glaucous Gull, both present at separate sites along the strand between Uiskentuie and Bruichladdich. The Glaucous Gull is a typical "bully boy" bird which simply stands its ground and threateningly stares back at you!! In recent days much plant material and other debris has been thrown high up onto the beach line by strong tides. This, in turn, has attracted various bird species and, besides the above two species, other gulls , Oystercatchers, Jackdaws, Grey lag Geese and Starlings all rooted through this readily available food source. Immediately offshore Wigeon bounced up and down on the advancing tide and 56/57 Light-bellied Brent Geese bobbed up and down along with more Grey lag Geese and even a Red-throated Diver coasted around in the shallow inshore waters. Finally, on the rain swollen pond behind Port Charlotte two adult Whooper Swan and their single full grown youngster plus two Moorhen were in view. Contrary to what might be thought the latter species is not that commonly met up with on Islay and can be seen at only a small number of sites on the island. All in all, a satisfying day!
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