Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Back on home ground. 7.4.2014.

Having achieved a semblance of normality on various fronts, the opportunity finally appeared and I could be out for the day!!  After getting up quite early, I was castigating myself for not being out and about before 0730 hours when I looked through the window and there was an immature BLACK REDSTART  just sitting there on the "concrete apron" surrounding the house. I had great views before it moved off onto the surrounding wall and then disappeared. Efforts to relocate it proved a waste of time, which was a shame.  I've had one here before, in June would you believe, and there have been various reports from Islay over the years, usually in mid winter. A nice addition to the Year List and a justification for setting off late in future !!!   Was it a winterer or a routine spring migrant I wonder? I suspect the species is a fairly regular winterer, particularly if conditions are mild. The many secluded sheltered bays along the coast might well provide more than a share of suitable sites, areas that I suspect are often exploited by Stonechat too following their near abandonment of hill land.

The sea was somewhat flat and little was on the move other than Gannets , N and S, a few Kittiwakes flying south, all coupled with a noticeable absence of auks. The local Fulmars were mostly sitting on their chosen sites, epitomising domestic bliss, and appear to have moved slightly  around the cliff yet again so they are now even more sheltered. A White Wagtail was obviously new , but very little else appeared.

Further up the Rinns a small number of Sand Martins raced around over the Easter Ellister loch.  I then had a session scanning Outer Loch Indaal , although the viewing conditions weren't perfect. A few Great Northern Diver, a couple of Red-throated Diver, small groups of both Razorbill and Guillemot, and a couple of parties of Common Scoter provided most interest before a rather fierce squall spoilt things. Off Bruichladdich a single Sandwich Tern grating call loudly proclaimed its presence, two Purple Sandpiper fed close to the car and Eiders fed in the shallows. I spent some time at the head of Loch Indaal both looking and waiting for migrants , but to no avail.  By now it was well into the afternoon so I circled around past Loch Gruinart and was surprised to find appreciable numbers of Barnacle Geese still present at various places. I decided I'd leave having a "session" in that area until later in the week in favour of checking out a couple of raptor sites whilst wending my way home at the same time.  All in all , a pretty good Spring day!

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