Saturday, March 7, 2015

Commencement of a late winter sojourn. 5.3.2015

Darkness still shrouded the landscape as I set off for the ferry. Gradually the first vestiges of light appeared at which point a lone Woodcock quit its overnight feeding area near Ellister and made its way into the confines of the nearby woodland. Arriving at the ferry terminal in gathering light a Song Thrush belted out its song and provided the evidence we all looked forward to, namely that Spring , however raw , was at least under consideration!

I first of all spent some time at the head of Loch Gilp ( at Lochgilphead would you believe! ) where in recent times Caspian, Mediterranean and Little Gulls had been seen. Such was not to be despite going through the assembled gulls gathered on the shore. A single Bar-tailed Godwit picked its way through their ranks and several Oystercatcher roosted nearby, but of the elusive gulls not a suspicion.

The journey across to Crianlarich can be completed by taking the somewhat lonely route on the single track, lochside road which saw me encounter four other vehicles. Despite numerous stops, birds were in short supply.  The adjacent forestry cast a dank, foreboding atmosphere along the route and little life was in evidence. Certainly the area had had more snow in recent times than experienced on Islay, although little now remained. A few Canada Geese and Grey lag Geese, Mallard and Wigeon were out on the loch and proved to be the main constituents of the observations made.

Hitting the main highway that's where Plan A went somewhat awry. A short stretch of new road, a bypass, threw the Sat Nav into utter confusion. At one point I looked at the screen and saw the depicted vehicle moving stoically through a block of forestry!  I didn't know that happened but it brought a howl of laughter. So I fell back on what I ought to have done anyway and that was follow my own instincts. Following the odd adjustment, more stops for birding, but little of inspiration arising, I finally arrived in Fife. Now I haven't the greatest admiration for Fife's road systems so I reverted to the Sat Nav and eventually arrived at my base, Glenrothes, without further mishap.

In keeping with what I've mentioned before, and given that it's the Full Moon , the latest offering by North American Indians for this period was "Full Worm Moon". This was because the ground was beginning to soften and worms begin to appear. Soften, eh, Islay ground tends to be saturated by this time, but different areas different circumstances I guess. I think if I was attributing a name and description to this period I'd call it the Full Snowdrop Moon given the many drifts of snowdrops present in various woodland areas. On a clear night with the moon shining at full brilliance, a series of  rather nice reflective patches must stand out in such woodlands as the light catches the drifts of flowers.

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