A few days birding in the Scottish highlands beckoned!
I had planned a two stage journey via the Solway Firth on the Tuesday with an overnight stop in Perth. I've gotta say a big thanks to Chris Baines and the D&G crew (check out the Dunmfries and Galloway yahoo group if visiting the area!) for the info on tides and all things 'Skua'.
A brisk westerly was blowing as I took up position for a bit of Solway watching at Newbie Barns on the rising tide, accompanied by Brian Henderson. Three Great Skuas were the first bit of excitement, circling over on the English side of the Solway, a single Arctic Skua went through but the highlight was at least two Pomarine Skuas and one Long tailed Skua! The latter two species remained quite distant, out in the bay - they and others were destined to pass through the following day??
This is getting quite late for Skuas. A visit is best planned for late April or Early May with a strong South Westerly blow and the period two hours before, during, then two hours after high tide likely to produce the birds! I would have to say that the English side (Bowness) will definitely be preferred for a future visit for the improved light (and shorter journey) but as I was travelling through - I wasn't complaining too much about the glare from the water....
I did complain when this squall dumped a load of hail on me though!
The only photo opportunity here came on the beach where five Sanderling were accompanying the 30 strong flock of Dunlin plus a few Ringed Plovers
Here's three of them!
Plus two other indivduals....
Sanderling will some reasonably close if you sit tight!
The tide was falling rapidly by 4.00 and I had to get around Glasgow before the rush hour!