Monday, 9 May 2011

Scotland Day 1 - Lochindorb and Burghead

The journey North on Sunday had resulted in 40+ birds on the Scottish ‘trip list’. Newbie barns was responsible for most of these but not a Skua in sight as the 90 minutes stop coincided unfortunately with low tide. A distant Slavonian Grebe in summer plumage from the road near Avielochen was the last and first ‘good’ bird of the day!

A haggis laced fried Breakfast got the energy levels going not to mention cholesterol and fist stop of the day was at Lochindorb.

Good morning Lochindorb......






This was meant to produce Black-throated Divers but the first birds seen were a pair of Red-throated Divers......










A slow cruise around the loch added Redshank plus a couple of confiding Common Sandpipers!













The next destination was Burghead, the journey featuring the closest view I’ve ever had of a Red Deer (I could see the whites of of it’s eyes through the windscreen as it bounded across the road!) Hopes of White-billed Diver were high as one had been in the area for the past week! This would be a lifer for me but after two hours scanning from near the Maltings, there was still no sign :-(. The seawatch produced more Red-throated Divers, Gannet, Guillemot, Razorbill, Shag with single Black Guillemot and Long-tailed Duck the most notable birds.

If only all sea watching was in scenery like this.....








Eventually after moving over to the headland and scanning ever further out to sea, Yvonne came out with three memorable words – “is this it!” Bloody hell, one glance was enough to confirm the ‘banana bill’ was still around, the large white bill reflecting in the sunlight like a beacon. Trouble was, at extreme distance, it was hard enough work with a scope never mind a camera.

Even halfway to the horizon, I could find that bill in the viewfinder...... eventually! (record shot personified!)






The views were actually much better through a scope!

It's somewhere out in front of us here......






An early evening check of Lochindorb on the return journey produced Wheatear and Red Grouse.......










.......before a really memorable experience!

A pair of Black-throated Divers were calling on the water and busy displaying as they drifted into the bay by the castle remains.










Closer still.....











but by this time, the rain was falling down and shots of a lifetime were thwarted by the low light.....












It had been a brilliant day but there was a classic ending as an Osprey, bird number 58 for the trip, rounded off the day, flying overhead, circling and plunging only to emerge fishless before slowly drifting out of view.

Goodnight Lochindorb.....






Scotland at it''s best - I love it - days like this should never end.......

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