Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Horizontal rain and wrinkled fingers

Monday saw me back on the boat for a 7 hour whale watch, my first proper day volunteering. It was warm and sunny, a bit breezy but Pops decided the Cairns of Coll were the place to be today. Highlights of the trip were 1 young Minke Whale just off the Cairns, Great Skua flying low over the boat, a lone Barnacle Goose on the Cairns, and Black Guillemot.

Tuesday another 7 hour trip, although wet and windy so the Sula Beag just hugged the coastline, heading towards the Trishnish Isles, with the highlight being Harbour Porpoise in the Sound. Tuesday evening Ewan and I went down to Tobermory for fish and chips and to scan for the Peregrine, no sign, although this bold individual kept us entertained.

 Next we headed on to a site in search of Hen Harrier, we sat at a viewpoint for a good while, picking up Meadow Pipits, Skylark, and Mistle Thrush, just as we were heading back a male Hen Harrier was picked up hunting over a coniferous belt, showing well for a couple of minutes before moving around and up a valley.

Today a shorter 4 hour trip, heading out towards Ardnamurchan Point,  the sea was flat and calm, although it was still breezy and wet, horizontal at some points. Harbour Porpoise and 2 Great Skua were the highlights out of the Sound. No whales around the point although there was large rafts of Manx Shearwater, Puffin, Common, Bridled and Black Guillemot, as well as Gannets and a distant Diver sp. The journey back produced another Harbour Porpoise, Common Seals, and an elusive Otter.

Tonight I headed down to Ardmore Point, it was still drizzling but it was calm. Some Goldcrests were showing well as I got out the car, and a male Peregrine flew over head as I walked down to the hide. On arrival in the hide 2 Red Throated Diver were feeding in the bay, 8 Common Sandpiper were roosting on the shoreline, and a lone Grey Heron was standing on the rocks. Highlights on the walk back to the car were Crossbill, and a female Sparrowhawk over head.

On the way back to Tobermory I had a quick stop off at the water treatment/tip, 1 Common Sandpiper stood boldly on the machinery, counted 25+ Raven and 2 Buzzards in the area of the tip, and a single Grasshopper Warbler was reeling.

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