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Mfuwe's second year.

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I could not find a singing male so Mrs will have to do:



235. Pied Flycatcher (f). Ariundle woods. Strontian.




What we must now call Common Merganser instead of Goosander.

Loch Sunart, Strontian.


236. Common Merganser. Female and ducklings. Taken on the Indus River, Ladakh, India. I thought to include it here rather than as a repeat.




70a. A repeat to erase the EBC on earlier. Great Northern Diver. Immature and adult. Loch na Keale, Mull. There were lots about this year.



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  • Galana


  • Dave Williams


  • xelas


  • TonyQ


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A few more offerings with the only moan:-   178. Red-breasted Paradise Flycatcher.   179. Northern White-faced (Scops) Owl.   18

Not done all of today yet. I got called away.   67. Great Tit. Ballakesh Plantation.   68. Chaffinch. A nice male in the Pink, pink! Ballak

Another set that contains two 'specials' for me. 306. Hume's Groundpecker. Pseudopodoces humilis. Tso Kar.   307. Plain-backed Snowfinc

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Dave Williams

My only ever photo and sighting of a Merlin is on a par with yours Fred. Along with Barn Owl it's at the top of my want to see and photograph list! GNDs in breeding plumage are something else and worth the trip alone.

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Lovely Divers.

In this part of the world, Goosander is still a Goosander:)

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Just for you Dave. @Dave Williams


Story goes that a Ringer was feeding is net for Linnets etc., and this lady got to think it was her personal larder. She once sat on my car aerial and I almost broke my neck trying to get a shot via the window.

I do have Merlin in last year's BY too.

I would love a nice Barn Owl too.:blink:

Might be a couple of other Owls in this thread soon.


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A few more:-



237. Siskin. Ariundle Woods, Strontian.



Wassat? Bring car to stop.





238. Greater Spotted Woodpecker. Loch Sunart track




239. Red-breasted Merganser. Loch Sunart and Sound of Mull, Morvern.




240 Wood Warbler. Rathoy Woods. Morvern.


and finally for the "Awww" factor and not EBC,


Repeat 45. Mute Swan. Loch Hosta outside the best equipped Birdhide in Europe! Sleeps 2.

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18 minutes ago, TonyQ said:

In this part of the world, Goosander is still a Goosander

Me too! Or  Thunnag eeacklagh.

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On we go today,

We are now located on Morvern in  the Gatekeepers Cottage on the Drimnin Estate overlooking the Sound of Mull. Camera trap at the ready to feed the local wildlife.

But first the Big Year calls.

Speaking of calling .....

Heard calling regularly and finally we got up close to one.


The non consenting hosts seem to have nothing to fear as they are feeding young.


One on a round post



and two on square timbers.

241. Common Cuckoo. Cuculus canorus. Lots about this year.



Flaps down, gear locked. BIF.




242. Grey Wagtail. Motacilla cinerea. Rahoy Estate. Getting too  over cropped.


Now for what could have been an EBC.1-DSCN4891.JPG.3bf652d72e596e87bb912ce2ed3d8912.JPG

Seen on our drive from Strontian to Drimnin. (There were two)

But my 'reputation' was saved by a day trip over to Mull where they are more or less guaranteed. (even if the quality isn't!)




Loch na Keale. Mull. Compare with Hooded Crow alongside.


243. White-tailed Eagle. Haliaeetus albicilla. Almost an EBC. Seen one evening from my cottage where it had zapped a rabbit.






244. Reed Bunting. Emberiza schoeniclus. And not a reed in sight.


Now for something completely different.


Edited by Galana
spelling correction.
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Our cottage plays host to some excellent creatures and a camera trap can be very useful for the shy ones.




Not jam sandwiches, which is not tooth friendly but Peanut Butter is popular.

Pine Martens come most evenings even in daylight.

But the stars of the show are the Highland Tigers.

Felix Sylvestris.





For them I splurge on Sardines or Smoked Mackerel. Worth every penny.

The strong markings and heavy round ringed tail spells out a pure animal and not a hybrid. Most local moggies are neutered to help keep the breed pure.

This one looks to be carrying young so we may see some kittens next visit.

Back to birds next post.

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Excellent Cuckoo photos, and some exciting mammals sneaking in.

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Very cool to get the Martens - normally it´s the other way around and they get my car cables.

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1 hour ago, michael-ibk said:

normally it´s the other way around and they get my car cables.

Yes, they can do an awful lot of damage to property. They seem to delight in electric cables.

I have heard of many tales of damage but it is hard not to forgive such a wonderful creature. I suppose it would be different if we suffered the damage.


Thanks everyone for their patience and comments.

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Dave Williams

High on my wish list those two are!


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@Dave WilliamsYou now have Pine Martens in Wales. Go get em. Breeding well too.


The Tiger is somewhat tougher but I have managed sightings each year so far and chances are good.


Here follows more captures,

Those persisting in this thread may recall an EBC of a TreeCreeper back on post 195 that I threatened to use if needed.

Well I did managed to improve on it slightly so.....



245. TreeCreeper. Certhia familiaris  Rathoy Woods. Morvern.

In this small stand of deciduous trees we also found...






246. Spotted Flycatcher. Muscicapa striata. Rahoy Woods. Morvern.


We are now relocating to the Outer Hebrides where stands of mature trees are rare so the local birds have to make use of whatever perch may be available.




00. No score duplicates.

Having arrived on North Uist we were somewhat pleased to immediately see a bird not usually found their almost as we left the boat.

Of course it played hard to get and made a nice EBC


but we eventually nailed it...



247. Little Grebe or Dabchick. Tachybaptus ruficollis  Loch Aonghais. North Uist.


Another unexpected sighting was not on the bottle label but in the feather.



248. Red (Famous) Grouse. Lagopus l Scotica For taste I prefer the bottled variety.

Committee Road. North Uist.

More Pole sitters tomorrow.

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@Galana Wow that certainly looks like a good wild cat, it really looks like it should be a purebred or close enough, I don't know if it will happen or not but I read recently that Ben Goldsmith the brother of the MP Zac who is not exactly short of spare cash has said that he is willing to fund the reintroduction of wildcats to Exmoor, so fingers crossed we might have an English wildcat once more, before too long. I presume there may well be a few feral cats on Exmoor which would need to be neutered first, I'm not sure what they do about pet cats. If it happens it would good to have a population outside Scotland to increase the numbers, I don't imagine there's been a genuine English wildcat for over 100 years, although this article I found on the reintroduction plan says its 100 years since the last one was seen on Exmoor. 


 Devon leads plans to bring back the British wildcat - last seen on Exmoor 100 years ago


@michael-ibk The martens that damage your car cables are I would think stone or beech martens (Martes foina) a similar but different species from the pine marten (Martes martes) and one that we don't have in the UK, I've never heard of pine martens damaging cars but maybe they sometimes do as well.


I hope given how successful the Pine Marten Recovery Project has been in Wales that within the next couple of years they will move onto the next phase which is reintroductions into southern England, so far the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust  are collaborating with the Vincent Wildlife Trust and the Forestry Commission to carry out a feasibility study on the reintroduction of pine Martens to the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley which is only just over the border.   


Pine Marten Feasibility Study Should pine martens be reintroduced to the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley?


Research from both Ireland and Scotland indicates where pine martens are doing well and expanding into areas where there are grey squirrels the population of grey squirrels drops allowing red squirrels to recover, the presumptions is that grey squirrels spend more time on the ground and being bigger and heavier when they're in the tree tops they can't climb on to the smallest twigs so martens find them easier to catch. It would be great to have them back in the south, they do still occur in small numbers in the north of England mainly in Northumberland and the North York Moors but recently a population was discovered in  Shropshire, it maybe that the Vincent Wildlife Trust will want to reinforce some of these small populations before creating new populations in England. Although mysteriously there does now appear to be a population in the New Forest, although no one knows where these animals came from as the species was regarded as entirely extinct in southern England, one was also mysteriously camera trapped in Cornwall again how it got there no one knows. One might wonder if there haven't been a few unofficial reintroductions going on.


Pine Martens in the New Forest: autumn 2016 update



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I am having problems with the @ systems. If I put it on first the cursor never moves and post is toast.


But thanks for the in depth appraisal of The Highland Tiger and the Pine Marten.

I had not heard of the Exmoor idea but fear it may be a non event as isolated non neutered feral moggies will simply dilute the breed. This is what happened in Scotland when pure bred numbers fell too low. Hence the Wildcat Haven idea of Morven and Ardnamuchan. These seems to be working although again 'politics' is playing a part. Scots Zooological want to round up a core number for breeding and this is not a popular idea.

I am happy that my visitor is a good clean specimen on the 'points' system, nice tail and body marings and no white muzzle or paws.

I rent that cottage each year and general get lucky with a visitor or two.

As for Pine Martens they are now popping up all over the place often well south of the border and I believe in eastern England too. I doubt the need for more introductions/relocations as long as they are left alone to spread naturally.  They are a double edged benefit in that they can do damage to property but on balance do good especially ridding the area of that grey introduced Tree Rat. Reds have lived with Pine and Beech Martens since year dot and have evolved together. The Tree Rat is too heavy to evade a predator easily. One up to Darwin in my book.

Birds next, honest!!

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Our new location is the finest and most comfortable "Bird Hide" in Europe!.

We have to be careful when parking/moving the car from the garden to avoid chicks and annoyed protective parents..



and even raptors like the Hen Harrier are often lurking although somewhat shyer...



More Pole sitters too.









249. Short-eared Owl. Asio flammeus are 'common' on North Uist. They make good use of the fence posts too. As are-




250. Common Snipe. Gallinago gallinago. Love posts but sometimes can be found on the ground.

These photos were all taken within ten minutes drive of home (although one may have to wait more than ten minutes for them to appear.)

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20 minutes ago, Galana said:

Our new location is the finest and most comfortable "Bird Hide" in Europe!.

 Is it on purpose that you do not disclose the name of this b&b?! Should I be familiar with it??



Was the second Snipe photo done by the same camera as other photos??

Edited by xelas
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you are a master of EBCs and I've enjoyed your entertaining text along with the photos!


lovely to see the marten and the wild cat!


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what wonderful sightings-very envious of the wildcat as would love to see one in the wild-and aren't the Outer Hebrides wonderful for short Eared Owl and Hen Harrier? Was the Scottish sightings all one holiday? spelndid stuff @Galana

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Very cool Owl, still have to see that one!

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Dave Williams

250 up with some cracking captures!

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Well done on 250- superb Owl, Hen Harrier and Snipe.

Ithink lots of us would like to stay at your accommodation !

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Thanks everyone.


For info. @Towlersonsafari

The trip was from 16th May, we rented at Drimnin from 19th for a week then relocated to North Uist on 26th for a further week. These are Self catering not B&B..

The story will unfold as I progress.

As far as I am aware all photos were on my Nikkon including the two Snipes. Different birds, different posts. Maybe different light? Time of day. @xelas

The Owls are also different birds although there may be one or two of the same bird.

1 hour ago, Dave Williams said:

250 up with some cracking captures! 

With hopefully more to come.


Leaning on Matt's patience here are photos of 'Lochside'


The best Bird Hide in Europe. Eagles on the Garden list and a fine beach within walking distance.



What more do you want?? No idea if the TV works. My view is out of the window.

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Peter Connan

Well done on the 250!


Three significant milestones in the Big Year in one day!

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