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Galana's Fifth - The only way from here is UP!


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Peter Connan

Thanks for the video!

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The super clear air helps with super sharp photos! Owls galore. And for the LTT ... we all knew that you are the Master of the EBC :D.

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A beautiful Owl experience and also great photos and video of the Corncrake!

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Thanks for the comments.

Not to conflict with or duplicate the contemporaneous Trip Report I am doing but on our way to Speyside we pulled off at a known Black-throated Diver site where surprise surprise we met up again with the Greater spotted Martin @Soukousand true to our hopes there were an adult and juv Diver still present although at a distance from the people picnicking on the shore. But a bird is a bird.


The adult was very shy ...



but the juv was more obliging.

Now comes the sad bit.

Martin had along drive ahead of him so we said our goodbyes and wished each other well. He headed home and we made our way to Speyside.

On the way was 'our' Common Scoter nest site and as Martin had said the birds were not there on his visit we were not inclined to add the 11 miles to our trip. However as we neared the turn off my good lady suggested that as we were not in a particular hurry we may as well take a look. Why not? Wonderful woman she is. Sorry Martin blame her for what follows:-

We got to the site by a narrow bridge and after scanning downstream decided that the birds had not nested this year. Oh well. We had been warned.

But then I looked upstream and what the heck were those birds in the middle of the Loch ??


Two bloomin Black-throated Divers.



Correction Three Divers. Lucky us.



A bit distant but a heck of a lot closer than the two earlier.


And then the strangest thing happened:-

The juvenile swam off, we presume back to the nest site, but the other two started fishing and were slowly heading our way.



Beautiful but surely they will see me at the bridge and break off?




Er, not really.




One after the other they just dived and went clean under the bridge.



I had a job getting back on them, and controlling my shaking hands, but they popped up downstream and carried on their way.  I have never ever seen Black-throated Divers that close.

122. Black-throated Diver. Lochs Cluanie and another,Scotland.


Recovering my poise we resumed our drive to our new chalet on Speyside andon the way with time in hand paid a call on an accessible Osprey nest that I knew of.

And they were at home with three almost fledged nestlings.



Hard to get a decent view from almost under the nest tree.



Dad was nearby

But not satisfied I returned and got some better ones another afternoon.




123. Ospreys.  Loch xxxxx, Speyside or thereabouts. Scotland.


We are not done yet so more to follow.

Edited by Galana
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Outstanding Owls, Perfect Puffins, Cooperative Corncrake and Magnificent Martens. Stellar Stuff!

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Wonderful sighting of the Black-throated Divers, very jealous!

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Dave Williams

No comment!!!!!:rolleyes::rolleyes:

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Dave Williams

I wouldn't mind but I drove past Loch Cluanie twice, mind you stopping places with the caravan on the back isn't always easy.

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2 hours ago, Dave Williams said:

I wouldn't mind but I drove past Loch Cluanie twice,

I thought I had sent you a map of the place?

You would NOT have got a caravan down to the other three or maybe more accurately it perhaps wouold have stayed there.

But yes they were a great thrill to watch. Next year? @Zim Girl


Today's offering was 'Home and away".

The local Loch held Golden-eye which are always nice to see if tricky to get to sit still.


A great EBC though. I must save it.

However it popped back up and posed with a grumpy expression.


And not a very 'golden-eye' but at another loch not far away it was sunny and I did like this one.


124. Golden-eye. Speyside.


That was the away bit.

Meanwhile whilst preparing breakfast at Kullberry I sensed movement on the gate post.



Another EBC for my collection.


And then it popped on top to reveal the whole thing..


125. European TreeCreeper. Kullberry, Insch, Speyside.

Edited by Galana
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On 7/26/2021 at 4:42 PM, Galana said:

I have never ever seen Black-throated Divers that close.


and I'm crying into my cornflakes :(

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1 hour ago, Soukous said:

I'm crying into my cornflakes 

I am not surprised.

I am not known for a conscience but I really do feel bad for you. Less than 50 minutes after we parted and you will have driven so very close to Loch Garry on your way is so very hard to believe and rotten luck. I have a lot to thank my wife for.

It is often luck (look at the missing Red-throats we both passed on Uist) but this was such an exceptional sighting as to be almost unbelievable and I did give thought to returning the GlenLivet..(But it passed):lol:

Next time.

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So to the final two for the trip.


Frustrated by the building site that I found at a regular place for very accessible nesting Ring Ouzels and good chances of Snow Bunting I had one 'banker' left for Speyside.

And I learned of the problems at Loch Ruthven RSPB with unsupervised water sports so knew I was up against it for the regular nesting Slavonian Grebes that are there.


But I got lucky on my tour with a pair on a remote Lochan that I eventually managed to get passable shots of.

A combination of wet birds and bright sun on water messed up my Autofocus and contrast so they are not of the best (nothing new here) but they count.




126. Slavonian Grebe. Location witheld.


And to round off I knew I had a photo of a Twite from Cheese Bay somewhere among all the Linnets and have found it.



127. Twite. Cheese Bay, North Uist.


Total for the trip for those counting....24. I was not expecting more than 30 anyway so not too bad given the conditions.


Reset totals now:-

127 (103 IOM) 28th July. Got to keep moving.



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1 hour ago, Galana said:

and I did give thought to returning the GlenLivet..(But it passed)


very quickly I hope

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wow those divers are very attractive. Lucky you!

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3 hours ago, Kitsafari said:

wow those divers are very attractive. Lucky you!


please don't rub it in Kit :(

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52 minutes ago, Soukous said:


please don't rub it in Kit :(


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5 hours ago, Kitsafari said:

wow those divers are very attractive. Lucky you!

True. But it does raise the bar for the future when I offer an EBC (and @Soukousis just in front.B))

Seriously, I know I have said it before but I never ever thought they would pass me so close. These are notoriously shy birds.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I returned home with a backlog of domestics to resolve and a heatwave to survive. Now our border is open I think the island may have gone down a couple of inches on her marks from the weight of incoming tourists. Good for our shops though.

I decided to head south today despite knowing what I would face but with another hot spell forecast I felt I needed to try and move my score along.

All the summer migrants are keeping quiet now but there seemed to be a trickle of Autumn passing through.

I could not get near my main targets but I did come across a lone visitor refueling before continuing south.

So here it is.





128/104 IOM. Curlew Sandpiper. Stinking Dubh, Langness. IOM


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  • 2 weeks later...

What fun I had catching up with your BY - from Musketeers to foxes to small red cars to pasteis and a whole lot inbetween; the masterclass in the subtle craft of EBCs is much appreciated! 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/19/2021 at 5:46 PM, Galana said:

My favourite place for this bird is Pennyghael

Wish Id known that a couple of years ago. I'll look forward to the TR too. I loved Scotland, and hope to return one day. Those 'divers' are beautiful Birds.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's been a while. Other matters have diverted my attention and anyway I was avoiding some busy and noisy visitors that seemed to think our quiet wild beaches and hills were put there for their personal sybaritic enjoyment. So I joined the wildlife and avoided the area.

But not today, or yesterday which proved a blank apart from birds I had already got.

Accessing our Kittiwake cliffs is a long drive (30 miles)and hanging by fingernails is not for one of my years but as the nesting season comes to an end I have often found a few in more accessible places such as the harbour in Sunset City.

And so it proved.


Kittiwake. It could almost be a Red-legged version but a long way from home.



That's not so sharp but at least the legs are black.


And so I found some prepared to pose for a group shot.




So there we have it.

129/105 IOM  If you must (Black-legged Kittiwake.) Peel breakwater.

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I agree, the first one does seem to show some red in the legs…..

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Sub title.

Another day at the beach with old friends.

It was such a lovely day that I risked the annoyance of crowds for a couple of hours and whilst no new ticks, not even to add to the IOM score, we had a few enjoyable sightings prior to the tourist post lunch arrivals.

First of all with @Soukousin mind I had to show a recent arrival.



Slowly entering winter plumage but unmistakable. Red Throated Diver.

Then some friendly Gannets came by.



KIrkcudbrightshire coast as a back drop for this third year bird.


Full adult. Soon to be heading off to Africa and making me jealous.



Atlantic Seals with more on their mind than a few fish. Pups due next month.


And finally a Wheatear dropped in to say hello. Another one due to leave for Africa. :(



Nice pose on the beach.


Of course the tourists don't see these in their Smart phones.pads or whatever.


Too early for Pantos yet, but " Eez behind you. Missus"


Oh yes he is.

NO. I did not bury her in the Shingle. The beach is quite steep here.


Kenya off the Red list from next week. How much longer must I wait. If tennis players, politicians and race drivers can travel, why can't I? Hamilton would do everyone a favour by staying at home.


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1 hour ago, Galana said:





Kenya off the Red list from next week. How much longer must I wait. 


@galana, the news that we have been waiting for since last July, when we postponed our august 2020 trip to October 2021. Unfortunately, one of our lodges would only hold our rooms until 31/8/21 and as there seemed to be no movement from HM government, we gave up and have rescheduled again to September 2022. I held the flights a bit longer, to try and make me feel like we still had a chance, but BA recently pruned the timetable again and so I cancelled. Not much point getting off of the red list, if they insist on 7 day quarantine on landing though….

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@TdgravesRumour has it that the self isolation, not quarantine, will fade away. It was only introduced by Kenya as a tit for tat on when they were red listed.

Never flown BA for many years. KLM for me. Who needs the hell of Heathrow?

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