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Galana's sixth. Building on what was started.


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Today was mixed. I set off in sunshine but by the time I got to Mrs Peregrine it was foggy/low cloud. But she was still sitting.


I am worried that I have yet to see chicks although I did sense some movement under her today. I do hope the eggs are not addled. I don't often get the dates this wrong.

As seems to be a trend, some duplicates. A usually muddy farm pond was host today to two Shovellers. The drake posed well for me but the duck was more intent on feeding. The bubbles are her work as she dabbled in heaven knows what.




Further along the fence line I was able to add a point to the IOM count for  a bird already seen in Namibia.


1-DSCN5616.JPG.b61de432dae31924b0c4b8e14367bb21.JPGIOM 74. Barn Swallow. Ballaghennie.  Drying out after the rain shower and wondering why the heck it had left the African sunshine. (It is not alone in thinking that.)


Finally after some sun had brought out the usual crop of Dunnocks, Whitethroats, Goldfinches etc., at my usual patch I met a fellow sympathiser...and gained another point.


Sitting on exactly the same branch as last year.

Later I got lucky and it came a bit closer to my usual perch tree.1-DSCN5610.JPG.9303290a7b94ec3edbd5602478728fb7.JPG


238. IOM75. Striped Flycatcher. Ballakesh.  Another summer visitor has arrived.


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6 hours ago, Tdgraves said:


Yes. I did spot it on the branch but I could not see any spots only stripes.;)

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Up with the sun this morning.

Went up to the Point of Ayre and was pleased to see a flock/group/ or "U" of Arctic Terns. ablout 20 or so have now arrived and were just off their regular breeding site.

Some have been hatched here and no doubt many have brought a friend home for tea.1-DSCN5634.JPG.372f0ac37dbee639e9511da6333ce518.JPG1-DSCN5658.JPG.fd8e00301f93c0695d9cfadbce81a480.JPG1-DSCN5663.JPG.d3ac15f3aca26b4a6a7cc34541c60f3e.JPG239/IOM76/ Arctic Terns. Point of Ayre. Let us hope they do well this year.


And so to my favourite patch again.

And patience brought a reward.

First was a common resident that had so far eluded me this year.1-DSCN5674.JPG.47338295c4410cee7520e89bf2db0da5.JPG1-DSCN5675.JPG.ef355a8f4bac9fcb0fa073f6bba41aec.JPG

240/ IOM77/ Song Thrush. Ballakesh.


And a bit far off and skulking in a conifer was another of my overdue but anticipated summer visitors.


241/IOM78/ Blackcap. Ballakesh. Got it at last.


As I sat another summer visitor flashed by hotly pursued by its lookalike nemesis. both would have been a great capture but I did not use the verb 'flashed' needlessly. Cuckoo being seen off by Sparrowhawk. A missed opportunity and "Nul point!"

One of our numerous European Brown Hares sat and posed for me by way of compensation. We have two species here, the brown and the mountain.


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Gorgeous portrait of a very handsome hare!

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Thank you.

A quieter day today but a happy one.

"My" Peregrines have been guarding their secret.


Only one chick so perhaps others or eggs had perished in the poor weather of earlier. The survivor looks to be at least 7 days old so my estimated hatch date was not far out.


Apart from that all I can produce today are about 60 Gannets, unzoomed to get some in the same frame and a record shot of somebody declining to pay the entrance fee to Galana Towers. 1-DSCN5773.JPG.bfd6fca8512d85e99fbb05cb991bddf2.JPG

I hope he washed his Tripod and shoes later.




I got the balcony complete with a glass of South African Shiraz.

Edited by Galana
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cool! a chick is better than none. hope it grows up strong and sturdy.


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Today was  a short morning as pre weekend chores have to be done and the car went in for two new tyres ready for our trip next week.

But a couple of birds obliged in the drive for product improvement. They are like busses. You wait all Spring for the first then they all come at once.

Much the same with Hares. I really have not experienced so many so visible. They are behaving as though it is March.

First the 'duplicates'.

After the first partly obscured offering two days ago I found a more cooperative subject in a different location this morning. Not skulking but singing his little head off despite the lack of sun.


242. etc., Smeale Ayres, where I was looking for a Sedge Warbler.


and on the way back this chap played hide and seek for his moment of fame.


233. Done. But worth a go as at one stage I thought I had a Lesser as the head was quite dark.


Then to my patch where my tick of the day was happy enough to hold the signboard to save me having to write it.1-DSCN5819.JPG.07c99f783edad09f07f727c945ca4d67.JPG1-DSCN5822.JPG.14207abd5091c53f5364c0bfa779e50e.JPG1-DSCN5824.JPG.e8a166df664fc2a0fe78407b54e4a5fe.JPG

242. (IOM 79). European Collared Dove. 


Then there were those Mad May Hares.



And finally our Endemic breed of Sheep.

1-DSCN5808.JPG.fcfa369abf1408bf949da3fec28354e2.JPG1-DSCN5809.JPG.6c1264d7cc4845abe6cf0029f0722755.JPGLaughtan.  An ancient breed brought back from the edge of extinction and with its meat now recognised internationally as a protected designation of Origin. Different and delicious as befits all Manx lamb.

Edited by Galana
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An amazing breed of sheep, with four horns!

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A really weird-looking animal!


Great additions, love the Black Guillemot and the Eider!

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On 5/21/2022 at 10:11 AM, PeterHG said:

An amazing breed of sheep, with four horns!

Thanks. some of them have Six!

Talking of weird animals my early venture yesterday drew a total blank on birds with the exception of a lone Little Tern and a Meadow Pipit but I did find some creatures of note despite the dense cover now forming.

I know most followers will have seen these before but yesterday was special in that I saw seven in total including a big male and some cute ladies, one of which I managed to see her Joey in the pouch but was denied a full view.


The male has had his ear chewed.1-DSCN5845.JPG.c981b4df56ce4d96bd5dc1b421d3f687.JPG1-DSCN5860.JPG.5d27d6d6843803a87d73846b5622037a.JPG1-DSCN5866.JPG.86d352de00d47ae4f7b0ab2bb80f957d.JPG


Edited by Galana
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Cute joey!!


Is number 233 a sedge warbler?


What an incredible looking animal. Very dinosaur-period looking but great news they've been brought back from brink of extinction 

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13 hours ago, Kitsafari said:

Is number 233 a sedge warbler?

Oh how I wish it was. I don't seem able to find one this year yet but they are said to be here.

233. Is a Common Whitethroat.


This morning I got more duplicates so here are a couple....



Blackcap. Ballakesh.



Common Whitethroat. Ballakesh. (Same tree as the Blackcap.)


And then in a faraway tree and reluctant to come closer my only 'tick of the day' but one I was pleased to find as they are not common here.


243. IOM 80) Siskin.  Ballakesh.




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No outing today and on the boat in the morning so my IOM will stick at 80 for some weeks. Hopefully the total total will make more progress over the next four weeks, it darn well better, and I can think of around 20 bankers.

My tracks will cross the spoor of both @Soukousand @TonyQbut sightings are not possible. Martin gets closest as he drives off the Ferry that I will be waiting to get on on Saturday but Tony is leaving Uist at one harbour just as I arrive at another. Perhaps he knows something my friends have not told me?

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Well a 05.00 start got us to the Packet for 07.30 sailing yesterday and a 300 mile drive (passing a nice Jay on the Motorway hard shoulder for which sadly I dare not stop and a Buzzard feeding on roadkill on the A82 on Lomondside which almost became one himself we arrived at our Hotel Falls of Lora for the next three nights. A bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and the Chef's special of Roast breast of Duck ended a splendid day and a good nights rest. So refreshed we set off to explore the area which we have often passed through but never stopped. Into the hills. Weather mixed. Bright intervals between heavy, very heavy , showers so birding was depressed.

But I did find a nice brood of Goosander on a small river which counted, the ducklings were adorable 'extras.'




244.  Goosander. Glen Lonan, Argyll.


After a bit more touring aroound seeking a  back road to Loch Awe I laid almost unbelieving eyes on one of my 'target birds' for this trip. Barely 24 hours and a cracker.

I hope Martin does not see this or he will think I have done it on purpose. @TonyQtoo.

Luck of the very Devil..



245. Black-throated Diver. Loch Avich, Argyll.


I also added but did not count both Mute Swan and Canada Goose  as I can get them on the IOM count when I get home and avoid boring duplications.

Guess who will sleep happy tonight after a celebratory tipple or two?

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Friday was a blank as far as birds go. I tried but failed to nail a GS Woodpecker but it proved visible in parts only.

Today Saturday 28th May we shopped for provisions in Oban and caught an earlier boat over to Mull. Anywhere is better than Tescos. Our rental cottage was not available until later in the day so we had no alternative but to hang around in glorious sunshine and try for a few new 'ticks'.

Well one almost guaranteed are the White-tailed Eagles at Loch na Keale and so it proved to be. Two in the trees, dwarfing a Common Buzzard, proved cooperative and I even scored a flyby shot.


246. White-tailed Eagle, Loch na Keale, Isle of Mull. (Dare I include this in my IOM count??)

Two hours off the boat. On a roll.


Then a product improvment...




Already counted (on IOM too)

217, Great Northern Diver. Loch na Keale, Mull.


On the way home I added another. Well two actually...


247. Common Sandpipers. Loch na Keale. Isle of Mull.


And to finish off a brilliant first afternoon we got a nice dog Otter.DSCN6049.JPG.0981b93d971e80c22257c5e50005d41c.JPGDSCN6050.JPG.867c22022cd89154945a326108bd46ad.JPG

Hoping for more as the trip progresses.

I fear a trip report may be coming as the trip is proving very productive.

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Lovely divers. I spent 2 hours on 2 separate occasions looking for them at Loch na Keal :angry:

clearly better weather brings out the birds

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Beautiful Divers and a great start to your trip.

A trip report would be very welcome!

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Thanks. I liked it too. Conditions were right with full sun which did help.


Today started bright but it lasted only long enough to get the sole new tick of the day, although I missed a nice Snipe perched on a roadside boulder. 

Here is today's newcomer ...

DSCN6127.JPG.5048634815f82d48962ac922e7d431bb.JPGDSCN6129.JPG.c02c91ac7d471e56065fa5ccf5415828.JPG248. Red-breasted Merganser, Loch na Keale, IO Mull.


Being such a sparce day today I took the opportunity to round up a couple of repeats plus a background shot.



Two for the price of one???


Then "don't forget the Diver".


No sun makes all the difference. I would have been delighted with this yesterday.


finally...Just for Martin.


"Watch the birdie!"  Top left.


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Today dawned bright after overnight rain so we set off looking for something new. A single female Hen Harrier was all that showed at Pennyghael and neither SE Owls nor Golden Eages were at home as we continued around the south on the busy single track road used by all tourists to Iona. For those unfamiliar with 'single track roads' these are roads of only one carriaeway wide where passing and overtaking take place in specially signed 'passing places'.

Well whilst in transit along this road I espied a very familiar sillhouette on a wire ahead that I just had to stop for. So as it was clear of other traffic I did, window down, camera on, and grab a couple of shots. Done. No harm done, now move to the next open space and look back and try for more.

Drat the light.

Here is the result.

Judge for yourself.



At the organised stop looking back up sun.



249. Common Cuckoo. Road between Loch Spelve and Loch Don. Isle of Mull.

Still not a great shot but worth the stop that would have made any F1 Pit crew proud.

Miss of the day was a Stoat that whizzed by with a nestling in its mouth whilst I fumbled my camera buttons.




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No report yesterday as a lot of it was given over to a visit to the capital of Tobermory for stocking up with supplies and, has been a tradition over the years, a lunch at the previously excellent "Macgoghlans". The former was without problems apart froom finding a parking space but sadly the latter failed. Their previously excellent seafood fare was very restricted and the menu given over more to anything with a burger or chips. We settled for fresh Mussells and smoked Salmon washed down with a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. Good enough but not when the 'bill' was presented with a Service charge already printed on it.

But this is Big Year, not Big moan so on we go. The only new species was a Stonechat and that did not count and neither did the multiple sightings of WT Eagles and the odd Great Northern Diver.

But the night was clear skies and we thought well of tomorrow which dawned somewhere around 04.00 today.

So out of bed and in frosty airs we set out to find the elusive Otter. The outside air in the car read 39L complete with 'frost warning' on this the first day of "flaming June".

But after a false alarm where some joker had erected a model that took me two tries to differentiate from a real one, a familiar hump on a rocky islet revealed itself as a fine dog Otter that whilst some distance cooperated by fishing in full view. All in all we had it in plain sight for over 90 minutes. It should make better video than stills but here is one anyway.


In the time we watch it caught and ate over 12 fish.

A nice Merganser pair caught my eye as a worthy inclusion in a birding thread.


and of course the White-tailed Eagles posed for us too.



Every now and then one or two would take off and play with passing crows and buzzards which made for exciting lens waving and aerobatics.DSCN6356.JPG.64a3c7ec23206295271041529d73dced.JPG

The joining in the melee on one occasion was another elusive target


250. Golden Eagle. I better count it now in case I don't get another better one.


Up with the Lark Otter again tomorrow.

Edited by Galana
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You didn't mention if you brought your bunting with you or whether you stocked up on it in Tobermory. :P 

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3 hours ago, Soukous said:

You didn't mention if you brought your bunting with you

We left most of it at home to help with the Galana Towers party which we had unfortunately had to miss.

But we did manage to bring some spare to decorate the cottages but aas we relocate on Saturday we are conflicted as to which one.

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Today is a tidying up day as well as moving forward.

First are some duplicates for birds already counted.

My WT Eagles have all been perched apart from the odd dodgy one in flight.



Well here are an immature couple who spent most of today at the seaside.


Then for the first time I have managed to get a male Red-breasted Merganser to appear albeit at a distance..



And of course the purists may have gybbed at my original Cuckoo being perched on a wire so.....




So here he is in a more natural setting. I watched him displaying /fighting with a female but she eluded my camera.

Finally my wish to improve on the Golden Eagle of yesterday came true..



A bit of a bad hair day for the Loch na Keale male who flew over.


New captures follow shortly...

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Dave Williams

Brilliant sightings Fred, very envious! You are seeing everything I wanted to and didn’t last year!!!

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