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Galana's sixth. Building on what was started.


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Looks like you had a great time on Mull with some lovely Otter and Eagle sightings!

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5 hours ago, Dave Williams said:

Never mind the birds, the weather there looks fabulous.

It is indeed. There is a chill on the wind but the blue sea and sky make up for it.

@Zim GirlYes. Whilst we do get set backs we have found Mull always delivers for us in the end.


I am living with the two subjects of yesterday, Sparrow and WW and returned to the Laide woodland again today but sadly met with little success this time.

I spend time in the small hide by a lochan but only saw x000 Chaffinches and a very nice pair of European Teal lurking in the reeds and appearing to feed on insects on reed stems that they had to reach up for.. Not so much "Dabbling" as 'snatching'

Heres the cock bird looking very smart in the sunshine.



I had to add yet another Cuckoo as he was most insistant.


I will spare you the Chaffinches and Meadow Pipits but can share with you something completely different in the absence of avifauna.

Quite a few of these beauties around enjoying the fine weather...


Golden-ringed Dragonfly. Cordulegaster boltonii  The UK's largest Dragonfly is the female.

and having avoided participating in Birds in Flight I amused myself with Insects in flight. Obviously the onset of madness can not be long delayed....






Nurse. It is time for my Medication.:rolleyes:



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Today dawned, I understand, bright and sunny with minimal wind. We had some post Bank Holiday weekend domestics chored to attend to as well as visiting the Bottle Bank so a more leisurely departure time was agreed.

The stores are in the small village of Aultbea and this was just a bit further than our intended destination to be explored with the turn round planned at the village of Mellon Udrigle which is said to be one of the best beaches in the world. I will take their word for that but it did look nice if beaches are your thing.

However on the road there was my personal destination 'Loch of the Beast' which looked promising. Martin @Soukouslook away now. Sorry but I fell lucky, again, for this missing bird to complete the set.




256. Red-throated Diver. Loch na Beiste, Wester Ross. Not the sharpest of shots but good enough for me.

The luck came in that on our return on that road the Loch had some human fishers  on the near banks and the birds were way off in the distance. 

The beach was lovely, there were Ringed Plovers, Wheatears and thrushes to be seen and the little village does seem to be working hard to contain and control the modern surge in 'wild' (i.e. unauthorised) camping.Back to the provisioning and Recycling centre. I am told the store was a little gem.

Then it was time to try my luck in Laide Community Woodland when it was pleasing to see the slight cloud cover had lowered the sting factor of the suns rays.

The birds were once again shy, coal tits, Spotted Flycatchers and more thrushes and an oveflight by the local buzzard.

So I played with the emerging species of Odonata with two new ones. I could get into these creatures as they are much more co-operative.

Bird thread permitting (well they DO fly) here are two of todays captures..


The easy one first. Large Red Damselfly. For thse that do not know, Damselflies fold their wings at rest whilst Dragonflies hold them 'out'.




Four spotted Chaser. There are four 'families', Chasers, Darters , Hawkers and Skimmers. Yesterdays Golden-ringed Dragonfly is solo but closely related to the Hawkers.

How do I know all this? Because some years ago on a trip the ever acquisitive Lady G picked up a small and very informative leaflet entitled "Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Small Isles" and it joined our collection of such 'useful' items not to be thrown away but brought out and dusted when packing our essential items for a trip. What would I do without her?

Til tomorrow then.



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Excellent photos of the damselflies and dragonflies and a welcome addition to the birds!

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Te fine weather is very welcome but is causing a bit of a drought in new findings. OK I could fill in with more duplicates from our excursions. BUT what is the point of more Coal Tits, Goldfinches, Buzzards and even Cuckoos? We saw trecked toa nearby loch yesterday in the hope of waterbirds but found only a floating mass of White Water Lillies.

So we visited various museums and historical sites such as the one devoted to the dark days of 1943 and the Russian Convoys which assebled in Loch Ewe before bravely setting off with raw materials for Archangel and Murmansk in the depth of winter.


Almost a birdwatcher but he was on the lookout for different sorts of Condors attacking the anchorage in Loch Ewe.


But conscious of the wildlife around here I took these shots of "wild" goats that are a relict of the Stoneage goats left to go feral.





More birds please.

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Signing off from this location as we have a boat to catch in the morning.

This is her a couple of days ago as seen from our cottage.

MV. Loch Seaforth heading in to Ullapool from Stornaway.DSCN6883-001.JPG.a4e55bc7add4b86ff4ea32c9d1bc3e4d.JPG

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"We have endured cold and wet for the majority of last week. "

Says @Dave Williams

Others have been less polite but what goes around comes around and a bit of a dreicht day goes better when it is a transfer day.

OK we missed good sightings of Petrels, Shearwaters etc., but we got a bouncy rock and roll ride over the Minches to Stornaway where we stocked up on comestibles and narrowly avoided some idiot in a camper van hell bent on using my side of the carriageway. Phew.

It's not all plain sailing up here.



Ullapool Harbour as we untied for Stornaway.



and the view from our conservatory at dinner.

Maybe there will be birds tomorrow.....?



Edited by Galana
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21 hours ago, Galana said:

Maybe there will be birds tomorrow.....?

Indeed there was/are......

As we set out from our new bungalow ourselves and our car first had to pass scrutiny by three local lads,




All being approved we had barely got driving when we had a fly by by the local WT.Eagle,



Then after a long drive to the But of Lewis we called and sent an hour or so in the Hide at Loch Stiapabhat where I hoped to find breediing male Ruff but they were not at home although there were lots of other waders such as snipe, Oystercatcher, Redshank and Lapwing already counted.

As it was time to give up one bird to the score that I had been saving I took the opportunity of using a nice family portrait of the resident Mute Swans as I can always get some for IOM later.


257. Mute Swan. Loch Stiapabhat, Isle of Lewis.


And as I did this I noticed a disturbance in the loch and up popped another Otter for my score.




A short drive to the Tip of the Isle of Lewis provided two 'improvements' to previously counted species..



Northern Fulmar. But of Lewis



Shag. Butt of Lewis.


That's it for today.





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very much enjoyed your feathered and non-feathered additions, in particular of the delightful otters! and curious goats. 

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Today started late due to rain before seven but that did not prevent morning parade by some friends.


And then we set off around Chalaboist and Cromor but if there were Divers in the lochs we did not find them and the Eagles were also noticeable by their absence.

A Solitary Sandpiper, dare I list it? obliged with a nice pose DSCN7048.JPG.56e43c8467ee93fd0479a1d987b37f92.JPG

but it took until after a nice cafe break at Ravenspoint to produce a seable 'tick' and only after I had verified the white rump as the clinching field mark although not shown in this shot.



But it is  a Dove and it's on a rock so it IS a Rock Dove.

258. Rock Dove. Oraseigh. Lewis. (Incidentally stated in Bradt Guides as one of the prettiest villages in The Hebrides.)


And so to home where shortly after our arrival the 'locals' came for a look. That patch of grass must be something special



Another quiet day. I did see and photograph some Black-backed Gulls with pinkish legs but the adults were very dark backed and had Yellow legs. To me they were Scandinavian/Baltic race. British Lesser BB are much lighter backed.DSCN7058.JPG.30af5ae2e40d2f70999a579be31164ea.JPG

Anybody care to comment?


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Those Lesser Blackbacks are surely Scandinavian 'intermedious' Too 'black' for "graellsii".


I also need to go back one as the Stock doves seen on Mull were probably Rock Doves on reflection. The eye colour was wrong ad @michael-ibksuggested.


So todays Greenshank will not get a number.

But here it is anyway.


Greenshank. Loch Erisort, Isle of Lewis.

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Is it really almost a week since I saw a new bird and had to rejig numbers to 258?

It seems like last year. It speaks volumes for our 'activity' in recent days as well as the vagaries of these septic isles.

Two trips to a likely looking woodland failed as it seemed that as soon as I applied the handbrake and switched off the engine the sun went in and drenching rain arrived. And so the days passed with nothing to show for my totals. Those Stags in the garden were an omen as the list er,,,,'Stagnated' . More of that in the Trip report but this is Big Year.

We have left Lewis/Harris for Uist and on arrival noted several "improvements" to our favourite bird hide/cottage. Duncan had been busy and it is now Wiffy enabled. Hence this message.

The list has grown and several target species are already in the bag despite it being less than 24 hours since our arrival on Uist.

Indeed one such target was achieved within an hour of getting off the boat at 11.30.

Get this.

The NEW #259.




Several shots like this until



259. Red-necked Phalerope. At the usual spot.


Up to date. A few more before we went to sleep last evening.


Edited by Galana
spelling correction
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The rest of our first day passed off well.


First whilst awaiting the Phalaropes to take an avian bow a friendly duck flew in and posed.

Hard to ID with this pose but I had seen the White Specula when it arrived.


DSCN7091.JPG.f334f2ee3ba75a3f119449482f740bf1.JPGAnd later confirmed in a flock..


260. Gadwall. Benbecula, Outer Hebrides.


Then I espied a small wader when checking out an Oystercatcher nearby.




261. Dunlin. Loch XX, Benbecula. Outer Hebrides.


And so to our comfortable bed and birdhide known as Lochside where in addition to Wiffy I find a previous guest has started a 'Lochside List' in April that of course still contains many winter birds long since gone. 

But it is nice to learn of what was seen. Let me see what I can add. Lapwing, Redshank, Snipe, Oystercatchers, House Sparrow, Pied Wagtail, many gulls and nesting Barn Swallows plus what is that large brown bird with black carpal markings I can see on the hillside?

After dinner it is time for our ritual drive up to St Kilda View to check out a good spot for some raptors.

And so it starts well...

Forgive the indulgence but this is one of the targets and a joy to see so clearly on our first evening.





Or not so clearly...


Darn those gate posts..

But things do get better..



Posing at some distance..


Before just as the light at 21.30 was fading we got a decent relaxed poser who obliged.





Will this do??

262. Short-eared Owl. St. Kilda view point track. Hosta, North Uist, Outer Hebrides. And no doubt more to come.













Edited by Galana
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Today was shopping day but before leaviing there was time for another capture. One I can get at home later but may as well add it to the list.



263. Tufted Duck. Lochside, Hosta, North Uist.


And to fill in here are some 'pole sitters.'







All at Lochside or Hosta,

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9 hours ago, Galana said:

Will this do??


Just about. ;)


Awesome sighting!

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Splendid set of Owl photos! They are such magnificent birds. 

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10 hours ago, michael-ibk said:

Awesome sighting!


7 hours ago, PeterHG said:

They are such magnificent birds. 

And clever with it.


Yesterday in the rain this one had made a shelter from an old Peat sack.  Nature recycling our rubbish for us. Whatever next?


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Back in business today with a trip up to Borve Machair on Bernera. Lots of Arctic Terns and waders. I did two product enhancements. 

the first to show what real Rock doves look like.



And then to improve on the Dunlins of a couple of days ago.



Great Berneray Machair.

Sadly notng really new so plan B was to Cheese Bay for Otters and Divers. No Otters or Diver families but a single Great Northern came to do a spot of fishing. I got photos but you have seen better.


Then a small brown bird sat on a wire and here was a target bird singing for attention.



And then there were two...



264. Twite. Cheese Bay. (Bagh a Chaise)   North Uist.


Back home we failed again to raise a Corncrake and whilst we have seen a further six SE Owls today I won't bore you with we did our habitual evening drive up the hill simply

to see the sunset on the shortest night of the year.


Our reward apart from Owls was a small dashing falcon that saw off the mobbing Lapwings and posed on the wires for me.





265. Merlin. Juv female I think. Hosta. North Uist.


More hopefully follows.



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Dave Williams

Nice sighting getting the Merlin Fred.

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41 minutes ago, Dave Williams said:

Nice sighting getting the Merlin Fred.


I thought of you with both th Twites and Merlin on wires. :P


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Nothing new today. Still no Corncrakes calling so I might dip on these this year. Always a first time.


A couple of fill ins.....





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brilliant shots of the owls! and real cool to see the Merlin posing patiently for you. 

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Today started bright and as we had 'business' with the cottage owner dwn in Grimsay we took the opportunity to check out the Red-necked Phalaropes again. Well we sat for over an hour with no movement at all and had just decided to call it a miss when the little blighters flew in almost to the fence where we were parked. They are such tiny birds that they immediatley disappeared into the growth and we had only memories. But we were encouraged to delay our departure and Oh boy, was this a good call. We had 30 minutes of watching them do their feeding and fluttering. Way too many exposures to bore you with but I have saved a few. Oddly I noticed that the head neck area seemed 'washy' and soft but the rest of the bird is more than OK.

Is this due to the type and colour of the feathers I wonder? Black and grey are ever easy but this was most peculiar to me.

Anyway... Here they are.



30 minutes well enjoyed.

Not much else to report today but that is in a seperate post below.

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Today I can offer another Pole sitting Snipe..



And a tick of a long overdue bird....



266. (Northern) Raven. St.Kilda view point. Hosta, North Uist.


We saw more Owls tonight but I will spare you them.;)




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Pole sitters are everywhere on North Uist.


Today outside our cabin this Dunlin got in on the act.



And I could swear that this Whooper was sizing up for a try.


Just as well there are no Ostrich on The Hebrides.



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