Monday, 31 August 2015

Duart Castle, Tobermory & a white tailed sea eagle.

The weather was not brilliant this morning and so we did not leave for Duart Castle until mid morning. A few more vehicles on the road today, but it is fairly quiet, as is the bird life. Only saw one buzzard on the whole journey, but greylag geese seem to be everywhere.
It was low tide when we got to the castle, so unable to see any birds on the mud. However the sun started to shine and I took some photos of the scenery.

Back at Tobermory we sat in the garden watching the ferries go by and the ravens on Calve Island.
I then noticed a large bird gliding up the Sound of Mull towards Aros Park. As it was going over the trees it put its legs out as I had seen them do when catching fish in the lochs, and it disappeared from view. There is a lake in the park, so perhaps it went fishing. A short while later I saw a white tailed eagle soaring in the sky above the park, and as it turned I could see its distinctive white tail. It gradually disappeared towards Salen.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

A day around Tobermory

The day started as yesterday ended with low cloud and rain.
Had several jobs to do so did not manage any serious birding today. Whilst sat in the front garden, swallows were sat on the wire having a preen, probably sorting out their feathers after the heavy deluge.
I wondered if they were the same swallows that I had seen flying over the lawn in May, when I was here. Perhaps they were preening their feathers ready for the long flight back to Africa.
A sparrow was in a hedge enjoying the afternoon sun.
Across the water shags were stood on the rocks under the watchful eye of a black backed gull.
A pair of ravens flew over.
Duart Castle area tomorrow, weather permitting.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Crossing the Atlantic by bridge!

Our second day in Oban. The weather was as predicted, showers, often heavy, then brilliant sunshine, then more showers. So we decided to do a bit of sightseeing and ended up at Seil Island. In order to get to the island we had to cross the Atlantic.

 Driving over the bridge is quite exciting as once you get to the top, you cannot see the road in front of you!
once back in Oban I had a walk around the harbour but could not see any black guillemots.
A hooded crow had found some food.
 A few oystercatchers were sleeping at the edge of the shore and some flighty turnstones were dodging the incoming tide. Pipits were looking for food in the seaweed.

Mull tomorrow.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Thursday evening in Oban

Decided to have a couple of nights in Oban before going to Mull. A long journey in the wind and rain, with lots of road works, so it was 3pm before we arrived. After having an evening meal I went for a walk along the road from the hotel to North Bay. Not many birds about. The sun kept breaking through the clouds as the last ferry of the evening returned from Mull.

A hooded crow was searching for its supper.
 I walked  to the first beach and a short distance off shore a gull and shag were on the rocks.

On  the next island a few oystercatchers were feeding.

As I was walking back to the hotel, 3 small boats sped into the harbour.
The passengers were dressed for some kind of occasion.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

"The greens" at Blacktoft.

Had to deliver something to Blacktoft today, so set off fairly early. However due to road works at Escrick , a tractor from Osgody to Barmby Moor, more roadworks in Old Goole, and then just to complete the journey it was dustbin day in the village, so the whole journey took 100 minutes.
The weather was not pleasant either, wind and rain. I was only the fourth person to visit the reserve , Charlie told me as I booked in a the reception hide. A wader walk was in progress, even though only one person had turned up for it.
I had a quick walk to the hides to see what was about, so that Charlie could tell visitors what was about. For the first time that I can remember I could not see a bird from Marshland hide.
The heavy rainfall last night had raised the water level, but no birds to be seen.  Xerox hide was my next stop.
Lots of birds here. Black tailed godwit, redshank, spotted redshank, ruff, snipe and lots of lapwings.

First hide had a couple of birders in hoping to see the spotted crake, no luck in the few minutes I was in the hide. Townend hide was my next stop and I was lucky enough to see a green sandpiper and a greenshank.
The birds were close together for a while
Then the greenshank started feeding in its individualistic way, putting its head under the water and sweeping its bill from side to side.
It then came a bit closer,

 The green shank flew away when another birder came into the hide and opened a flap.
The green sandpiper came a little closer and a pied wagtail was near it.

A moorhen also walked in front of the hide.
No sign of a marsh harrier or the wood sandpiper from yesterday.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Lower Derwent Valley

This area was my main birding spot for most of the 70's and 80's, and I would visit most days. Today I was putting up posters in hides for the RSPB York Local group, advertising the indoor meetings up to Christmas. My first stop was Bank Island, where I called in at the English Nature office and asked them to put a poster on their display board. I had a quick look from the observation platform but there was nothing to see.

The elderberries were starting to turn purple, ready for all the hungry birds this autumn and winter.
 Then I drove down to North Duffield Carrs and put a poster in both hides. There is some water in front of the first hide, but no birds were on it.

As I walked down the path to the bottom hide I flushed a pair of grey partridges and noticed this dead young bird on the path.
No water in front of the bottom hide, just lush vegetation.
I then decided to go to Wheldrake Ings Nature reserve and put notices into the hides. I had not visited the reserve since early May.

 I was surprised at how overgrown the river bank was. The trees were cut back some time ago to help the flow of water and reduce the risk of flooding.
The walk along the path was a bit tricky due to last nights heavy rain. After about half an hour I reached the pool hide.
A pair of mute swans and six cygnets were at the far end of the scrape, and lots of mallard and teal were having a sleep. A common, green and wood sandpiper were busy feeding along the side of the scrape, however they kept getting disturbed by the lapwings, which kept flying around, settling and then taking off again.

A grey heron was slowly wading out into the water looking for food.

I then walked round to the far hide but on the way had to negotiate some repair work.

I was hoping to see more waders along the mud edges of the scrape but the only birds in view were a Canada goose and a mallard.
On the way back to the pool hide I came across this dragonfly.

On the way back to the car park I took some photos of a meadow cranesbill.

A white butterfly was nearby.

A pleasant end to a good mornings birding. Time to go home and get ready to go to Oban on Thursday.