On Thursday we explored the islands of South Uist and Benbecula and made repeat visits to the Solas area and Balranald on North Uist.
Balranald produced two Whooper Swans, a Bonxie, a Little Gull, 4 Turnstones and still plenty of Sanderling on the beach and several singing Corn Buntings. The stiff westerly breeze pulled the passing Gannets and other sea-birds in nice and close.
The Solas road over the heather moors seemed to be too breezy for the Short-eared Owls to put in an appearance, but the Hen Harriers were still busy (one male caught what appeared to be a vole and later an Oystercatcher chick) as were two Common Buzzards and a fly-through Arctic Skua.
Despite a good walk around the desolate wilderness of Loch Druidbeg on South Uist, we didn't see a great deal of wildlife. A circular drive around some of Benbecular was good for three Red-necked Phalaropes on the sea at Stinky Bay (which were attacked by two Arctic Skuas), a couple of Whimbrel and excellent numbers of breeding waders and loafing gulls. Stinky Bay paid host to about eight Eider broods which surprisingly were in the same place where large gulls fed on invertebrates on the strewn and smelly sea-weed (Eider ducklings are regularly predated by large gulls).
Forgot to mention that on Wednesday (12th) we saw a second summer Iceland Gull on North Uist.
Eleanor and Neil