Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Scotland Day 25 (Tuesday 18th June)

Hi

During the morning of Tuesday we drove around the island north of Connesta and scanned various headlands.  Nothing different located, the usual Fulmars, Common Buzzards, Great Skuas, Gannets, Ravens etc filled the skies and wheeled around endless crags and rock buttresses.

Uig is an interesting village to the north and would make an excellent local patch to work.  We only had time to walk the wood and check the harbour, both quite windswept in a strong southerly breeze.  Lots of fledged young birds included Greenfinch, tits, Willow Warbler, Treecreeper and Siskin, with all three hirundine species hunted insects in the lee of the wind.  A Spotted Flycatcher was noted and the freshwater outlet in to the harbour attracted Red-breasted Mergansers and lots of bathing gulls.

We decided to check out the hitherto unexplored middle and western sections of Skye.  At Dunvegan Castle an adult White-tailed Eagle careered around overhead and Loch Dunvegan provided loafing areas for particularly large numbers of Common Seals.

It took a long time to reach Neist Point, the most western-most point of Skye.  Here we hoped for Minke Whale but despite spending hours looking out to sea we failed to find any (normally a very reliable spot for them apparently).  The choppy water and strong wind probably didn't help at this very exposed and dramatic landscape.  However we found a Basking Shark close in and watched it for ages at it performed three broad circles around a small bay on the leeward side of the point, it's gaping mouth, extended gills, roman nose and slow methodical meander in search of plankton all being possible to witness from our cliff-top perch.  Unfortunately due to the glare of the sun and surface chop I'm afraid the images just don't do it justice.

Eleanor found a pair of loafing and confiding Great Skuas (or Bonxies) and again we spent a long time with these birds just enjoying our time with these wolves of the sea.

Other wildlife noted included more Porpoises, Arctic Skua, common sea-birds and passerines, and then it was time for our one and three quarter journey back to our abode in order to re-charge the batteries for the next day!

Regards

Eleanor & Neil





Basking Shark





Great Skuas (or Bonxies if you prefer)

Common Sandpiper


Juvenile Wheatears

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