Saturday, 22 June 2013

Scotland Day 28 (Friday 21st June)

Hi

Our last full day on Skye and unfortunately rain greeted us first thing!  Nevertheless we went out and walked a couple of areas in the Trotternish area of the island which produced the usual avian suspects.  The orchids were blooming and because much of the pasture here is technically unimproved grassland, the cattle and sheep fields are full of wild flowers.  Common Spotted and some variety of Marsh Orchid seem to be the most common of this family but we saw at least one other type that will require looking in the books when we get home!  Common Butterwort, buttercups, Ragged Robin, Red (pink) Campion, and Wild Pansy are common and the Primroses and Bluebells are still going strong.  Strangely enough we haven't noticed any Cowslips.

A Common Buzzard nest behind our abode contained two chicks and we watched one of the adults tearing up and feeding a prey item to its offspring in a very tender manner.  A couple of pairs of House Martin (supposedly rare breeders on Skye) were building nests nearby.

Because there was little wind, we decided to journey over to the west side of Skye and back to Neist Point. This proved to be an inspired choice as the weather was quite different and was sunny and warm!  Initially flat calm seas meant we could scan for miles and Eleanor picked up on a distant Minke Whale.  A couple of pods of Porpoise fed continually but we didn't see 'our' Basking Shark this time.  Birds were pretty much the same as last time with up to three Great Skuas treating this area as their launch-pad for adventures out to sea; other birds included Arctic Skua, Peregrine, common sea-birds including rafts of Manx Shearwaters with the passerines being dominated by Rock and Meadow Pipit, Wheatear and Twite.

After an enjoyable afternoon here, we drifted back to the leaden skies of the north-east and went for an enjoyable walk along the crags of The Quarang.  No Golden Eagle but a couple of Ring Ouzels were present and other typical upland birds abounded.

Regards

Eleanor and Neil


Oystercatcher


Rock Pipit


Great Skuas - up close and personal!

Black Guillemot and Thrift

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