Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Scotland Days 29 and 30 (22nd and 23rd June)

Hi

Our apologies for the lack of updates, it's proving quite difficult to find appropriate Internet connections in Wester Ross.

On Saturday 22nd June we moved from Skye to the mainland.  A couple of morning walks on Skye were possible before heavy rain set in and we clocked the usual sea-birds and passerines around the hamlet of Connesta and at Staffin Beach.

We exited Skye via the bridge at the Kyle of Lochalsh and drove slowly north in a zig-zag route towards Gairloch.  We experienced some very heavy rain en-route and the conditions remained very dull.  On arrival at the Gairloch sea-front there was a particularly high tide and birds close in included 5 stunning summer plumage Black-throated Divers (our first of the trip), 2 Red-throated Divers, a gaggle of quirky Red-breasted Mergansers, Eiders and other common coastal birds.  Four Porpoises included a very young individual.  The corvids were again made up of Raven and Hooded Crow and the most obvious passerines included Willow Warbler, Lesser Redpoll and Siskin.

On Sunday 23rd June it rained all day with a strong NW wind (in common with the rest of the UK it seems) but we spent nearly all day out and the late evening drying out!  Birds noted around Gairloch included Tawny Owl, Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Blackcap and Great Spotted Woodpecker.  The wet weather is pretty irrelevant if your are an Otter, and an individual fished in the craggy harbour between Gairloch and Badachro.

Sea-birds moving past in to the north westerly included the standard fare of Gannet, Shag, Bonxie, Manx Shearwater, common auks, Fulmar and Kittiwake.  How moorland and coastal small birds such as Meadow and Rock Pipit and Stonechat cope in such foul weather is beyond me, but they remained foraging and collecting food for their young in the deluge and howling wind.

Gairloch Bay contained two superb summer plumage Great Northern Divers washing and preening, two summer plumage Red-throated Divers and the usual Eiders and Red-breasted Mergansers.

Sorry but the impossible conditions prevented any photos.

Regards

Eleanor and Neil
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