The weather has been a bit mixed this week, or perhaps more to the point I haven't been able to get a forecast I could rely upon for my breeding bird surveys in north Cumbria, so there hasn't been any more birding north of the border for me this week sadly!
This morning I headed to the Point for a bit of sea watching and 'vis mig' at the Obs. I had full cloud cover with a 10 - 15 mph west-northwesterly wind. It was just about warm enough, or not too cold, to stand on top of the dunes to count vis and look at the sea. The vis was really quiet with blocking low cloud to the south and to a certain extent out in the bay. Nevertheless I did record a bit of vis in the form of a Meadow Pipit, nine Swallows, six Linnets, 19 Goldfinches, a Kestrel that headed due north across the bay until out of sight and a Lesser Redpoll.
The sea was relatively quiet, although I did have a Great Northern Diver heading east in to the bay, but sadly at some distance. It was virtually my last scan of the sea before heading back to my car when I picked it up flying in to the bay and slightly away from me; always good to see though! The GNOD supporting cast included five Red-throated Divers, 103 Common Scoters, 16 Gannets, 20 Eiders, a Guillemot, two Cormorants, a Kittiwake and seven Sandwich Terns. An Atlantic Grey Seal was also bobbing up and down just offshore.
Just as good as the Great Northern was a Hooded Crow that I have to thank AB and JS for putting me on to. I was just heading off to have a look at the waders on the beach when AB and JS shouted me to say there was a Hooded Crow on one of the fairways on the golf course. I popped back up on top of the bank and sure enough there it was strutting it's stuff! It was quite a distance away and kept getting flushed by golfers.
Roosting waders comprised of 76 Sanderlings, nine Dunlins and 53 Turnstones. The only other sighting of interest was a cracking male Sparrowhawk that flew low over the dunes as I headed back to my car.
We've got the mighty Joe Bonomassa tomorrow night, so I'm looking forward to that, and I'm determined to get out ringing Sunday morning even though it will be a late night. But tomorrow will be more vis miging and sea watching at the Obs!
Join us for Dune delights at Killinallan this Sunday (2nd July) - The Best Dune Flowers of Islay This is one of my favourite nature rAmbles each year there is so much to see in a short space of time. A wondrous patchwork...
2 hours ago