Sunday, 31 July 2016

Sunday afternoon

A great spotted woodpecker was feeding on the peanuts outside the bungalow window.

Another journey round the north of the island this afternoon. A few rain showers.

Wheatears flew across the road in several places but did not stop long enough for a photo. At Aros estuary we saw several oystercatchers and a single great black backed gull.

Saturday night and Sunday morning

Showery weather on Saturday night so no photographs. A drive around from Tobermory to Salen via Dervaig added a few birds to my holiday list.
At Mishnish Lochs watched a young buzzard trying to master landing in a tree. Little grebe, herring gull and great black backed gull on the water.
A party of 6 hooded crows and a few sightings of single buzzards along the Glen road.
At Aros estuary lots of common gulls, oystercatchers, curlew, bar tailed godwit, greenshank, grey heron, red breasted merganser, greylag goose and eiders.
On Sunday morning I had a walk around Tobermory Harbour. It was raining as I set off but it soon stopped.
Grey clouds but at least it was dry. On the other side of the harbour I saw a group of gulls and as I got closer and had a look I could see this bird.
A nice addition to my holiday list. Nearby a heron was struggling with an eel it had caught.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Mull- Day One

It was raining when I got up this morning in Oban. By the time that I had had breakfast and paid the bill it had stopped. I had received a text from Caledonian McBrayne on Friday telling me that all the ferries to Mull on Saturday were fully booked so I turned up at the ferry terminal early. I was too early in fact so parked around the corner. I decided to go into the ferry terminal to pick up my ticket and whilst I was in there they announced that there were technical issues with the Isle of Mull ferry, which meant that the 1005 sailing was cancelled. Luckily I was booked on the 1050, but had to wait until all the cars lined up for the cancelled ferry had to leave before we could queue.
Eventually everything was sorted out and the ferry set sail about 15 minutes late. It was an uneventful journey and from the deck I managed  to see several gannets diving for fish along the coast of Morven . There were one or two kittiwakes also fishing but nothing like the numbers I used to see when I first visited Mull in the late 1970's.
Driving from Craignure to Tobermory was quite birdwise with only a few swallows to be seen. Closer to Tobermory I saw a pair of ravens flying, another bird to tick off on my holiday list.
The weather forecast is for rain showers and sunny intervals so we will have to make the most of each day.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Crossing the Atlantic by bridge.

Before breakfast today I went for a walk and soon arrived where the black guillemots were.
The sun was shining so it was difficult to get the sun behind me and shining on the birds. Thesed are the best shots I could get.

 Some of the birds flew into holes in the sea wall, I don't know if they had young there.
A hooded crow was on the beach

Rock pipits were also on the beach but did not venture into the sunlight.
Off to Mull tomorrow.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Cruising to Colonsay

Day one of my holiday in Scotland. Left York this morning and drove up to Oban, a fairly steady trip despite very heavy rain near Carlisle. Arrived in Oban just after 2pm and signed in at the hotel.
Bought a ticket for a "cruise" to Colonsay leaving at 1630.
On the way to the ferry had a good view of a bird on my "tick list" for the holiday, black guillemot. I only had my point and shoot camera so need to go back with my other camera to try to get a decent photo.
The ferry sailed towards Mull and then turned left and sailed south. I was able to see some parts of Mull that I had never seen.
From the ferry I saw lots of family groups of guillemots. Some of them dived under the water, whilst others paddled away from the boat. Razorbills were also on the water, but they were not as numerous as the guillemots, and I did not see any puffins. Gannets were busy plunge diving in the sea and lots of them were just sat on the surface of the water.
Kittiwakes were also to be seen but not in large numbers.
Another bird on my list for the holiday was a manx shearwater and as we reached open water I got my first glimpse of a bird. I saw lots of small groups of them from the ferry and on one occasion I saw 13 of them flying together. A very dodgy photo of them.
As the ferry got closer to Colonsay the views of Jura improved.
I have never been to Colonsay before so I was interested to see what the island looked like. I was unable to go ashore but could see a few of the cottages and it looks ok.

The return journey was equally pleasant and I returned to Oban in time for a nice sunset.

Crossing the Atlantic by bridge tomorrow!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Peregrines beat Pokeman!

Yesterday members of the RSPB York Local group were in Deans Park next to York Minster. A member of the local recruitment team turned up as well and we were able to explain the work of the RSPB.

I took my telescope down and lots of people used it to look at the female peregrine perched on the minster. She was almost invisible to the naked eye, but could be clearly seen through the telescope and several people used their mobile phones to take a picture of the bird.
Masha, a member of the local group took this picture using the telescope and her mobile phone.
One co came to have a look through the telescope and then declared that it was better then looking for Pokeman!
We will be in the park again on August 27th.
Next stop is Oban then Mull!!

Monday, 18 July 2016

Butterflies and birds

Chris and I had a day out today but instead of birding we decided to  look for butterflies.
Elleburn Bank was our first stop.

Fen Bog was our next stop.

A short walk towards a road bridge gave us views of a willow warbler and a young spotted flycatcher.
Fritillary butterflies were on the wing.

We then tried another site for a butterfly but had no luck so we ended our day at  South Gare where Chris soon found a grayling butterfly.
A walk towards the end of the breakwater we were able to add fulmar, kittiwake, eider, ringed plover, cormorant, common and sandwich terns to our list.
An excellent end to our day, thanks to Chris and his planning and driving.