Saturday, 12 March 2011
Birding from the garden was the order of the day. Trying to add to the year's "from the garden" list. Scaup was new for the year and a species I've struggled to ID from home previously. There was no wind and uncommonly, no haze. So Scaup was not so hard to pick out on distant Loch of Harray. Slavonian Grebe did not fall quite so easily but a quick trip down to the lochside proved a suitably cunning plan to locate a small flotilla. Thursday had produced the first Skylark and other recent additions have been Lesser Black-backed Gull and Pink-footed Goose. Louise claimed a Siskin on Thursday too. Woodpigeons have recently returned and these were easily seen from the garden today.
On Loch of Bosquoy a Goosander was back, probably one of the two drakes that have been lurking and I've been suppressing on Loch of Harray, hoping to add to our bird race total but on the day we failed to find them, karma.
At the end of the day a small raptor on a post down near Loch of Harray was quite likely a Merlin but it was more patient and despite watching for 30 minutes or so it managed to fly and disappear whilst I moved the scope into the kitchen. However, Short-eared Owl was espied by Loch of Bosquoy on another post. The list stands at 53.
Interesting bits and bods from the day -the obvious increase in Tufted Duck on Loch of Harray, there were several hundred and probably 50 Goldeneye. Two flocks of Skylarks appeared briefly in the neighbouring field, a 16 and an 18. Chaffinch numbers reached 5, which might be a record. The Oystercatchers returned to flocking on The Shunan. Disconsolate with the snow and freezing temperature they had given up on amorous activities and 201 sat sulking on the island and around the shore.