Sunday, 15 May 2011

Goodbye Scotland

Monday May 15
An excellent breakfast, all alone in the Bar, don't reckon the other guests want an 8 a.m. breakfast on a Sunday. That was the earliest one available too - unless you want to pay £10 extra for one before that time. That's a new one!
Yet another abortive Ythan Inch Road scan for a King Eider. Common Eider are delightful birds but sorting through several hundred is a chore. Many males were doing their head thrown back, slight jump out of the water mating action, accompanied by the growling yowl so typical.

The King hasn't been reported for a couple of days so maybe it's re-located.
After a sunny early morning with much less wind, it clouded over again but we only had to use the wipers once to-day.
First stop was Vane Farm RSPB on the shores of Loch Leven where one can watch from the first floor cafe which is equipped with scopes. We have a roadside stop first from which we saw a drake Scaup, Pochard, Great Crested Grebe and several Shoveller, all list additions.
The loch is enormous and the scan for geese was abortive - the scopes aren't brilliant either. A male Reed Bunting and many handsome Lesser Black-backed Gulls were admired before four unruly and very noisy young children drove me out. We heard a Garden Warbler in the trees on the way back to the car.
Another roadside stop, using my own scope, 4 Pink-feet, and 5 Barnacle Geese looking dimunitive on a distant island, brought the new bird tally to 10. Many Swifts hawking over the water too.
Lunch was very late, enjoyed overlooking the Firth at Longniddry Bents south of Edinburgh. A few auks and Gannets and terns kept us entertained.
North Berwick is worth a detour to gasp at the awesome Gannet colony of Bass Rock, from which they got their latin name, Sula Bassana. It looks like a giant white island, closer look through binoculars reveal that the white is thousands of nesting Gannets, others swirling like a white cloud around the crown.

The sea is full of adult Gannet squadrons at all heights, plunge diving, flying away in all directions, others returning with fish in their beaks to feed the sitting partner.
Calling in at both Skatteraw and Cove for old times' sake, we didn't tick off the pair of Snowy and single Eagle Owls in a cage on the way down to Skatteraw.....
Berwick Travelodge for the night and an annoyingly slow internet connection. 

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