Saturday, 4 May 2013

Star Bird

Saturday May 4

We've always caught the first ferry to Iona with all the workers. A strong wind, mist and overcast put us off, which meant waiting for the 9.55........ when the first coaches arrive.
We were not alone in making our way to the Fire Station, three male birders turned left as well. All other passengers went straight up the hill to the Abbey. We heard the distinctive KrekKrek call as soon as we disembarked. Ten minutes after setting up behind the station, hearing two birds answer each other from opposite sides of the small field, we had our first sighting of a Corncrake. I was pleased to show it to the men. Shortly afterwards Pam found one and we had even better views of  a whole bird calling from a mound in the dead sedges. The irises are less than a foot tall so they're frequenting the taller swathes of dead sedge.
Chilled to the bone, we visited our favourite shop which sells really classy and expensive clothing and goods ----and twt. The woman behind us went off with 4 toilet rolls. Time for a hot drink in the bar opposite, we had a hot chocolate keeping an eye on the ferry to check when it left Phionnphort. It was running late due to the heavy swell white-capping its way up the Sound, driven by a near gale force wind. We'd rocked and rolled our way over.
A quick call in to our room to collect supplies before driving to Scoor, the estate is a right turn out of Bunessan. The road was worse than ever. We're used to potholes but they'd covered the whole road with a layer of lumpy, stony shingle. 20mph was the speed limit, we travelled at 5 mph..
A male and female Hen Harrier arrowed across in front of us well along the path, we saw little else.
Bunessan Harbour had 6 Red Breasted Mergansers, the four males displaying to the females. Two Eider huddled on the rocks. Looking over to the left, we realised that we'd never explored the road around the Head to Knockan, so we did. Many more houses than we'd expected, most of them with a superb view out to sea, foaming water geysering over craggy rocks and reefs. Lovely.  The Rock Doveds here are handsome.

Uisken Beach had Turnstones, Ringed Plovers, one Dunlin and a few Whimbrel.  Leaving the shelter of the bay, the sea was tremendous, several  barely visible in the troughs, Manx Shearwaters struggled through, as did a few Gannets. 
Last call was Fidden, as always. We sat and surveyed from the camping ground, a few Seals pulled out on the rocks, no birds to-night, still 2 Mountain Hares in a field with the sheep.

It was darker than this.......
There are some delightful lambs and calves around. I haven't managed a lamb yet but fell for this calf which should be named Bandit.

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