Saturday 26 May 2012

Gaelic College Sightings

With my mum being away, and consequently my access to remoter parts of the island, I decided to stay in Bowmore for a spot of birdwatching. I ended up spending an hour or so at the Gaelic College viewpoint, and felt inspired to record my experience while still in the field (mostly):

What a great atmosphere. I am sitting on the base of a giant telescope overlooking a slightly choppy Loch Indaal. Among the rocky, bladder-racked shore are many hidden treasures; dunlin, ringed plover and oystercatchers. The air is alive with the sound of piping pipits and squawking terns. Now and again, a male eider duck calls to his companions, before leading them in flight across the loch. Twice now, a family of oinking oystercatchers have startled the arctic tern colony into a flurry. I find it amusing as the twenty individuals take off from their patch of land, raising a false alarm.
           As the tide pulls further from the shore, more worm casts are revealed triggering the arrival of more waders. I can now see ten curlews. The rockets seem always agitated, infact, there has not been a minute without their accelerating call. The oinks and curlews are getting closer. I love the way they can be seen from a distance as little dots in the shallows, foraging away. The dunlin flock that had flown to the other side of 'tern island' have returned, and now resemble whirligig beetles as they run along the bumpy sand.
       Walking back, I am pleased to see the sedge warbler that greeted my arrival earlier, and can hear the mystery whitethroat.  I turn around for a last view of the waders and notice the terns are up again, only this time it is no false alarm; they are now dive bombing a lesser black backed gull!
      I return to the house feeling satisfied, and ready for some lunch!

Sightings list (I have included only what I saw from the College)

arctic tern x20
dunlin x10
oystercatcher x10
eider x6
mallard x1
ringed plover x6
rock pipit x3
starling x1
herring gull x54 (including smelly corner from a distance)
black headed gull x6
lesser black backed gull x1
curlew x10
jackdaw x5
goldfinch x4
shelduck x3
mute swan x5

Lorna Williamson

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