Tuesday 15 September 2015

Ardnave wader walk

Four visitors to the island joined Martin and myself for a short walk on Ardnave on Sunday 13th September to look out over Loch Gruinart for passage and resident waders.
We walked across the Machir and dunes and over looked the loch and we were straight onto a small group of waders on the shore line this included Curlew, Black tailed Godwit, Dunlin and Sanderling.
This sighting gave the visitors a great view of the size comparison of the birds.

There were a good number of the gull species about with 3 Kittiwakes flying up the exposed river on the loch.

One of our visitors was the raptor spotter for the walk finding us several Buzzards and two cracking ring tail Hen Harriers. We had great views of one of the birds as it passed in front of us passing a darkening cloud and we could clearly see the white rump patch and tail feather detail.

We walked across one of the larger sandy beaches near the tideline and on nearing the rocks we observed several small waders, we got the scopes onto them and watched two Sanderling and a Dunlin working the tideline together. Again we were able to show the visiting birders the differences in these small waders, the feather colouring snowy white on the Sanderling and the fading browns of the Dunlin coming into its winter finery.

A juvenile Ringed Plover dropped in nearby by and all birds moved together and again due to the light conditions we had great views of the birds and the feathers patterns. It also helped that the birds were obliging and no more than 30m away from us.

During the walk we had a fly by of two Chough and several Raven nearby. Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtail were about in good numbers and we also had a juvenile Wheatear soaking up the sun on the grass.

Who said birding was hard work, this was a nice walk with us being able to show visitors to Islay the best of what it has to give as a wildlife hot spot.


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