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Gyr Falcon at Balranald NR

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BrianR
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Gyr Falcon at Balranald NR

Post by BrianR » 23 Dec 2015, 18:53

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The Gyr is towards the right hand of the photo!
A couple of days ago Alastair MacDonald reported to Jamie that he had seen a Gyr Falcon at the Nature Reserve. Over the years Alastair has notched up several sightings of this impressive falcon over the reserve. Yesterday Bill Allan had very good views from near the RSPB visitor centre. Just before this Bill saw a Little Auk that flew across the road just before the turning down to the centre. Not surprising in view of the weather we have been having lately - John Kemp later told me he has recorded a trickle passing Rubha Ardvule recently. John and Bill were both at the reserve today but unfortunately there was no sign of the Gyr in several hours by which time they had both left. I had given up hope and stopped briefly on the main road overlooking Loch nam Feithean. Suddenly the ducks got up and there was the magnificent white morph Gyr just after 14.00 hours. I managed to get further views and a couple of distant photos but the bird was mostly down on the ground and at some distance on the south side of the loch. It would seem the best way to see it is to spend time in the area and watch from either the camp site or higher up on the rough track at the top of the low dunes.

BrianR
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Re: Gyr Falcon at Balranald NR

Post by BrianR » 24 Dec 2015, 17:02

Apart from a few Gannets heading south and a couple of Red-throated Divers there wasn't much else in a one hour seawatch at Aird an Runair. I was hoping for a Little Auk but probably arrived too late in the morning - John had a count of 14 flying south off Rubha Ardvule earlier and he did mention that any passing there recently have been not that long after first light. Anyway my visit was quite worthwhile as a flock of 22 Snow Buntings flew over and not long after my attention was drawn to a Hooded Crow calling and there was the Gyr. It quickly disappeared out of sight but moments later reappeared quite high up heading out towards Haskeir. It soon came lower and in attempting to take some photos soon lost it over the sea so am unable to say if it went far out.
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docwheeler
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Re: Gyr Falcon at Balranald NR

Post by docwheeler » 26 Dec 2015, 21:14

gyrfalcon.jpg
Spotted at Balranald Christmas day.

BrianR
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Re: Gyr Falcon at Balranald NR

Post by BrianR » 27 Dec 2015, 19:04

A great photo. Alastair saw it again today about 12.30 hours some 10 minutes or so after Jamie and myself left Aird an Runair. Earlier while walking around the headland I was somewhat taken aback by hearing a Sandwich Tern calling. In fact there were two that quickly disappeared around the north end. I don't think there are any previous December records for the Outer Hebrides (or in November come to that). Perhaps not that surprising as certainly until recent years at least one or two have wintered around Orkney.

Incidentally perhaps the same Gyr has been seen on Baleshare recently but from the photos appears to be different from Andrew's bird at Ardivachar on the 6th.

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