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Whoopers & a Glaucous Gull

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Whoopers & a Glaucous Gull

Post by MisterT » 31 Mar 2012, 18:35

With the weather set fair, it was time to survey my "local patch" here in Askernish. I expected more golfers than there were but I am glad to say that the lapwing outnumbered them with ease.

They and the oystercatchers were the most visible of birds on the Machair, all trying to look nonchalant but we all know what they are up to at this time of year. There were 104 Golden Plover feeding on the fields with a further 2 flocks totalling 244 flying north. Most of the gulls were following the seaweed spreader, there being 70 common, 6 black-headed and 3 herring gulls. There was a distict lack of passerines apart from a small flock of 7 skylarks keeping low and making their way slowly north.

I heard only 3 singing skylarks, a little down on past years. This may well be due to the fact that a pair of merlin have been hunting here regularly and skylark seem to be easy targets when singing. The lark can lead the merlin a merry dance when there is only one, but when they hunt in pairs, the outcome is a forgone conclusion. I have seen them take 2 skylarks like this recently around the house.

I looked for but did not find any belted beauties or interesting beetles despite inspecting numerous fence posts and sections of drystone walls, but there were good numbers of dung fly. ;)

On Lock Hallan there were 7 shelduck, 36 tufted duck, 24 teal and a smattering of wigeon and mallard. There we also 2 pair of shoveller and 67 whooper swan. I am sure the whooper numbers will increase further before they finally leave.

Walking back along the beach I encountered 92 oystercatcher, 40 sanderling, 35 turnstone and 8 purple sandpiper, there were also 2 great nothern divers just offshore. As I left to head for home a 1st winter glaucous gull drifted past.

I make no appologies for not taking any photographs nor reporting anything rare or exciting. Just great birding in a wonderful place in superb weather!

We are indeed fortunate.

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