Thursday, 13 March 2014

Dip and Tick in Scotland

Day one 10th March

2 Snow Geese among 179 Greenland White Fronted Geese.

I teamed up with David and Lee  on Sunday evening for a 2 day trip to Scotland and our main target bird was the American Herring Gull which would have been a lifer for both David and myself and a year tick for Lee , well to cut a long story short we dipped the AHG which appeared the very next day which is rather frustrating , however that's birding sometimes you win and sometimes you dip.

However the trip itself was very good with some other top birds seen including 2 Snow Geese which were a lifer for me , they were among a flock of 179 Greenland White Fronted Geese .

White & Blue morph Snow Geese.

This was the most Greenland WF Geese i have seen together and over the day and half we spent in Campbeltown we saw a total of 1600 birds which was an  incredible sight.
We spent all day on Monday 10th checking through gull flocks in various flooded areas, we did see a 2nd year Iceland Gull which was great to see , we ended the day checking the gulls coming into roost in the harbour and hoping the AHG would appear on its favoured bouy , sadly this didn't happen although we did score with two 2w  Iceland Gulls,  then Lee suggested we check out the gull roost at the far side of the harbour near the harbour mouth and although they were very distant we went through this gull roost very carefully and apart from a juv. Iceland Gull bringing our total to 3 birds we didn't see the AHG.

Rock Pipit .

Other birds around the harbour included this confiding Rock Pipit plus good numbers of Black Guillemot in summer plumage.

Black Guillemot.

And in flight.

There were great numbers of Eider plus David picked out a distant Great Northern Diver we also saw a close Hooded Crow.

Hooded Crow.

Day two 11th March 

After spending the night in a very comfortable B&B we started the day more or less as yesterday checking the harbour and various flooded fields but still no luck with the target bird however we got decent views of this Iceland Gull.

2w Iceland Gull

We only had til approx half 10 to try and find the AHG before we had to leave the area and sadly we never connected and set of for other target birds , our first port of call was Loch Caolisport for the ad winter Bonapartes Gull  these are really smart dainty birds and although this bird was fairly distant i managed 1 or 2 record shots.

Note grey nape.

Pink legs quite obvious in this photo.

There were several Common Buzzards in the area plus we also heard a Tawny Owl calling from a nearby wood . From here we headed of to Strontain in the search of a long staying Black Duck which would be a lifer for David , we duly arrived after a short ferry crossing and  after quite some searching Lee re found the bird and we enjoyed some great views .

Black Duck.

Paired up with a female Mallard.

Sadly time had caught up with us and we had to start our long journey back home however we did get some great close views of Red Deer on route.

Red Deer.

Another Red Deer.

And that concludes my short trip to Scotland , just like to thank David and Lee for their company on this great trip.