Wednesday, 6 April 2016

GYR on North Uist

Summer plumage Black Guillemot.

I met up with friends  last Friday night at 10.30pm the 1st April and we then set of on a 13 hour drive to Uig in Scotland .

We heard positive news on Saturday morning at approx 9am that our target bird the Gyr  was still present on North Uist however the earliest ferry across was not until 2pm !!!!

We arrived at the ferry port at Uig in good time and spent sometime checking the area for birds whilst waiting for the ferry , Black Guillemot , Eider & Razorbill showing well from the harbour wall .

Black Guillemot with a crab.

Back at the cars we were chatting with another couple of birders when someone picked out a Golden Eagle being mobbed by a couple of Common Buzzards over the hills .

Time was ticking on and we were all getting anxious about if the Gyr would still be present , we would not get to North Uist until 4pm as the ferry takes 1 hour 45 mins which would give us about 3 hours of day light to see it and there had been no further news since 9am this morning !!!

The ferry back off was at 11am Sunday morning however we did have the option of staying Sunday night if we were not successful , so everything was crossed it would still be there.

GYR at Loch na Reivil.

We eventually reached Lochmaddy port on North Uist and were on our way to Loch na Reivil , after a slight bit of confusion on exactly where the Loch was and  scaring the life out of the locals driving like Lewis Hamilton !!! we eventually reached Loch na Reivil and we were soon watching the Gyr on the fence post .

Wow , wow, wow what a bird , words can't really describe how i felt seeing this magnificent falcon , i have seen plenty of rarer birds in my birding career but this whole experience tops the lot , as you can imagine i took lot's of photos and here are a selected few .

Gyr Falcon.

A truly sensational iconic bird , we watched the Gyr feeding on a Greylag Goose carcass at very close range using the car as a hide , it then flew back to it's favoured post and preened for quite sometime , having watched for over two hours we decided to move on and check out nearby rspb reserve Balranald , we had distant views of the Great White Egret & Whooper Swan plus lots of Barnacle Geese , we also checked out the beach and saw the 1st winter Glaucous Gull which was also distant.

Record shot of the Glaucous Gull.

We then had one more look at the Gyr which was still perched on the fence post and as the light was fading we headed back to our B&B , a celebratory pint at the pub was most welcome although a hot meal would have been better (we missed last food call by 5 mins) never mind : GYR !!!

Sunday morning soon came around and we had enough time to check out Loch na Reivil again but there was no sign of the Gyr this morning however the weather had closed in with torrential rain and quite windy , so we explored some of the island making our way back to Lochmaddy to catch the 11am ferry , we saw a stunning male Hen Harrier , 2 Corn Buntings and back at the harbour we saw a cracking Otter swimming and feeding very well. Other birds of note over the weekend were several Great Northern & Red Throated Divers, Twite plus a White Tailed Eagle.

Great Northern Diver

Otter at Lochmaddy.

The ferry arrived at Lochmaddy and the journey back Uig was pretty uneventful , a hearty breakfast was very well received and the long journey home was ahead of us.