Leaping out of bed like a leopard, all excited about the first day in the field this morning, I was disappointed to see the inclement weather front set in. I had of course been going for a quick swim in the Loch before breakfast but had to cancel that plan, ha! After muesli for me and porridge for Neil (he likes to get into the whole ‘Scottish’ thing!) we set off for the first vantage point survey.
Once there though it was obvious the only thing that would be surveyed from there for some time would be mist and rain, so we went to one at Kilmory instead. I got into position, chair, telescope, rucksack full of nosh, all sorted, and Neil went off to look for red-throated divers.
I settled down and scoped my 180o survey area, not a bird to be seen. Behind me were two spindly birch trees, left by the loggers in this recently felled area. In front was a vast expanse of spruce trees, brash and new self-sown saplings. Good habitat but the birds did not want to be in any of that did they. No of course not, the only birds in fact that seemed to be left on earth today all wanted to be in those two trees behind me, not really in my survey area. Should I move the chair, just to have something to count? That would be terribly irresponsible though, and the vantage point was where it was, nailed down by GIS and not to be fiddled with. Anyhow it soon became apparent that after alighting on the tree they would soon fly overhead too. So I got to hear them, then see them fly over my head to see if they were what I thought they were, which of course they were because I am just soooo good (and I peeped anyway!)
I rang the Communicare thingy on my new work phone which kept going ‘Beep’. These were office emails and I must get used to being ‘in the office’ even when I am not! One beep was on my phone, from Steve Haynes back home to tell me he had picked up a dead gannet. I convinced him to get it in the freezer before it went whiffy, and I would stuff it next month when I got home. It will look good on the bar at Church End Brewery that. A strange episode this might seem to some, but all in a day’s work for a birder!
Of the birds themselves I saw ravens, hooded crows, lots of lesser redpolls, the males resplendent in bright pink bibs, a solitary siskin, and some buzzards braving the blustery heights. I saw some interesting other fauna as well, a scorpion fly landed right on my telescope case, and a common lizard came out to bask on a bit of bark to my right. He was quite the prima donna and posed for a quick snapshot, and even allowed me to tickle his tail! The day remained overcast but hopefully tomorrow it will be fine and sunny and the skies filled with golden eagles, that would certainly tickle my tail too! :D