Jan 27, 2009

Back for a Glauc.

With the rain abating and the skies clearer yesterday looked a lot more photo friendly than the wet Sunday we had just tramped through. All in all it was the sort of day that just wants to drag you out in to it so you can indulge in a bit of birding. It would have been rude to have resisted!. After a late start and a couple of runs to move boxes to our new house(that’s right we are moving again) I thought I would shoot out to Marwick bay to see if I could manage some snaps of the Glaucous Gulls. Yesterday couldn’t have been more of a contrast with the light breezes and blue skies of the afternoon. There wasn’t a lot to see on the run out just masses of Greylag feeding across the fields. My favourite spot en route is the bird crop at Queena and this had no sign of any life as I passed.
The road down to Marwick is where the Tundra Bean goose has been hanging out, not that I was going to see it to day. It is one thing to sneak about with a car slowing to a stop and winding down the windows, it is another thing o a bike. You don’t get to do a lot of sneaking up on anything on a thousand cc rat bike with an open pipe. Certainly not a field of geese. Sure enough the geese that were there all took to the air from either side of the road rather in the manner of the parting of the red sea!
Fortunately my luck was more in with the Glaucs and a quick scan showed me one feeding on the seal seventy yards north of the burn outfall and sitting on the sea at the far corner of the bay. With the conditions a bit bright for my wee Nikon (I smashed my P5100 last week}I started to approach along the waters edge. Wearing neutral colours I made my first shots from the tang line thinking I would blend in with the colours. All went well as I took a few shots and moved forward continually closing the distance. Every so often the bird would rise to gracefully hover swing round and land to resume feeding. At one point it was off and replaced by a second. Feed and bath seems to be the pattern with these carrion feeders as they find a level between preening their feathers and gorging themselves on the rotting flesh of the unfortunate seal. In the end I was forty yards off and not disturbing the birds when they all took off along with the Widgeon close by on the sea and a horde of noisy Redshanks..bugger. Behind me the crash crash of footsteps coming down the storm shore. An old feller was standing there “ Aye aye mon is that a camera you have there” “what are you photographing” “Oh just those gulls that are disappearing over Marwick head”….mmm biting the tongue we have a wee chat then head in opposite directions. I cant be arsed to withdraw and repeat the whole approach so I call it a day and head of to fight the wife for time on the computer. Below are a few of the better snaps.

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