Aug 20, 2012

Out west

Out for a quick spin this afternoon first off to the Shunan where a couple of Bartailed godwits stalked about the muddy edges of the island. The whole shore line was fringed with cast feathers that looks like snow in the distance. A Greenshank flew up and over towards Finstown calling. It took a swing to the right and came down about hands with the burn at Bosquoy. The last bird I see as I an about to pull away are three waders, they dive down to the loch but turn and carry on. By now there are four, following with the bins I see they are Dunlin and hear there high piched calls as they to head to Bosquoy. I now head over to Bosquoy my self, thats left on the road and first right. The first thing I see turning in off the main road is a dead bird, A look and I see it is a short eared owl, this is yet another road casualty. They may be here in good numbers this year but the other side of the coin has been some severe attrition on the roads.

Bosquoy its self held nothing unusual, the big greeb flock was there and good flocks of Curlew and Lapwing came in whilst I scoped about. Moving on from there I hit the Loch of banks hide I hadn’t been here for ages and there was a certain air of dereliction starting to settle about the place, There was bugger all to see either as the meadowsweet had grown so much you cant see any water. A spin on from there saw me looking over the loons from the view point, this to was to prove fruitless with no birds at all on any of the muddy pools and the loch side to lost in the haze and glare of the sun. With little to be gained from waiting about I head down the west coast to enjoy the ride to Skaill. Stopping at the north end of the bay the tide is just high enough to stop dog walkers from approaching the last third of the bay. This portion of the shore is absolutely teeming with birds it seems every where you look there are more. The waters edge is dominated by Dunlin ,Sanderling and Ringed plover rushing back and forth, the rocky shore has Turnstones in all states of moult, Redshanks well close in interspersed with Knot. The Knot range from red to grey. Along with hundreds of starlings on the strand line are several family’s of pied wags and a few Wheatears, one a strikingly even colour of brown. Amongst a group of gulls and Oystercatchers a rather striking Blacktailed godwit is probing away. Seeing this it leads me to see another and another till there are ten in all, They are an exellent sight in their breeding plumage. Carefully looking through every thing I dont see anything out of the usual not that you can take such a massive gathering as usual tho. I was counting Sanderling and got in to nearly a hundred before a couple of Bonxies put the whole beach in to the air. When I lost count I was less than half way through!! All in all it made for an entertaining hours watching and a nice relaxed ride home!

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