RUBHA A MHAIL

A light­house set­ting that boasts a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent birds

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - JOHN MILES

THIS WAS THE long­est walk taken on a week’s trip to Is­lay. The main goal was the light­house, hop­ing it would be the van­tage point to add rare birds to our week’s list. There were sev­eral high­lights, start­ing with three Roe Deer calves in some­one’s gar­den at first light. Stonechats were ev­ery­where, and cross­ing the river we were gifted with Dip­per, Long-tailed Tit and even a Jay, which is a good bird on the is­land. Twite were found in sev­eral lo­ca­tions and, in spring and sum­mer, I’m sure you could add Wil­low War­bler, Whin­chat, Sky Lark and Meadow Pipit, draw­ing the is­land’s many Hen Har­ri­ers and Merlin to the lo­ca­tion. In the bay we watched a dog Ot­ter for sev­eral min­utes and on our re­turn some­one was pho­tograph­ing the same in­di­vid­ual. Bird­watch­ing does not have to be about num­bers, and some of the sight­ings were amaz­ing them­selves, es­pe­cially the Star­lings – sev­eral dropped onto the antlers of a big stag Red Deer! The light­house has at­tracted flocks of Field­fare and es­pe­cially Red­wings, and a Com­mon Rosefinch must have been a great find for the old cou­ple that live there. I ex­pected Long-eared Owl in the Lodge Pole Pine, but in­stead had a fe­male Sparrowhawk whip through the trees. Chaffinches and Robins were present, with Rock Pipit and sev­eral Her­ring Gulls on the rocks. An­other great mo­ment was when a Great Northern Diver started alarm­ing and a young White-tailed Eagle flew past on its way to Jura. We also had Black Guille­mot and Red-throated Diver.

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