Sunday, 10 April 2016

Gyr

We arrived on North Uist knowing that the Gyr hadn't been seen for over a day, seemingly having given up on the Mute Swan carcass. A drive over the island came to a stop when we pulled over to let a car past. I quickly checked out a Wheatear then scanned left onto a distant white blob. GOT IT!! Diving out of the car we got great scope views and although happy, they weren't the views others had had earlier in the week. Staking out the dead swan gave no luck, but a fly through Merlin was a bonus. Corn Bunting and Twite were added to the trip list and heading to find accommodation 3 Short-eared Owl were by the road.

Short-eared Owl
Corn Bunting
Twite
On Friday morning a quick check of the dead swan drew a blank, so we wandered off to Aird An Runair. The Great White Egret was showing distantly on the marsh (how many people have seen GWE and Gyr in the same day in the UK?). No sign of the Gyr, but we did have fly over Peregrine and Iceland Gull. An impressive flock of 150+ Twite were in fields, while a Bonxie battled south past the point and Great Northern Diver were every couple of hundred yards. Large numbers of Barnacle Geese were constantly moving around.

Iceland Gull
Bonxie

Great White Egret
Peregrine
Barnacle Geese
The Gyr was waiting at the swan. Stunning views from the car window as the bird plucked and ate feathers from the swan carcass. The amazing bulk of the bird was most apparent when head-on, showing its massive, wide chest. After an hour it took flight and powered off over the bay. A fantastic bird!

Gyr











Over the moon we head to the north west of the island (passing 4 Mealy Redpoll). Approaching the hills a Golden Eagle flew overhead and another distantly from the watch point, while a female Hen Harrier quartered below us.

Golden Eagle

Hen Harrier
With the weather now turning nasty it was back to Balranald to hunt for the Glaucous Gull, which we found by the dead whale on the beach.

Glaucous Gull

Sadly now a Glauc feast

Saturday morning gave distant views of the Gyr and Great White Egret, more Short-eared Owl, 7 fly over Greenland White-fronted Geese, a Pink-footed Goose and now 2 Glaucous Gull. With the ferry looming we heading to the eagle area, where we managed a very distant White-tailed Eagle and 3 Black Guillemot, but all too distant for photos.

Great Northern Diver

Short-eared Owl


Red Deer

From the ferry a very distant White-tailed Eagle was being hounded by Hooded Crows. While tucking into a chicken curry, the sea view gave loads of auks, a Common Dolphin, 3 Porpoise and amazingly an Otter about 2 miles from land.

Driving over Skye we had an adult White-tailed Eagle mobbed by a Buzzard. Not the best photos as we barely slowed down.

White-tailed Eagle
Stunning scenery as dusk fell and then a most wanted tick in the form of a Pine Marten by the road about 30 miles north of Stirling. Superb!! Four Barn Owl between the Scottish border and home finished the trip off. With great thanks to Chris for driving, this was a fantastic trip.

3 comments:

  1. Wow! What a trip, what a trip list, and what a bird that Gyr is. Meanwhile back in Gateshead . . . .

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    1. Aye, today was a bit of a come down!

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  2. Mint place rob!!! I loved spending time there

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