Magical!

The last words of my previous blog entry were an announcement  to the birds that I was ready for them, a challenge that one bird in particular took up!!!

Yesterday was the first day this week that I woke feeling human as at last my migraine cleared up. I decided to catch up on a couple of things, so first  I caught up on the blog and later I began sorting photos that had arrived for our scrap book. Before I got far with the book I got news from Peter about a brilliant bird that had flown in and his suggestion was that we should, “go, go, go!” The only catch was that it was in Yorkshire, what to do that was the question. Quick look on Booking.com meant we found somewhere to spend the night so we grabbed a case with a few essential, got optics and were in the car and off. We knew we would arrive after dark but also that we would be close by to strike early!

So what bird is that I hear you ask? Aha, what is the bird in question? Well it is a Siberian Accentor and it is the first on mainland Britain, the first for the UK was on the Shetland Isles only last week!

Bless Ian for driving as we arrived a couple of hours after sunset and found our place for the night. We received a lovely welcome and arranged a breakfast bag to take with us as we would be out before breakfast. Alarm was set but not needed we were awake and keen to get out. When we arrived at Easington (just a few miles away) it was manic! Cars and birders everywhere! We found a spot and walked to the site where a long queue was waiting for their turns to view the bird. We joined the queue!img_0734-queueThe picture shows a little bit of the queue but can you see the lack of women? Why is birding such a male heavy hobby?

The atmosphere was lovely and everyone co-operated with the system, wait in the queue, get ushered over in turn and after a very short while get moved on! Very funny but we all got to see the bird so no one was complaining and everyone was free to join the queue again if they wished. We didn’t but we did return later in the morning when this is how things looked!

img_0831-queue-no

So on our second visit we were free to enjoy the bird properly! This time I got photos that actually show the bird so we were really delighted to have a second shot. A lovely little bird and we were VERY pleased to have taken Peter’s advice to “go, go, go!” I suspect the weekend will get busy again.

img_0850-siberian-accentor

Apart from seeing the Siberian accentor we haven’t had any birds to add to our year list but we have seen some smashing birds none the less. Between our two trips to Easington we went to Sammy’s Point and it was just the sort of place I love and the still early light added to it.

I was pleased to find a Ring ouzel which was quickly joined by a second one and by the time we moved on there were six!

Whilst at Sammy’s point I have never seen so much bird movement and that really did feel magical! I have never seen so many Goldcrests, warblers, buntings, Robins, winter thrushes and more, it was simply alive. There were of course lots of birders there and everyone was chirpy as all had been and seen the Accentor so for us all any thing else was going to be a bonus. Another treat was to see Woodcock in flight, I am pretty sure I haven’t seen that before. Of course the appearance Wheatears always adds its own magic, today was no exception. We saw a lone Swallow, I don’t suppose we will see many more this year.

We were having such a good time that we decided to return to our B & B, Dunedin Country House, which we had already checked out of, and have a coffee and see if they had a room for us for another night. I am sitting in it now so indeed the answer was yes! We would certainly recomend staying here, they are friendly, welcoming and accomadating.

We couldn’t be so close to Spurn without a visit so we headed there too. I must confess to being uncertain which of the shots are Spurn and which are taken at Sammy’s point (it’s been a long day!)

There had been several reports of birds that would have been ticks for us but unfortunately we couldn’t connect with any of them. None the less we saw some good birds including similar birds to those seen at Sammy’s point, no Ouzels but we did see a  Jack snipe and this lovely Shore Lark. We saw a small group of Shore larks early in the year but got no recognisable photos so I was pleased to get a go today!

We had hoped to see a Pallas’s warbler but no such luck even though there was at least one in the area. Other birds evaded us but we really did have a cracking day. When we went for our second trip to see the Siberian accentor as we walked up the road to it we were delighted to see this Redstart, another bird we had earlier in the year but again no previous shots (as far as I remember!).

Our parting jaunt for the day was a second trip to Sammy’s point, after a short walk Eastward we decided to go Westward instead! This direction took us down a path between the sea and a dyke, plenty of warblers were taking advantage of the reeds! When we were nearly back to the car we saw a Pied flycatcher on the stones by the sea.

Amongst the birds that were reported but only seen briefly, not by us, was a Rose coloured starling in a church yard. I include this photo for one reason and one reason only, the opportunity to tell you about my Star Wars moment. See the picture and then imagine my very best Obi Wan Kenobi voice …”These are not the Starling you are looking for!”

img_0872-starlings

Now for the absolutely last pictures for today, these are to illustrate what I have in common with the bird of the day, the wind really does play havoc with hair/feathers.

So today has been a magical day and having just had a good meal (we missed lunch) we are relaxing ready to see what tomorrow may bring. We are planning to go to Donna Nook and hope some good birds have similar plans!!!

 

 

Late summer visitors

I am sitting enjoying some late summer sunshine and what gorgeous days we have been enjoying. Before I tell you about some visitors that came to stay I would love tell you about last Thursday when Peter and family came to tea. I opened the door and was greeted by Alice and Matilda standing close to each other with cheery smiles upon their faces. As they separated I saw why, there was little Daniel in his school uniform, it was his first week in reception class.img_9200-daniel

All was going well, he was enjoying school and I am certain school will have been enjoying him…long may it last!

I skip now quickly past Friday, (most of which was spent power hosing the garden patio and stones) past Saturday (rain, rain and more rain) too much later Saturday evening when our visitors arrived. My brother and sister-in-law, Alan and Judy. Only time really for some quick catching up before we were all turning in for the night ready for what promised to be sunny Sunday.

The weather forecast did not lie, it was a beautiful day, hot and sunny all day. We had decided to go up to Cley-next-the-sea and we parked in the main car park.img_9283-us-on-east-bankWe walked to the East bank and right along it ending up at the sea. There was no shortage of butterflies, mostly white and Tortoiseshells, also pleanty of hoverflies.

The colours along the way were just beautiful and although there were not a great many birds what we saw we appreciated.

img_9311-colours-of-cley

Back to the visitors centre where we stopped for lunch out on the raised patio still enjoying the beautiful September weather. We decided to head to Blakeney next where we walked along the sea wall, a beautiful Wheatear dropped by.

Not sure what this little building was or is but it certainly is in a smashing location.

img_9347-blackney

By now the heat was telling us it was time to head off, not for home but to Janice and Chris’ for a very welcome BBQ, all in all an excellent day!

Monday morning and we were having a visit from the tree surgeons, as promised they arrived at 8 am and got straight on with the job. A couple of hours later and trees were down or lopped, logs where cut and they were off leaving us with the rest of the day free. Moths and the hot tub called so we were all getting on with what ever we chose. This Speckled bush-cricket was found not in but near to the moth trap.

After an early lunch we headed straight out to Lynford water and the arboretum. We saw butterflies. including this small copper butterfly, dragon and damselflies

and I was particularly pleased with this one that landed on Alan’s hat!

img_9415-banded-demoiselle-femA female demoisel, we have seen lots of the males this year but this was the first female we have been aware of. The real treat of the day was seeing a slow-worm, it was anything butslow as it slithered off the path just in front of us but no chance of a picture.

This morning we set off for Castle acre priory, the first time Alan and Judy had been there and it is fair to say they were impressed. It really is an excellent place, (looked after by English Heritage), there are still plenty of remains to explore.

Also lovely grounds which provide shelter for all sorts of wildlife, including this tortoishell butterfly almost hidden in the dry leaves and this Buzzard out in the open for all to see!

Having just recently started a very small herb garden I love to see the very established one at the priory. img_9543-piroryherb-garden

Whilst looking around it we found several interesting little creatures! These included several garden spiders, a Silver Y moth and a Speckled wood butterfly.

 

But I made my best find whilst looking at the Silver Y, deeper down in the lavender plant I found this little beauty!img_9552-rainbow-leaf-beetle

It is a Chrysolina Americana or a Rosemary leaf beetle which may be a little easy to pronounce and remember! It is about the size of a Ladybird and really is a stunner although I read that it is a pest!

Time to leave the priory and head home for lunch before saying goodbye to Judy. Other comitments mean she must head home but Alan is staying on for another couple of days to see how many more moths we can find him, he has had over 20 new ones so far since he arrived! If we are really fortunate we might even find some birds.img_9513-us-at-castle-acre-priory

When the heat of the day has passed we may head out for a stroll locally and see what is lurking in the churchyard, but for now it is time to realx with a refreshing drink!

 

Farewell to a friend and to July!

I don’t know what stage of life you are at but I can remember passing through various times, when phone calls brought similar types of news from different friends. First they got engaged, then wedding dates were planed and carried through, later came the birth announcements (yes I am old enough that it usually happened that way around!) followed by further births and occasionally sad news of pregnancies that didn’t end happily. But now it is different,  for one things emails or text messages are now the norm, but the sad part is that the news is often far from happy.

One such occasion recently told us first of the illness of our friend Barbara who suffered with Motor neuron disease and just a few weeks ago news of her death. We have known Barbara for over thirty years and we watched her children grow along with out own. Barbara and her husband Bruce moved away from Hertfordshire shortly before we did, they moved to Scotland and we have been fortunate to visit them there. This is Barbara with Bruce and also with me at Grey mare’s tail during our visit in 2014.

So to Scotland again we headed and on Friday morning we decided to re visit the Grey mare’s tail, fortunately nothing had changed.  The river is still flowing, the falls are still falling and the birds are still flying!

We saw ravens flying high above the falls, wheatear and pied wagtails around the river. We enjoyed our walk but the time soon came to leave and head back to get ready for the service to celebrate her life.

We were pleased to have been there and apart from the service where we met with old friends and enjoyed our stay in Moffatt a lovely town, filled with individual shops and eating places, I don’t think I saw any chain stores at all which certainly adds to the character of the place. We stayed in a nice B & B opposite the bowling green with a somewhat better view than our room in Penrith!

Due to my back which was making sleeping and moving very painful we decided to head straight home on Saturday morning and to be honest I was pleased to get home. One bit of excitement on the journey was a brief glimpse of what I am 99% certain was a Bee-eater high on a wire as we drove along the A1M, sadly we couldn’t stop! Thank goodness we saw one earlier in the year or it would have been VERY frustrating indeed.

Back to mothing last night, first time for a while and we added a few for the year. Good to see two nut-tree tussock and a rather smart Lesser broad-banded yellow underwing.

So as well as saying farewell to a good friend we say farewell to July! It has been our quietest, least productive month but we have still had a good time! Birds have been very quiet and we have in fact only added one this month, Spoonbill. Moths and butterflies have been more obliging, thank goodness!

So here are the statistics:

Birds 237, Butterflies 21, Moths 181 macro 42 micro, Dragon/damselflies 12, other insects 22, mammals 20 (n0 change), retiles still to sort  out. So for now we have a total of 535

Here come the lists!

Bird List to end of July     * denotes life tick

  1. Mute Swan
  2. Bewick Swan
  3. Whooper Swan
  4. Pink-footed Goose
  5. White-fronted Goose
  6. Greylag Goose
  7. Canada Goose
  8. Barnacle Goose
  9. Brent Goose
  10. Egyptian Goose
  11. Common Shelduck
  12. Muscovy duck
  13. Mandarin Duck
  14. Eurasian Wigeon
  15. Gadwall
  16. Eurasian Teal
  17. Mallard
  18. Pintail
  19. Garganey
  20. Shoveler
  21. Red-crested Pochard
  22. Common Pochard
  23. Ferruginous Duck *
  24. Tufted duck
  25. Greater Scaup
  26. Common Eider
  27. Long-tailed Duck
  28. Common Scoter
  29. Velvet Scoter
  30. Goldeneye
  31. Smew
  32. Hooded merganser *
  33. Red-breasted Merganser
  34. Red Grouse
  35. Black Grouse
  36. Goosander
  37. Red-legged Partridge
  38. Grey Partridge
  39. Common Pheasant
  40. Golden Pheasant
  41. Little Grebe
  42. Great Crested Grebe
  43. Red-necked Grebe *
  44. Slavonian Grebe
  45. Black-necked Grebe
  46. Fulmar
  47. Manx Shearwater
  48. Gannet
  49. Cormorant
  50. Shag
  51. Bittern
  52. Little Egret
  53. Great Egret
  54. Grey Heron
  55. White Stork
  56. Glossy Ibis
  57. Spoonbill
  58. Red Kite
  59. White-tailed Eagle
  60. Marsh Harrier
  61. Hen Harrier
  62. Pallid Harrier *
  63. Goshawk *
  64. Eurasian Sparrowhawk
  65. Common Buzzard
  66. Rough-legged Buzzard
  67. Golden Eagle
  68. Osprey
  69. Kestrel
  70. Merlin
  71. Hobby
  72. Peregrine Falcon
  73. Water Rail
  74. Corn Crake
  75. Moorhen
  76. Coot
  77. Common Crane
  78. Great bustard *
  79. Oystercatcher
  80. Black-winged Stilt
  81. Pied Avocet
  82. Stone-curlew
  83. Little ringed Plover
  84. Ringed Plover
  85. Dotterel
  86. European Golden Plover
  87. Grey Plover
  88. Lapwing
  89. Great Knot*
  90. Knot
  91. Sanderling
  92. Little Stint
  93. Temminck’s Stint
  94. Curlew Sandpiper
  95. Purple Sandpiper
  96. Dunlin
  97. Broad-billed Sandpiper *
  98. Ruff
  99. Jack Snipe
  100. Common Snipe
  101. Long-billed Dowitcher *
  102. Woodcock
  103. Black-tailed Godwit
  104. Bar-tailed Godwit
  105. Whimbrel
  106. Curlew
  107. Spotted Redshank
  108. Common Redshank
  109. Common Greenshank
  110. Lesser Yellowlegs
  111. Wood Sandpiper
  112. Common Sandpiper
  113. Ruddy Turnstone
  114. Grey Phalarope
  115. Mediterranean Gull
  116. Little Gull
  117. Black-headed Gull
  118. Common Gull
  119. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  120. Herring Gull
  121. Iceland Gull
  122. Glaucous Gull *
  123. Great Black-backed Gull
  124. Kittiwake
  125. Caspian Tern *
  126. Sandwich Tern
  127. Common Tern
  128. Arctic Tern
  129. Common Guillemot
  130. Razorbill
  131. Black Guillemot
  132. Puffin
  133. Rock Pigeon
  134. Stock Pigeon
  135. Wood Pigeon
  136. Collared Dove
  137. Turtle Dove
  138. Rose-ringed Parakeet *
  139. Cuckoo
  140. Barn Owl
  141. Tawny Owl
  142. Short-eared Owl
  143. Common Swift
  144. Common Kingfisher
  145. European Bee-eater *
  146. Hoopoe
  147. Green Woodpecker
  148. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  149. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
  150. Wood Lark
  151. Sky Lark
  152. Shore Lark (horned lark)
  153. Sand Martin
  154. Swallow
  155. Red-rumped Swallow *
  156. House Martin
  157. Tree Pipit
  158. Meadow Pipit
  159. Rock Pipit
  160. Water Pipit
  161. Yellow Wagtail (Grey-headed)
  162. Grey Wagtail
  163. Pied Wagtail
  164. Dipper
  165. Wren
  166. Dunnock
  167. Robin
  168. Common Nightingale *
  169. Bluethroat*
  170. Black Redstart
  171. Common Redstart
  172. Whinchat
  173. Stonechat
  174. Wheatear
  175. Ring Ouzel
  176. Blackbird
  177. Fieldfare
  178. Song Thrush
  179. Redwing
  180. Mistle Thrush
  181. Cetti’s Warbler
  182. Grasshopper Warbler
  183. Sedge Warbler
  184. Eurasian Reed Warbler
  185. Great Reed Warbler*
  186. Dartford Warbler
  187. Lesser Whitethroat
  188. Whitethroat
  189. Blackcap
  190. Wood Warbler
  191. Common Chiffchaff
  192. Willow Warbler
  193. Goldcrest
  194. Firecrest
  195. Spotted Flycatcher
  196. Red-breasted Flycatcher
  197. Pied Flycatcher
  198. Bearded Tit
  199. Long-tailed Tit
  200. Marsh Tit
  201. Willow Tit
  202. Crested Tit *
  203. Coal Tit
  204. Blue Tit
  205. Great Tit
  206. Nuthatch
  207. Treecreeper
  208. Penduline tit *
  209. Great Grey Shrike
  210. Jay
  211. Magpie
  212. Jackdaw
  213. Rook
  214. Crow
  215. Hooded Crow
  216. Common Raven
  217. Starling
  218. House Sparrow
  219. Tree Sparrow
  220. Chaffinch
  221. Brambling
  222. Serin *
  223. Greenfinch
  224. Goldfinch
  225. Siskin
  226. Linnet
  227. Twite
  228. Lesser Redpoll
  229. Mealy Redpoll
  230. Bullfinch
  231. Hawfinch
  232. Lapland Longspur
  233. Snow Bunting
  234. Yellowhammer
  235. Cirl Bunting
  236. Reed Bunting
  237. Corn Bunting

Butterflies to end of July

Red admiral

Brimstone

Peacock

Small tortoiseshell

Speckled wood

Green-vein white

Orange tip

Small white

Holly blue

Small copper

Small heath

Dark green fritillary

Common blue

Small pearl-bordered fritillary

Green hairstreak

Painted lady

Ringlet

Large skipper

Large white

Gatekeeper

Small skipper

 

 

Moths (macro) alphabetised

 

Angle shades

Barred straw

Barred yellow

Beautiful golden Y

Beautiful hook-tip

Blackneck

Blood-vein

Bordered beauty

Bordered pug

Bright-line brown-eye

Brimstone

Brindled beauty

Brindled pug

Brown rustic

Brown-line bright-eye

Buff arches                                  

Buff ermine

Buff tip

Burnished brass

Cabbage moth

Canary-shouldered thorn

Chinese character

Cinnabar

Clay

Clouded border

Clouded drab

Clouded silver

Clouded-bordered brindle

Common carpet

Common emerald

Common footman

Common pug

Common Quaker

Common rustic

Common swift

Common wave

Common wainscot

Coronet

Coxcomb prominent

Currant pug

Dark arches

Dark spinach

Dark/grey dagger

Dingy footman

Dot moth

Dotted chestnut

Double square spot

Double-striped pug

Drinker

Dun-bar

Dusky brocade

Dusky sallow

Early grey

Early moth

Early thorn

Early toothed-stripe

Elephant hawkmoth

Emperor moth

Engrailed

Eyed hawkmoth

Fan-foot

Flame shoulder

Four-dotted footman

Foxglove pug

Frosted green

Garden carpet

Garden tiger

Ghost moth

Great prominent

Green carpet

Green pug

Green silver-lines

Grey pine carpet

Heart and club

Heart and dart

Hebrew character

Herald

Hummingbird hawkmoth

Iron prominent

July highflyer

Large nutmeg

Large yellow underwing

Least black arches

Least carpet

Leopard moth

Lesser cream wave

Lesser broad-bordered yellow underwing

Lesser yellow underwing

Light arches

Light brocade

Light emerald

Lilac beauty

Lime hawkmoth

Lobster moth

Lychnis

Map-winged swift

Marbled brown

Marbled brown

Marbled minor

March moth

Mottled beauty

Mottled pug

Mottled rustic

Mottled umber

Mouse moth

Muslin

Nut-tree tussock

Oak beauty

Orange footman

Pale brindle beauty

Pale mottled willow

Pale prominent

Pale tussock

Pale-shouldered brocade

Peach blossom

Peppered moth

Pine hawkmoth

Plain golden Y

Poplar grey

Poplar hawkmoth

Powdered Quaker

Purple bar

Red twin-spot carpet

Riband wave

Rosy footman

Ruby tiger

Rustic shoulder-knot

Scalloped oak

Scarce footman

Scorched wing

Setaceous Hebrew character

Shears

Short-cloaked moth

Shoulder stripe

Shoulder-striped wainscot

Shuttle-shaped dart

Silver Y

Silver-ground carpet

Single-dotted wave

Slender brindle

Small angle shades

Small blood-vein

Small brindled beauty

Small dusty wave

Small fan-foot

Small fan-footed wave

Small Quaker

Small rivulet

Small square-spot

Small yellow wave

Smoky wainscot

Snout

Spectacle

Spinach

Spruce carpet

Straw dot

Streamer

Swallow prominent

Swallow-tailed moth

The flame

Treble bar

Treble lines

Triple-spotted pug

Uncertain

V moth

Vapourer

Varied coronet

Vine’s rustic

Waved umber

White ermine

White satin moth

White-point

Winter moth

Yellow shell

Yellow-tail

Micro moths to end of July 2016

 

  1. Barred marble (Celypha striana)
  2. Beautiful china-mark ( Nymphula nitdulata )
  3. Bee moth ( Aphomia sociella)
  4. Bird-cherry ermine ( Yponomeuta evonymella )
  5. Brown china-mark ( Elophila nymphaeata)
  6. Brown house moth   (Hofmannophila pseudospretella)
  7. Chequered grass veneer ( Catopria falsella )
  8. Common drill ( Dichrorampha petiverella )
  9. Common grey (Scoparia ambiguallis)
  10. Common marble ( Celypha lacunana )
  11. Common plume ( Emmelina monodactyla)
  12. Cyclamen tortrix ( Clepsis spectrana )
  13. Dawn flat-body (Semioscopis steinkellneriana)
  14. Diamond- back moth   (Plutella xylostella)
  15. Double striped tabby ( Hypsopygia glaucinalis )
  16. Elder pearl (Anania coronate)
  17. Fenland pearl (Anania perlucidalis)
  18. Garden grass-veneer   (Chrysoteuchia culmella)
  19. Garden pebble (Evergestis forficalis)
  20. Garden rose tortrix ( Acleris variegana )
  21. Gold triangle ( Hypsopygia costalis )
  22. Grass-veneer (Crambus pascuella)
  23. Large fruit-tree tortrix ( Archips podana)
  24. Large Ivy Tortrix   (Lozotaenia forsterana)
  25. Large tabby ( Aglossa pinguinalis)
  26. Little grey (Eudonia lacustrara)
  27. London dowd ( Blastobasis lacticolella)
  28. Many plumed moth (Aluctia hexadactyla)
  29. Marbled orchard tortrix (Hedya nubiferana)
  30. Mother of pearl ( Pleuroptya ruralis )
  31. Privet tortrix (Clepsis consimilana)
  32. Red-barred tortrix ( Ditula angustiorana )
  33. Rough-winged conch   (Phtheochroa rugosana)
  34. Rose tabby ( Endotricha flammealis )
  35. Small grey ( Eudonia mercurella )
  36. Small magpie (Anania hortulata)
  37. Sulphur Tubic ( Esperia sulphurella)
  38. Triple-blotched bell (Notocelia trimaculana)
  39. White shouldered house moth ( Endrosis sarcitrella)
  40. White-headed Ermel (Paraswammerdamia alibicapitella)
  41. Yellow-faced bell (Notocella cynosbatella)
  42. Yellow-spot tortrix (Pseudargyotoza conwagana) Dragon fliesGolden banded dragonfly

    Keeled skimmer

    Migrant hawker

    Black-winged skimmer

    Scarce chaser

    Common darter

    Broad-bodied chaser

     

    Damselflies

    Azure damselfly

    Large red damselfly

    Small red damselfly

    Blue-tailed damselfly

    Banded demoiselle

     

    Insects and other bits and bobs!

    1. Wasp
    2. Ladybird 7 spot
    3. Ladybird harlequin
    4. Lacewing green
    5. Lacewing brown
    6. Bloody nosed beetle
    7. Bumble bee
    8. Honey bee
    9. Snail
    10. Slug
    11. Wood ants
    12. Mining bees
    13. Froghopper
    14. Hawthorn shield bug
    15. two banded longhorn beetle
    16. Poplar leaf beetle
    17. Wolf spider
    18. Green dock beetle
    19. Green leafhopper
    20. Bee fly
    21. Green sawfly
    22. Dark bush-cricket

     

    Mammal list

    1. Rabbit.
    2. Stoat
    3. Hare
    4. Grey squirrel
    5. Common seal
    6. Roe deer
    7. Red deer
    8. Muntjak deer
    9. Sperm whale
    10. Grey seal
    11. Otter
    12. Weasel
    13. Bank vole
    14. Fallow deer
    15. Red squirrel
    16. Pine marten
    17. Beaver
    18. Daubenton’s bat
    19. Common pipistrelle
    20. Water vole

Tomorrow I hope to see a doctor and get some help with my back, if as I expect the answer is wait for it to get better at least I may get some pain relief. We really need to get on with things in August as July was a slack month, today an excellent bird has flown in to Minsmere, a Western Purple Swamphen! Now to be honest I have never heard of that let alone seen one!!! I hope it stays a while and we can add that, sounds cool I reckon! Wish me luck for August please and thank you for sticking with us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Off to Iona

A quick look over Loch Don first thing showed the Sandpiper just by our cottage so I couldn’t resist a couple more shots in the beautiful early light.

The plan was made last night, today we were off to Iona and we planned to catch the 9.55 ferry, did we? We did not!

Was it because we were late up or slow to get ready? No! Maybe there was a traffic jam? No! The truth of the mater is I saw two chaps pulled up at the side of the road looking up at the cliffs. Window down I asked if they were watching an eagle or hoping to. They replied that no hope was needed they were watching two Golden eagles! So we pulled off the road(not easy to do on Mull) and looked up, there they were high on the cliff top. Just then a rain shower arrived! As you will see form the one picture I put here photographing them was a lost cause but even with the naked eye they could be see. IMG_2938 golden eagle

On to Fionnphort and we caught the next ferry over to Iona and there was no more sign of rain although it was, as forecast, a little  cooler today. We hoped to see or at least hear the Corncrake which Iona is famous for. We tried first behind the fire station which can be a lucky place for them but not today.

We walked back past the jetty and had a good walk beyond the abbey (we didn’t visit it this time) up to the north coast of the island. On the way we saw a pair of my favourite bird, Wheatear. The male was in such tip-top condition that I had to look twice to make sure that was what they were!

We arrived at the beach where some frolicked, all at lunch and one dug in the sand, guess who that was!IMG_5563 sprocket

The coast line is beautiful and I loved the colours in the rocks.

Roo has just sent me this picture, of course we knew she was taking one with the aid of the time delay but hadn’t realised the clever set up!image

There were plenty of sheep on Iona and they had plenty of lambs. We have seen this breed around the island and are rather taken with them.

On the way to the beach we, of course, visited the local shops mostly selling crafts. We saw lots of nice things but largely resisted temptation. We also stopped for coffee were this little Robin made me think of home, hope you like him Alice. The old kitchen machinery was in the garden there.

On our walk, there and back we did not hear one call from the Corncrake, bother we had really hoped to get them today. With not too much time till we were planning to return to Mull we heard the unmistakable Corncrake call over and over again. We stood watching, knowing we must be very near to it/them but they didn’t show. Never mind that is typical of the crake so we were satisfied to have heard it. We could catch the ferry happy!

It is quite a drive across Mull back to our cottage and on the way we saw another eagle flying, beautiful. When we reached the spot where we had seen the eagles earlier this morning there were several cars there so I guess the word was out!

We are now back in our cottage listening to rain falling but as Roo has been busy in the kitchen and I can smell chilli so I am happy to go nowhere else tonight!

The Corn crake brought our bird count to 230, very happy with that.