Sunday, 21 July 2013

Bangor bird club

A bit of Success for Harriers just above the borders with two pairs producing ten chicks this season...
http://raptorpolitics.org.uk/2013/07/11/hen-harrier-success-at-langholme/

BT Divers getting help from artificial nest rafts built by conservationists...
http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/Black-throated-diver013.html

BT Diver confirmed shot by Scottish Loch...

Fieldwork is getting harder at this hectic time of year as I am flat out with boat excursions so difficult to find free time. The abundant midges also restrict your stakeouts to shorter periods as I hope for calm winds for the days boat trip but am preying for a bit of breeze on the evenings to keep the Scottish Midge 'smidgees' at bay. 

I haven't been doing much photography recently with the main focus being wild flower ID work on my camera phone. I managed to get a few cetacean shots on recent SLS trips which can be seen below...


Common Dolphins approaching Sula Beag

After a 7-10 day spell of strong winds and moist weather a very welcome high pressure came on the week beginning 8th July. It was wonderful to have my Uncle Alistair and Cousins Becky and Zoe up for a couple of days as they timed it just right with the weather to come on board the Whalewatch on the Monday and be involved with a great trip consisting of 5-6 Minke whales and two separate groups of Common Dolphins.



Mirror calm sea creating reflections, good for photography

On the Tuesday it was another Whalewatch with a great sea state has we headed out. Great to have Danny here for a couple of weeks helping as crew on board. Minke whales could be seen along way off with a couple of animals breaking the skyline on the horizon. The forecast fog closed in on us in the afternoon and visibility dropped to 200 yards at one point. The sounds of fog horns could be heard around us from moving vessels. 





Breaching Dolphins with the Cairns of Coll in the back drop

Wednesday was short trips and solid fog making it very difficult to see any species. The highlight was 5 minutes in when we saw a fogbow which is very fine water droplets which are too weak to display a colour spectrum, sometimes the red can be seen on the outer edge as was the case with this display.



Eye contact...

Thursday was another of those memorable trips with sun, calm seas and an abundance of wildlife including 7-8 Minke whales, Common Dolphins, Eagles, Porpoise, Stormies and an island landing on Coll. A familiar whale was seen again now called 'Wrinkle' which has been seen in the same grounds on three occasions. The whale has distinctive wrinkly marks on the left side of the animal with his/her right flank still needing a photo ID record.



Wrinkle is a whale with wrinkly streaks on his/her left side and has been seen at
least 3 times this season...photo courtesy of Ruth Molloy

Minke whale surfacing off Coll


Strong belts of fog rolling into the sea...


Fog bow...water droplets are so small so weak colour spectrum, often just displaying white

Saturday was another whalewatch and we headed north with Lewy on the helm. The skipper saw a Minke off Ardnamurchan but no one else picked it up so we carried on round the peninsula. We landed for Lunch on the isle of Muck and were greeted by the new legendary Herring Gull called Steve! He is very arrogant and lands on the boat on arrival and is very comfortable around people. He has a partner called Sandra who sits at a distance as she is quite timid and shy. Watch out for a Steve the Herring Gull Facebook page coming soon...

In the second half we made passage over the grounds of the reported minke sighting in the morning and presumably the same animal surfaced right next to Sula Beag giving everyone on board a fright! Good Golden Eagle action was another highlight on the trip.



Andy Tait filming Steve...

There was a queue at the Muck tea room...Three highland ponies fancying a bit
 of carrot cake


Tobermory at Dawn...
Thanks for looking...

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