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Divers, Auks and Otter(s)

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Old Wednesday 2nd November 2005, 17:09   #1
Stewart J.
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Divers, Auks and Otter(s)

Yo all, had the good fortune to be working out of Kyle of Lochalsh the last 2 weeks in October with access to a car. Never having been to the Isle of Skye I did a bit of touring and on the 19/10 discovered the stretch of coast at the south east end of the Island from Ord to Tarskavaig. The latter looked interesting so I parked up at a roadside vantage point.

It was 16.40hrs, cloudy & dull with light airs and the sea was like glass. 2 largish divers (loons) caught my eye and in scope proved to be Great-northern, both still in partial breeding plumage, one still had full black head. Checked around and counted 5 and 2 Red-throated, several Great Crested Grebes, Red-breasted Mergansers, some small groups of Common Guilemots and 5 single winter plumaged Black Guilemots.

As I scoped the divers a vee shaped wake passed behind, an Otter on a mission, it swam around the headland and was lost to sight. Light rather poor by this time so vowed to come back, Great-northerns do not appear on my year list that often especially in this plumage.

Visited again on the 22/10 arriving at 13.45hrs, 4/8 cloud, occasional sunny spells, light NW breeze (cold) parked up on the sea shore at Achnachloich and walked the pebbly beach around Tarskavaig Bay. Within minutes located 2 Great-northerns one still with a lot of breeding plumage.

As I sat spied an Otter, just offshore no more than 150 metres away. That was it, spent next 90 minutes watching it off and on. It brought up both crabs and fish and provided wonderful if gory views as it ate. First for me seeing them actually feeding while swimming and turning on its back to do so. It emerged once onto weed covered rocks and preened for a while, heard it call (another first in the field) but not sure if it was answered.

While watching all this a resplendant male Goosander flew down onto the sea and seemed to display at a group of Red-breasted Mergansers females/imms for a few minutes then flew back inland, odd!!

Others birds included Ravens foraging with Hoodies amongst seaweed on beach (interesting to be able to compare their jizz and size side by side), Common and Black Guilemots, 2 Razorbills plus all the commoner stuff including a beachcombing? Buzzard. 2 picture book Twite rounded the day off nicely.

As a an old and very close pal used to say "thats what birdings all about"

Sorry to any locals if I've let your secret site out of the bag.


Last edited by Stewart J. : Wednesday 2nd November 2005 at 20:33.
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Old Friday 4th November 2005, 06:27   #2
lark o'dell
today the local patch tommrow the world
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sounds like a good place to go might try it sometime
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