Saturday, 11 June 2016

Day 3 - Mull. Day 4 - Portsoy

Day 3 - Mull

Another early start with a drive to Oban to catch the ferry over to Mull. After a quick breakfast in the town, we headed to the harbour to check in and then birded the surrounding area, obtaining cracking views of the resident Black Guillemots (172).

On arrival at Craignure, we immediately headed off to the first of our sites but with deteriorating weather, we weren't too optimistic of actually connecting with any of our target birds for the day. The heavy rain meant that there was unlikely to be too many eagles up and about and nothing was noted at our first stop. Not to be put off, we headed to Gruline where we connected with a previous years bird, Dipper (173) and then on to Loch Na Keal where through torrential rain, we picked out 6 Red Breasted Mergansers (174) and a brief Cuckoo (175). With no sign of the Golden Eagle at the nest site, we managed to get some details of a reliable site for White tailed Eagle further south. We had another failed attempt for Otters, this time at Salen, but managed to pick up Eider (176). We decided to cut our losses and head for the eagles. On arrival, the pair of White tailed Eagles (177), were immediately on view, giving us by far, our best ever views of the species.

White tailed Eagle

Having at last had a bit of success, we then continued it with Rock Dove (178) and several pairs of Wheatears nearby. With no let up in the rain and a long drive once back on the mainland, we decided to cut our losses and managed to get on an early ferry back to Oban.

Day 4 - Portsoy

We decided on one more crack at the Capercaillie site. After no joy to start with, I was lucky enough to have the male Capercaillie (179), explode from the undergrowth almost from beneath our feet, my brother heard the commotion as it took off but didn't manage to get on the bird in time.

After breakfast, we then headed north for one of the main birds of the trip for me at Portsoy. Unfortunately, as seemed to be the story of the trip, luck was not on our side, with a large swell in the bay, there was no sign of any White billed Divers. They were undoubtedly still in the area as they were seen just a few days later! Birds noted from the harbour wall, were our first Sandwich Terns (180), of the year, as well as Great Northern Diver, Red Throated Diver, Great Skua, Gannets and Eider.  

We then headed back towards Aviemore and Loch Mallachie but had little to add to the trip with just a Crested Tit (calling only), Crossbill sp (flyover) and several Siskins.

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