Friday, 27 July 2012

Osprey at Esthwaite Water

Short break in Lakes with the family and we were so much hoping to see our first osprey (a pair have nested near Esthwaite this year) Spent 40 mins standing on the shore being eaten by midgies before recognizing that it was just such poor light anyway.

Today we hired a row boat for an hour and with much squealing and panicking of nervous sailors in our midst and much jumping and wriggling from our canine friends on board set forth for new shores.

We spied a couple of birds we thought might be our culprit but on closer inspection they were buzzards with feathers missing from tails and wings making them look different. Suddenly whilst admiring the crested grebes and chicks we saw the Osprey above us. Clear to id with the naked eye, it soared higher and higher though and we lost it in sun glare.

This picture at least shows what it is and has left me desperate to see another on closer.

Thursday, 19 July 2012


Of course no trip to Scotland would be complete for us without Otters!! Thankfully we didn't come away empty handed this time either- though it wasn't up to the bumper crops of the last two trips (11 otters on each trip!!) This time we saw a mere four! One in particular was a really good spot and we spent just short of two hours watching it hunt, eat, play etc.

White Tailed Eagles (Sea Eagles)

We had three very close encounters with these enormous raptors (8 foot wing span!!) A lone adult cruising around high above Loch Na Keal (we were high on the road so got great views) Also by Loch Na Keal we were suddenly aware that right above us a young White Tail was being mobbed by a very brave gull (we later found out that this eagle is probably about 2 years old) Then to our absolute delight and possibly highlight of the holiday was driving back between Bunessan and Fionnophort stopping on road side to look at two adults casually soaring directly above us. We could make out the yellow wing tag on one of them and hear them gently croaking at one another. On the final full day we spent some time peering through the in coming drizzle and mist at two young in the nest (which we could see from the road side) One was clearly flapping its enormous wings and building up strength whilst its sibbling was laying a bit further back in the huge nest. Pictures too shocking to post as it was terrible light and in awful conditions, in reality a bit too far out for lens too. We still couldn't help but fire off a couple of grainy snaps for the memory though ;-)

Short Eared Owls on Mull

We were also chuffed to see so many short eared owls after really going out of our way to find some all winter. We had some amazing days watching 2 adults and a young one hunting around one area high in the hills. The youngster was hiding in the long grasses and making a skshhing noise and at one point just flew out suddenly surprising the socks off us. One day we spotted a lone shorty and pulled over as it landed right in front of us on the road side. I love these owls- the have peirot type eyes and in flight can look sort of fruit bat-ish (think it is the way the wings are shaped and so little tail) Also saw zillions of very noisy buzzards - always lovely to see buzzards! Here's a photo of a buzzard too partly in celebration of the recent U turn of plans for DEFRA to research culling them!!! Phew!

Hen Harriers on Wonderful Isle o' Mull

Just back from 2 weeks camping on Mull at Fidden Farm. We had fantastic weather again and saw everything we hoped to see and more. Will post few snaps over coming days- including: Short eared owls, Gannet Juvenile, Otter and White Tailed eagles. But first .......Hen Harriers. Clearly we have a soft spot for these beautiful, horribly persecuted birds,
as the very last few pairs struggle to stay safe with help of United Utilities in Forest of Bowland. Great to arrive at Fidden Farm, pitch the tent and pour a much needed glass of wine and then look up to see a male hunting on the site. Turned out there was at least one pair there and we saw one and or both virtually daily throughout the two weeks. We also saw Hen Harriers in at least 3 other spots on our travels around the island. We didn't manage to get the dream photograph of them but here are few identification snaps.