Cuckoo with Attitude! Grenitote, North Uist
Dawn at Balranald woke to the sound of various waders, marking territory or showing off their prowess. And, like every other morning, I stumble around for 45 minutes trying to get my heart started and head off to Aird an Runair to see what's about. Rock Dove, Corn Bunting, Arctic Tern and Little Tern are all busy.
Corn Bunting, Aird an Runair
The sea was quite quiet with just a few Gannets, Fulmar, Great Northern Diver and Arctic Skua for company. A Corncrake was calling from the direction of Loch a Roe, behind the headland.
Something different on the beach though, running amongst the Sanderling and Dunlin was a nice Little Stint.
I decided to go to the Ranges on South Uist, today in search of the reported Dotterel and Crane. Loch nam Feithean had Wigeon, Ruff, Little Grebe, Whooper Swan and Garganey today. I didn't find any Dotterel but did have distant views of the Crane. A large female Peregrine purveyed all from her perch.
One of the Whooper Swan pair at Loch nam Feithean
Lots of waders holding territory here and are particularly bold (or daft) where their territory is concerned.
Common Redshank, Ardivachar
Snipe, Ardivachar, South Uist
Getting tired of Shelduck, Greylags and Eider (tough! they're everywhere). Headed to Sidinish along Loch Euphort to look for Eagles. Didn't see any despite scouring their usual haunts. There was some recompense provided by a flock of 40 Whimbrel, one or two Black Guillemots, Red-breasted Merganser and a female Hen Harrier. I then headed back to Balranald for tea, meeting the Glaucous Gull again.
Hen Harrier, female, Sidinish
Glaucous Gull, Balranald
Time marches on and it was evening before I decided to head along the North of the island to Loch Portain in search of Eagles again. Along the way a Greenshank (not common here apparently) was flushed by the car from Loch Fada Gearrachun. I can't say the same for the belligerent Cuckoo I came across further on. I think he was upset because I was blocking his view of the female across the road. He fixed me with a gimlet eye and gave me what for. At one stage I thought he was coming for me. Drive on.
Not a happy Cuckoo
Definitely not impressed.
Feeling intimidated I drove to the crags at Loch Portain and was rewarded with a pair of Golden Eagles soaring there. Two smaller birds trying to drive the Eagles, and each other off, turned out to be a male Hen Harrier and a Raven.
Golden Eagle, Loch Portain
I decided to push my luck further to see if I could find White-tailed Eagle around the harbour at Lochmaddy. I didn't fancy my chances but a Buzzard call made me look up to see something that appeared to be a barn door soaring overhead. A very fine, adult, White-tailed Eagle. What an end to the day.
Adult White-tailed Eagle, Lochmaddy