There have been good high tides again this month, so there were spells in the estuary hide watching the tide bring in lovely coloured Black Tailed Godwits, Oystercatchers, Redshanks, Lapwings and Shelducks.
Well, spring migration is certainly well under way now – walking by the Tay in Perth we’ve now seen Willow, Sedge and Grasshopper Warblers, Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff.
This dry spell has meant our pond in the woodland has been popular with Jays, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and a Stock Dove visiting as well as the regular Great Spotted Woodpeckers.
Our local Hawfinches are usually only seen in the treetops, but the recent dry weather has meant they have been attracted to puddles to drink, so a photo opportunity was available as you can see. The male is carrying fine rootlets for the completion of the nest. Photographing Hawfinches locally is a bit of a Holy Grail so it is not easy to say how joyful it has been to get a result after so long trying.
Just before we left for Islay we found a local Long-tailed Tit's nest by accident. We happened on the bird collecting feathers. Its an odd mixture of the cute and comical. They are quite confiding so we were able to observe the bird from fairly close with relatively huge feathers disappearing into the tight bush as well as getting the shot.
This evening we returned in the hope that the site was active; predation of Long-tailed tit's nests is quite common. However, just on dusk a bird appeared in the opposite hedging. I say appeared but in fact we mostly heard it. After a short time it entered the nest giving us a very satisfactory end to our walk.
A week spent in Islay. Islay is my favourite Hebridean Island and this the best time (late March/Early April) . The skies are full of Barnacle and White-fronted geese (pic), certainly if you drive close. The Barnacles prefer the salt-marsh and the barer fields and the Whitefronts prefer the rushy marshy areas but they can be found together. The unique sound of the Chough is regular on the west side.
On this trip we also ventured into Jura. It was very windy but we still caught sight of two Hen Harriers that had eluded us on Islay this visit.
Islay does not have a great mammal list but there are plenty of Seals, Red and Roe Deer and Brown Hares. The Hares wake up in late afternoon and become active throughout the night. This one washed his face as we watched from the car.