Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Under the Westerlies

We started the day with a continuing westerly wind which brought occasional showers and some bright intervals, during one of which the Scottish Fisheries Protection vessel Minna passed going south down the Sound of Mull.

The stormy weather - we're heading for our fourth gale in under a week this evening - seems either to have brought back the flocks of redwings which pillaged the rowan berries a few weeks ago, or it's brought a fresh batch down from Scandinavia. They're moving around Ormsaigbeg in large groups which gather rather aimlessly in the tops of trees. There isn't much for them to eat, though some of the hawthorn trees still have a few berries left.

It's pretty miserable weather for our resident raptors, the pair of Ormsaigbeg buzzards which spend half of their time scrapping with the local hoodies and ravens. Someone reported a buzzard taking a hoodie the other day, and event which seems unlikely. It could possibly have been a passing peregrine, though we haven't seen one of them for a long time.

We're seeing plenty of sea eagles at the moment, this a juvenile flying westwards in the direction of Mull. It was flying remarkably low, perhaps because it was battling a strong head wind, and following the Ormsaigbeg road when it saw us. It immediately veered away and gained height to give us a wide berth.

Taking good pictures of birds like this against the current grey skies is a nightmare, as the shutter speeds are low and the bird silhouetted against a marginally brighter sky.

Our bird tables and peanut feeders are crowded, mostly with the usual gang of chaffinches, house sparrows, dunnocks, great tits and blue tits,. The blackbirds are back, and we're also seeing a few goldfinches, but we've also been welcoming some occasional visitors, in the form of....

....this very smart male siskin and a pair of coal tits.

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