Saturday, 2 January 2016

Goldeneye and Other Birds

This goldeneye, the first we've seen here, was spotted yesterday on Lochan na Cranaig on the Portuairk road. He was paddling around looking very lonely, as if he really wasn't sure how he'd found his way to such a remote spot.

Goldeneye populations vary from a few hundred breeding pairs in summer through to 20,000 visitors in winter, coming from northern and central Europe (BTO site here).

Back in November the Diary carried a distant view of a diver - here - swimming on Lochan nan Al by the shop. Correspondent David identified it as a female red-breasted merganser. Here's a better picture of what may be the same bird swimming on Kilchoan Bay on an unusually calm day.

We cannot recall having seen as many eagles as we have in the last few weeks. This pair of golden eagles was wheeling above Ormsaigbeg yesterday, but we've also had almost a daily fly-by by at least one sea eagle.

Closer to home, after a long absence, we were thrilled to see a pair of siskins back on our peanut feeders. This picture, taken yesterday, shows the male. A few months ago he wouldn't have tolerated a chaffinch feeding from the same plate, but the competition is now so fierce that he cannot afford to be fussy.

We last saw the male blackcap two days before Christmas. The female has stayed, and has the huge advantage over the other birds that, set up as they are, the two sultana feeders are now inaccessible except to her and the occasional bluetit, so she has her own, private food supply. She also eats peanuts, and is quite willing to fight for a place on those feeders. She has also been seen at the seed trays. We mourn her partner, and hope he wasn't eaten by the sparrowhawk, which is currently very active.

1 comment:

  1. Heartened to see the appropriate use of A2 stainless steel hex head machine screws on the galvanised feeder clamp in your coastal environment. The Fort William ironmongers must do a good trade in netting and fasteners when you visit.