Friday, 18 March 2016

Small Birds

Stopping to take a photograph of this very smart song thrush on the lighthouse road between Grigadale Farm and the caravan site led to our noticing two other small birds in the same thicket.... of them this male stonechat in his full mating plumage. He and another male were vying for the attentions of a much plainer female.

In the same thicket we saw this male reed bunting. Why this spot should be so attractive to small birds is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps it is that the land around it is diverse. On one side there is open moorland, on the other the narrow and rocky glen of the Allt Grigadale.

Male reed buntings look a little like cock house sparrows, but the females of the two species are very similar. After a few years when the local house sparrow population seemed to plummet, they seem to have done fairly well this winter.

The grey and the yellow wagtail are also very similar, but this one, seen in the croft land at the back of Ormsaigbeg, looks like a grey; one of their characteristics is a very long tail. It's a migrant, moving down to England for the winter. The more common pied wagtails have been back here for a couple of weeks now.

The birds are pairing up for the breeding season, and the countryside is alive with their song. These two cormorants were engrossed in each other while swimming around Kilchoan Bay, where....

....they were joined by other divers and ducks. Most of the ducks seem to be wigeon along with some mallard. The bay has in the past been used for breeding by shelduck and eider but recently we haven't been seeing them as often.

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