Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Kilchoan Marshes

Kilchoan's sandy beaches are little known, partly because they're on the east side of the Millburn, below the marshland, and only exposed at low tide - and, therefore, a little difficult to access. But they're a wonderful place to wander on a bright winter's morning when the tide is very low, particularly if you're interested in birds.

This morning's sightings started in the Millburn itself where a bobbing bird - momentarily mistaken for the dipper that's often there - turned out to be a grey wagtail. It's my first sighting of a wagtail this year.

A little further along a pontoon has been stranded following Monday's high winds. It's usually anchored off the far side of Kilchoan Bay and is used by the local creel fishermen to store their equipment when they keep their boats in the bay through the summer.

What one finds isn't always pretty. This ewe was lying on one of the peaty hummocks that are only flooded at spring high tides. She looked as if she had been perfectly healthy specimen but now, as so often happens, the ravens have been quick to move in and their favourite morsels are the poor beast's eyes.

All the usual coastal birds are there to be watched, curlew, several gull species, ducks, geese, some smaller waders, and the ever-cheerful oystercatchers, but....

....the highlight of the morning was this lone pair of red-breasted mergansers.

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