Ayrshire and Galloway with John

Ailsa Craig from Turnberry Point - behind me the famous 9th tee! If I was there in July I'd be facing this way looking at the flocks of seabirds passing close offshore than watching grown men cry as they battle the elements trying to put a small white ball in a hole!

Wow! What a day. John ("The councillor") Wright came up to meet me at Girvan last night in order that we could spend a day's birding along this wonderful coast. First stop was Maidens where we had all the regular crowd including plenty of Red-breasted Merganser and the regular seven Pale-bellied Brent Geese. A Great Northern Diver was developing its full summer plumage and the odd Razorbill flew past. There was a southerly movement of Crows, rather oddly; one was a few miles offshore and was attacked by a Bonxie. We picked up a few distant Manxies as well as the much closer Gannets and Fulmar.We then headed to Turnberry bay and immediately found several Black-throated Divers in the surf (John watching these avidly above). We watched these for some time as they got closer and closer. One was in full summer plumage.
We got to the head of the beach near the ligthouse and found at least five migrant White Wagtails as well as several Purple Sandpipers accompanied by turnstones out on the rocks. Sandwich Terns were fishing offshore giving their raucous calls - with the sun on my face I shut my eyes and listened, it felt like summer!
It was then off to Lendalfoot to check through the gulls; unfortunately we couldn't find any rare ones in amongst the massed ranks of Herring Gulls but there were two more Great Northern's.

Next it was Loch Ryan. We stopped at various viewpoints around the loch and saw lots of Red-throated Divers, five Slavonian Grebes in full summer plumage, five Long-tailed Ducks (in Wig Bay), the large flock of Greater Scaup, FOUR Iceland Gulls, and lots more common stuff. Having spent three hours enjoying the delights od the area, we paid a brief visit to West Freugh where we got five Balck-tailed Godwits and a significant flock of Pink-footed Geese.
Finally we got to the Wigtown area where there were plenty of Geese on show - Pink-footed and Barnacle as well as a copulating pair of Ospreys. A fantastic end to a wonderful day's birding with the only blot on the day being the potential White-billed diver reported from Turnberry late in the day and Rovers pathetic performance at Liverpool!
The following day, we paid an early visit to Turnberry again where we had the fourteen Black-throats, several re-throats and two distant Great-northern Divers - no White-billed though. From here we paid a visit to Martenham Loch and once we found the secret access point, managed to get a view of the female Ring-necked Duck that had been there all winter paired up with a Pochard (oh dear - more fun and games next winter!)
Anyway, here are the Black-throated Divers in their synchronised diving formation. I saw these a couple of days later down at Dipple.


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