Another Richardson's Canada Goose?

Our final day on Islay started early for me as I headed down to Loch Gruniart for dawn. A Tawny Owl greeted me as I pulled into the car park and on the short stroll to the watchpoint, a woodcock flew over. I could hear plenty of geese and in the first glimmers of light on this cloudier morning, I could make out the large flocks below me.

Around 7:30, geese started to depart in small flocks, mainly the White-fronts but at 8, the remaining Barnacle Geese all took off as one - a splendid sight and sound that lasted for a minute or so until they were dispersed around the fields near and far. Happy with that I headed back for breakfast and packed up our things for the journey home.

First port of call on our way back was around Bridgend Bay again - no changes really to the avifauna there with several Great Northerns, Slavonian Grebes and Long-tailed Duck along with the hundreds of waders, ducks and geese. A party of Brent Geese fed on the eel grass.
Next we headed for our departure point at Port Askaig checking more focks of geese en-route. There were thousands more geese here and we finally tracked down single Pink-footed Geese in two of the flocks. the latter flock then also produced a Richardson's Canada Goose again - was this a second bird? We'll be studying the images obtained to see if there is a clue!
We also saw a Golden Eagle on a trig point that I measured at 3.5 miles away from the OS map!

From here we headed north a bit and found our quaryy - a splendid adult Iceland Gull at Bunnahabhain that was feeding on a Conger Eel on the beach.
Back at the port we watched the Tysties in their summer finery and scanned the hillsides of Jura as we waited for the ferry. John caught a glimpse of a White-tailed Eagle but the calm weather meant that there just wasn't enough wind to help the birds into the air and so it remained sat somewhere out of sight.

From the boat, we saw a nice Peregrine but little else until we were near Gigha from where we counted at least 28 Great Northern, 8 Red-throated and 2 Black-throated Divers as well as a few Guillemots. We disembarked at 17:45 and were home by midnight (Thanks for doing the driving, John) with a species list of 104 for the trip. A very enjoyable few days in great company (both mammalian and avian) was slightly soured by the news that the Gyr that we had put in so much time had been washed up dead. But that's how it goes. I'm sure we'll make a return journey in the not-too-distant future.


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