The great Great Tit hunt

I can't remember who said it but 100 species would be a good total for a trip to Islay at this time of year. So we decided we had to make a point of testing our birding know-how and find some of what we call 'commoner' birds as well as some of the specialities.

We started another crisp and beautiful morning down at Loch Indaal where we had several Slavonian Grebes, Great Northern Divers, Red-throated Divers and sea duck in the shape of 220 Greater Scaup and 9 Long-tailed Duck. We made our way around to Bowmore (having stopped off very briefly at some likely looking woods to tick off Greenfinch and Great Tit) where we had an otter and more divers.

From here we decided to go goose watching again and made our way up to Loch Gruniart again. We were delighted with our views of the geese and especially the Greenland White-fronted Gees - they were splendid all day.
A little way up the east side of the loch, we managed to find a Black Redstart that had been reported the day before as well as adding several waders to our trip list. On the flats we continued to scan all the goose flocks and we found the Richardson;s Canada Goose again but this time much closer.
We also had a pair of Golden Eagles over a very distant hillside and a couple of Merlins zipping around here and there. The Little Egret put in an appearance on the reserve pools joining the flocks of Teal and Pintail that were there.
We made our way around Loch Gorm before heading down for one last look at Portnahaven for the Gyr. It was no surprise that there was no sign of it but a few Gannets and auks were passing offshore, Still, there were plenty of Geese to look through!
Our last day tomorrow, so I hope we can add a few more to our list of 97 so far.
Dave, John, Janet & Tim on the Mull of Oa.

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