Thursday, 21 October 2021

Thursday 21st October

 A slightly drier, sunnier day, but with 1-2 squally showers and a good westerly breeze.

My account of a couple of WTEs on Nave Island yesterday prompted visitors Ed & Elaine Prince to get in touch with an exciting account of their own earlier observations for Nave Island yesterday:

“We set off for Ardnave point at dawn on Wednesday 20th, and were in position by 8 a.m. There were 3 White-tailed Eagles on Nave Island when we arrived, all sub-adults, and we were impressed with their aerial agility as they skirmished above the island. We had spent much of last week watching two individuals on Loch Gruinart doing nothing much for most of the time, apart from when they caught and plucked a Barnacle Goose in full view, which was quite exciting.

We were crouched behind a large rock on the beach, out of the wind, and as we watched the three birds over the island, another flew in from behind us, right over our heads. Shortly after this another arrived, then another, and this continued again and again until we had a total of eight White-tailed Eagles on the island. They all flew in right over our heads, in good light, and we can confirm that in total there were two adults and six sub-adults. We can also confirm that we counted all eight simultaneously on several occasions.

There was a great deal of interaction between the birds, and we saw two individuals lock talons and cartwheel towards the ground, releasing their grip at only the last possible moment, in a display wildlife cameramen would die for. We left the point at 11 a.m. One or two of the eagles had left by this time, and the remainder were no longer showing, so we speculate that their quarrels may have been centred around ownership of a carcass on the far side of the island. This was supported to some degree by the fact that when we returned at the same time this morning in the hope of a repeat performance not a single eagle was to be seen, though we did have twenty murderous Ravens, which was nice.”

I think that there have been 6 together previously but this must surely be the highest count of WTEs together on Islay so far?

Details of Teresa’s colour-ring sighting of a Whooper Swan have already come back. I contacted the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust last night and they replied with the details this morning – that is service! I think that David Dinsley must have done the same thing as he posted the basic info. this morning on our WhatsApp site: “Great minds etc….”.

The full details are given below. The bird was caught at Martin Mere in November 2017 and has been seen there each winter since. This is the first sighting away from Lancashire, where it is presumably headed now.

24/11/17 – Caught WWT Martin Mere, Lancs.

20/03/17 – Seen WWT Martin Mere, Lancs.

28/10/18 – Seen Scansbrick, Lancs.

01/12/18 – 10/01/19 - Seen WWT Martin Mere, Lancs.

27/10/19 – 05/01/20 - Seen WWT Martin Mere, Lancs.

16/11/20 - Seen Scansbrick, Lancs.

21/11/20 – 26/11/20 - Seen WWT Martin Mere, Lancs.

07/12/20 – Seen Boundry Farm, near Martin Mere, Lancs.

20/10/21 – Seen Craigens, Islay

Teresa Morris had been out again at the north end of Kilinallan dunes and reports 6 Barnies in off the sea, 31 Whooper Swans in from the north, a mix of raptors - Golden and White-tailed Eagles, Hen Harrier, 4 Stonechats, 42 Twite, 4 Chough, 4 LBB Gulls and 4 Ravens,. A swallow was seen early on at Kilinallan and a futher 21 Whooopers landed on the marsh.

Teresa's photo nicely sums up today's weather:

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