Tuesday, 31 August 2010

My First White-Tailed Sea Eagle!

At last I have seen my first sea eagle!

I was standing by my back door, chatting to a friend on the phone, when I heard a crow making a lot of noise outside - my friend heard it from her end of the phone too! I looked out and saw it following a large bird, flying behind the trees at the back of my garden. I was giving my friend a running commentary at the same time.

I thought it looked too big to be a buzzard, heron briefly sprang to mind as we have a lot flying around here but it didn't match the usual profile. But then as the two birds flew into clear view I knew exactly what was being chased by the crow - a juvenille white-tailed sea eagle! It wasn't flying very high, just above the trees, so I got a good view of its colouring as it turned left, and the huge wingspan. There was no mistaking it. The view was but a brief one as it went back behind the trees again and flew away.

I ran to get the camera just in case, so I will be on eagle watch now!
I'm sure it must have been one of the birds recently released in Fife.

I thought my first sighting would be on Skye or around the north west coast, but not whilst standing in my own back garden - to say I'm happy would be an understatement!

So my first otters and sea eagle this month, not a bad way to end August...

Update 6 Sept: I have received a reply from the RSPB Sea Eagle Officer who thinks that the eagle I saw was the male "Yellow Z". He was around Loch Leven on 30/31st Aug. He's was reported nearby again at the weekend, so I will keep my eyes peeled for him!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Beaches, Red Point

A selection of photographs of the beaches at Red Point, Wester Ross. The sand was incredibly soft.

Lovely views across to Skye, Raasay and the peaks of the Applecross peninsular.

View across to Skye
Applecross hills
Ruins by the shore
Small island accessable at low tide - we went over and had a look, lovely colourful mosses and lichens on the rocks
View across to Skye and the nearest of the beaches
Huge dunes

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Shieldaig, near Gairloch

A few scenic shots of Shieldaig, Wester Ross, situated on the shores of Loch Gairloch.

A couple of hours later as the tide was going out.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

My First Otters!

Finally, I have seen my first otter in the wild. In fact, not just one, but two!

We were hiking by a remote lochan near Gairloch in Wester Ross, when I heard a chirping sound. I thought it was just a bird on the nearby lochan. I heard the noise again and saw something swimming, I automatically thought it was a bird. Then it dived under the surface revealing it's body and I realised it was in fact an animal's head I had seen.

I waited for it to resurface and I wasn't disappointed. Swimming towards me was an otter, soon followed by another! I remembered seeing otters on wildlife presenter Simon King's recent Shetland programme and the noise the cub was making to its parents was the same.

We were standing on the track and the otters were only a few feet from us in clear view. They dived and surfaced, and swam some more, before disappearing from view. I did see a fish jump into the air further up the loch so wondered if that's where they had gone. We stayed for a few minutes, but didn't see them again. Unfortunately, we still had a way to go on our walk so couldn't hang around, but it was wonderful to experience otters at last.

Credit goes to my other half for the first three photos - he's got a bigger zoom on his camera than I have!

My photos:
Two heads swimming along

... and gone

Friday, 6 August 2010

Stac Pollaidh Hike

On 23rd July, having picked a glorious summer's day to head north, we hiked the hill Stac Pollaidh (pronounced Stack Polly) in Assynt.

The views were magnificent, with distant views to the peaks of the very north glistening white in the sun. The blue of the lochans that were interspersed between peaks like Suilven and Cul Mor, stood out against the barren summer green of the wilderness.

We spotted a small group of stags close by on the hillside, and they seemed happy to graze as we walked by.

It was a great day to be in the hills.

There are a lot of photos on this blog post, but there were too many photographic opportunities and this is only a small selection out of the total I took!



Cul Mor

Looking towards the road and car park
View to the Summer Isles
View from the ridge towards the summit scramble

My Labrador loves the hills!