Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Butt- revisited

manx shearwater
Just enjoyed a few days birding back at the Butt of Lewis with fellow Ullapool birder Richard Rafe in the hope of turning up some migrant species. The ferry voyage over the Minch was quiet with just a few great skuas and a couple of manx shearwaters of note. The Machair at Eoropie held up to 700 golden plover during our 4 day stay, with mixed flocks of lapwings, interspersed with starlings and twite. Birding was rather hard work with cold blustery conditions and a scarcity of birds on the ground, although Port Nis resident birder Tony Marr put us onto a very nice 1st winter red-backed shrike on our first morning so things started well! A number of common redpoll were also good to see.

red-backed shrike
red-backed shrike
Eoropie beach looking North (ish)
The next few days we scoured the area around the Butt of Lewis, Eoropie, Loch Stiapabhat and Port of Ness. Highlight birds included snow bunting, gadwall, whooper swan, lesser whitethroat and hen harrier. On our final day a turtle dove in Port of Nis was a good find. An hour later, on our arrival in Stornoway ferry terminal, Tony rang me to say that he had just seen a barred warbler- one of the target birds of my trip as I have never seen that species in the UK- nothing like dipping out to remind me of the joys of birding! ;)

golden plover flock
golden plover over the machair
who needs house sparrows when you have twite on the roof!
harbour porpoise in the Minch
great black-backed gull- Annat bay, near Ullapool

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