Friday, June 13, 2014

Outer Hebs 3/3

Some machair flowers.
Machair at Balranald. Masses of flowers on the sandy fields.
On Thursday the weather was grey and overcast with some occasional drizzle. We had alook around the info centre at Lochmaddy at an excellent exhibition about St Kilda that most remote of UK outposts lying 40 miles out from North Uist. What a place that must have been, the last of the original St Kildans died only last September. Very sad.

Friday was the exact opposite to Thursday in terms of weather. It was warm, clear and sunny all day.
We headed off right to the bottom of South Uist getting as far as the Pollachar Inn overlooking Barra.
Our first stop was Rubha Ardvule the famous seawatching spot. What a beautiful place it is too. While walking the short way to the point I passed an Otter in Loch Ardvule. It was a huge dog Otter, that slowly melted away as they do. Also seen here were a Great Northern Diver flying N, 1 Arctic Skua, 40+ Sanderling in summer plumage and a Small Heath butterfly.

Ardvule Point
Not far away we visited the home gallery of Bill Neil wildlife artist. A very interesting and pleasant chap who double up as recorder for the islands wildlife too, specialising in the Bees. He had a lovely 'machair' lawn and Redpoll and Twite in his garden.

The drive back north was excellent. After fish and chips at the petrol station ( this is the outer hebrides you know) we had a nice male Hen Harrier with prey over the road, followed by a low flying Golden Eagle lit up in the afternoon sun. I stopped to get the camera, but I had the 55mm lens on it. By the time I changed it, the eagle was two miles away...

A stop on the machair at Dalabrog had Cuckoo, 3 Sand Martins ( rare here), Short eared Owl and many Early Marsh Orchids.

A second visit to the Red necked Phalaropes found them to be more obliging. Two females chased a male high over the road onto a different loch. The call is a short 'chip' and easy to pick out. Another female was on the other loch and later we had another fly south along the beach, calling. Maybe 6 birds were present.

Red necked Phalaropes, the full sketch.

That dot in the middle? A female Red necked Phalarope. A habitat shot!
And thats it for another year. I'll leave you with two more views of these fantastic islands. We will return...

1 comment:

Mike said...

Nice pictures. I used to visit the Hebs often in the 90's. These pictures remind me of how glorious these islands can be in nice weather.