Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Friday, 6 August 2010

August - Seven months gone - five to go.

August the First

A cycle to Balranald RSPB reserve, with birding on the way and a visit to a reserve that is no longer a RSPB one - Drimore Farm.

Wind had turned overnight to a north westerly. Great rught into my face most of the time. I may have said this before but I prefer rain to a wind in the face. One may be unpleasant, except for I get a wash but the latter is painful. So this proved to be.

Got to Balranald at 5.30pm and immeadiately went around the whole of the reserve's track. A spotted redshank with the more common varoety on the nearest beach was a surprise. Clearish views of St Kilda was a thrill and I had another of the unseen calling corncrakes in a stinger filled hole near to the bridleway.

Photographed some beautiful stranded jellyfish on the beach and found a strange limpet sp.

August 2nd

Woke at 6.00am and walked the reserve again. No wind!!!
Sat on some rocks adjacent to a rotting seaweed area on the far beach and watched as turnstone, dunlin and sanderling enjoyed their feast of the attendant flies. The scum on some rock pools had coalesced into some patterns repeating those seen from satellites. Well in my imagination anyway.
Then walked to the most westerly point of the reserve and seawatched for an hour. Two common dolphin quite close were the highlight with gannets, manx and auks passing also. Good views of St Kilda was interuppted by a passing rain shower.

Ended my time at Balranald with 40 bird species and 8 moss carders seen.

Cycled along the north raod of North Uist to Lochmaddy, seeing red-throated divers in a couple of the bays. Good views across to the mountains of Harris. One nice, old-looking croft but most houses were boring modern boxes.

Now a massive thanks to Campbell, John and Alistair of Lochmaddy. I was about to sleep on a bench outside the ferry terminal when Campbell came and offered me a bed in the nearby cattle auction hall. Very comfortable night with a kettle for coffee and a light for reading. Brilliant and many many thanks.

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