Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Monday, 9 August 2010

Saturday 7th August 2010

Awoke very early to see a lovely sunrise over Lochmaddy harbour. Sunshine and blue sky. What's that orangy-yellow ball in the sky, sort of large, very bright and round?

Onto the ferry and stood on the usual deck counting the birds. Well I would give you the figures but I've misplaced the tatty bit of paper that I wrote them down on. Need a new notebook but not possible to get one in Lochmaddy at 5.30am.

Nothing to spectacular with a couple of common dolphin, gannets, kittiwakes, manx shearwaters and a single great skua, puffins and guillemots. Razorbills noticably absent but as we approached the Trumpan Headland of Skye there were I estimated around 2,000 manx sitting on the water; the biggest flock that I've seen on this trip.

As the boat entered Uig harbour, I sawa large bird of prey being mobbed by two others. At first I thought it was a buzzard with two sparrowhawks. Then I realised that the smaller birds were the buzzards and that the larger bird was an adult golden eagle! Brilliant and quite close too. They headed off inland and must have been a great sight for someone driving along the main road.

Stayed on the boat in order to get to Tarbet on Harris. Was listing the birds but then the deck was invaded by the Scottish Piped Band that I'd seen at the Highland Games a few days earlier at Portree.
Also met a smashing couple from Aberdeen.
It's a bit windy on the boat!

Cycled out of Tarbet and soon reached a very steep but beautiful section of road.
OK I'll be honest, cycling it wasn't what I did. I pushed and walked the hill. Reached the top where a lovely mountain loch greeted me then a couple of miles later found a secluded roadside picnic bench. Lunchtime.

No sooner than I'd got out my bread and jam [living it up!], but 4 coach loads of German tourists arrived and took over the area. Actually they were greatand one lovely couple came over to me and said that they didn't want there lunch and would I like it? Boiled eggs! I've dreamed of boiled eggs. haven't had a boiled egg for months. Also cheese and fruit. Danke!
One of the tour guides came over for a chat. Tanya, usually a nurse in Bavaria wanted a photo with Barnaby and Albert. What more could I do than oblige?
A fabulous family from Sheffield had joined me on the bench by now and together we had lunch as Che, their oldest boy tried to make sparks by crashing two rocks together and Cole, their youngest played Thumb Wars.

Onward and cut it short as I've only 4 minutes left on the library computer, got to Callanish late in the evening. I'd always wanted to see this place and the effort of getting here was well worth it. More about that next time.

All the very best everyone. Keep birding!


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