Monday, 1 March 2021

Late February And Spring Is Starting To Appear

It's the last day of February and spring definitely feels like it has arrived. The garden is bursting into life, with daffodils and crocuses flowering already, and the shrubs and some trees showing signs of buds getting ready to add more colour to the view.

After doing some gardening this afternoon, it was warm enough for us to sit out on the patio, and enjoy a beer.

This week I also spotted some skylarks and their numbers increased with each passing day, plus I saw a gannet venturing into the airspace over Loch Na Keal, whilst looking for fish.

Whilst out on a leisure drive, a diving gull caught my attention. What was it after? I could see another bird nearby, so fired up my camera which has a really cool zoom feature on the digital viewfinder, which allows me to see stuff that is literally miles away.

A velvet scoter! I'd not seen one of those for years. That saw the end of the drive, and me sitting beside the shore for a couple of hours, hoping it might come a bit closer.

It was eating whelks, crabs and langoustines. The latter would prove problematic to dismantle before eating, and that was when the gull would make its move.

Whelks were easier, and swallowed whole.

Having seen golden eagles displaying a couple of times over the years, I've now lost count of the times I've witnessed the wonderful spectacle. They go into a dive, wings folded back and rocket towards the ground, before lifting back up, sailing high again. And repeat it over and over. Just a joy and real treat to see.

The "local" white-tailed eagles seem to be around more now too. We're seeing them most days over the hills near the house, or causing the gulls to take flight over the loch. Fingers crossed they decide to nest in the forest over the glen. That'd be epic.

And we've seen them sitting on the rocks in the loch too, watching what the local otter family was up to. No doubt hoping for a cheap meal.

Of course otter-watching is always something I enjoy. There are numerous families around the lochs at the moment, and having watched their movements since getting here, I usually manage to find them during the days.

I've still not see one of the cubs on either of the two families I've watched most often, catch a fish. Fortunately for them, their mothers are fantastic hunters and never let them go hungry.

I also saw one family join up with what I believe is the dad of the cubs, and play for a while on one of the rocky outcrops just off the shore.

Shame the light was so poor that day.

Unlike one afternoon when I watched the same family, just as the sun was sinking down behind the hills, and turning the water and anything wet, golden.

Was a fantastic session.

Away from the "stars" I've enjoyed taking time to photograph the stonechats that are in good numbers up here, and are so good at posing for shots.

As are the hooded crows. There are always a few hanging around on the beach when we take Arnold for a walk.

And herons, which seem to be everywhere...

March will probably have begun by the time I get this online, and I can't wait to see what the new month will bring.


Unknown said...

Great blog Pete and lovely to see Mull through your lens! Looking forward to getting up there as soon as I can!

Oliver Wright

MrsL said...

Do the scoters swallow the whelk shell as well?

Pete Walkden said...

Yes, the shell too. Must have tough throats!

MrsL said...

Blimey - never thought that! Wonder about digestion etc, need to look into that... I saw my first ever scoter on the Firth of Clyde earlier this year, chuffed to bits :)

Thanks for reply.