Monday, 20 July 2015

Cuckoo Coll land, the isle of Coll 23-30 May 2015 part 2/3

Carrying on from the last post I had just seen a wonderful solitary Whimbrel fly by. What followed was a fantastic display by the local Wader population and migrants... Snipe, Redshank, Lapwing & Oystercatcher all put on a fantastic song and dance for Dad and I to enjoy with all calling and displaying at different points. After a display of a lifetime that I dearly miss we had to march through with the raucous calls of an unhappy Redshank!

But that for me wasn't the highlight with the true natural spectacle hiding just around the meadows in some sand dunes... And this was it!

100s upon 100s of Waders that were feeding on short (sheep assisted) turf. It was surreal seeing so many on such a unique habitat called machair, there must have been at least 100 of each Ringed Plover and Dunlin with a light sprinkling of 15 or so Turnstone! It was simply incredible and of the experiences of my life! I did however, notice some very unusual behaviour... Some (likely) migrant Swallows were actually behaving as if they were waders by landing in the flock and walking... Sadly I was unable to get of them doing this, but the argument of them doing it for mud is floored as there was no mud around, just some extremely odd behaviour.

Only 3 minutes or so before we reached the magical Calgary Point. Terns surrounded us, from their breeding grounds on Gunna. However a few of their Coll counterparts may have joined in the feeding frenzy. While sifting through the large flock of Arctics, Littles and a few possible Common... I came across a large diving bird in pristine black plumage. The camera provided views as if from a scope to prove it's identity, I present you the Great Northern Diver (or Loon)...
We spnet 10 minutes or so enjoying the incredible views that are found all too often in Scotland!!! We later passed a few more beaches which included some wonderful Turnstones, Ringed Plovers and Dunlin.

4 Oystercatchers enjoyed their time on top of the rocks, while being beadily eyed by the young Ravens in the area...

Just past them, nearing the Crossapol sand dunes we encountered 4 Whimbrel feeding on the rich earth to the north of the isle.
My final favourite moment of the walk was enjoying the view of Feall bay, my favourite beach on Coll.
Just before arriving back at our accommodation we found some of the smaller less intrusive species of the isle...
Female Reed Bunting (presumably) escorting us away from her nest

Male Linnet calling for its partner

Male Sedge Warbler (told from it singing) patrolling a tiny patch of scrub e.g. 4x4 metres

Female Wheatear taking cover from strong wind and overcast conditions along with the Sedge Warbler

That's it, I'll thoroughly complete it tomorrow!

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