Wednesday 27th October
After dropping Sula off at school (Rona was in creche for the day) I took a quick look at Westing beach as the wind direction was right for photo opportunities of waves etc and also for gulls feeding in the breakers as the waves broke on the beach. There were a few gulls there, but the light wasn't particularly good so I sat for ten minutes watching Turnstones feeding amongst the seaweed. Amongst the Turnstones was a solitary Purple Sandpiper which was the first I'd seen there this autumn.
Needing to get back home, I headed off back along the road, only to stop suddenly after only a couple of minutes as a brown shape caught my eye coming up the field from the sea. It was an otter, still wet from the sea water and it was in a bit of a hurry. It only hesitated as it crossed the road in front of me, then continuing up across the fields. The pics below are record shots really as they were taken at 1600 ISO.
After lunch, the weather had brightened up a bit, so I managed to get a look at Valyie (I was over there to talk to someone about work). There were still one or two Waxwings around but all I managed was some shots of some Starlings. Even these birds can look stunning when the sun shines on their feathers - giving them a total 'makeover'.
Returning back to Uyeasound later, the sun was shining brightly, making the recently arrived Whooper Swans look stunning against the blue sky - not good for exposures though. The numbers of Whoopers are steadily getting up in to double figures but will probably peak at around 30 or so before some will move further south. Also on the loch were numerous Wigeon, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye and also two female Goosanders.
Thursday and Friday I was busy so I didn't really see much - although there is always something to see around, even if it's not rare or unusual!
Saturday 30th October
Over night and this morning, we'd had southerly gales and while I didn't expect to find any unusual birds around, I always like going out to watch the wild seas etc. A good indicator of the sea state, is the number of gulls resting on the cliff-tops etc and today was no exception. As soon as I turned down the road to Lamba Ness, the grass in the distance was white with gulls. Earlier in the week I'd seen a 1st winter Glaucous Gull flying around there so there was a good chance it could be resting with the other birds. The birds were fairly close to the road but as always, they were quite wary and so many of them moved a little further away as I approached in the car. Glancing back to my right, a 'white-winged gull' took of from close to the road and landed not too far away, I managed to fire off a few shots before it too moved a little further away. With this terrain, it's pointless trying to get closer as, soon as the door is opened, the birds take off and move away completely,.
In the afternoon, we all took a family walk to the beautiful beach at Easting. The wind was blowing from the south straight off of the beach and into the breaking waves. I made a bad decision not to take the wide-angle and now regretted it. I tried to get some shots using the camera phone but the results are obviously not the same :( Whilst there, I was very surprised to get a phone call from Brydon (not surprised for the call, but to get a signal) There was a Grey Phalarope at Haroldswick - I'd either missed it earlier or it had flown in after I'd passed, but I would have to pass on it - at least until later.
An hour or so later, we all headed down to Haroldswick and there the bird was, still feeding on the surface of the water as the waves broke on the shore. By now the light was going (big rain storm approaching) and so it was again a high ISO (1000 iso only gave me 1/800th of a second exposure speed). I'll take another look tomorrow to see if it's still there and hopefully the weather will be better.