Tuesday, 5 April 2011

  It really does feel like we've 'turned the corner' so to speak, the evenings are drawing out and it's now light until well after 8pm. I've been busy in the cottage for the last few days again and also the kids are on their Easter break at the moment. As well as thinking about jobs that need to be done around the house (inside and out) I'm also starting to think about outside projects etc. I intend to plant some trees for cover  for  migrants but first I've got to sort out the rabbit problem. Other than controlling their numbers, the only other ways are to either put up rabbit proof fencing (expensive and they get in there in the end anyway) or guards around the trees individually (again expensive and when there's heavy snow, they then nip out the tops of the saplings anyway). We intend to have a dog and a cat eventually so maybe they will be a deterrent.

   Due to time restraints, ie not lots of long periods of 'free' time, I seldom do any 'wait and see' or putting out food for birds ( I do still feed the birds in the garden however) and usually photograph things when I'm travelling around the island. Something I have noticed down at the shore at the bottom of our field is that either side of high tide, Red-breasted Mergansers often come in quite close to the shore. So, last Sunday, as the weather was quite nice - although windy - I decided to lie in wait under my bag hide and try and get some shots of these very nervous birds (they are here at any rate). I had to wait an hour before a female came past, but it was much longer before I saw a male. They are starting to pair up at the moment and so I was hoping for several males displaying but today sadly that was not to be..........................

Female Red-breasted Merganser

  Unfortunately by the time the male came past, the tide had dropped a bit and so he was further out than I would have liked..............

Male R-b Merg'

  As I lay there, I had several other close encounters, one was a Redshank that landed 10ft in front of me, it turned and looked at the lens poking out from the bag hide and decided it didn't like it and went off. Not long after, a Little Grebe came past and although it wasn't quite sure what it was on the shore it didn't dive in panic and just swam a little further out....................

Little Grebe
  This bird has been around Balta Sound all winter but has been quite difficult to get close to on a day to day basis. Even when I'm in the car along the shore road, it would dive and then resurface much further out, so on this day I counted myself lucky. It was a lovely couple of hours lying there listening to the cooing of Eiders and wailing of Red-throated Divers out in the bay, but I had work to do. My excuse for being there in the first place was that I was waiting for a coat of paint to dry ! Well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Later on in the afternoon it turned cloudy, followed by rain showers in the evening. There hasn't been much in the way of solar activity lately, but I did check the website in the evening and nothing was forecast. Just before bed at around 11.30pm, I did look outside and was very surprised to see a green glow of an aurora over Setters Hill to the north.


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