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Wednesday, 7 May 2014

RAINY DAY BIRDING

It rained, then it rained some more, 
 
It started as a mild drizzle but built up to almost a minor downpour.  That was in those few minutes around 0500 hours.  By 0600 hours the sun poked through the grey clouds; by 0604 hours the drizzle was back.  That seemed to establish the climatic pattern until well into the afternoon when the sun forced its way through and seemingly established a clear victory. 
 
By 1700 hours we dared a small venture to bird the road to Grasspoint and to buy a 2kg bag of freshly harvested mussels at one pound per kilogram.  And what mussels!  It's going to be hard to ever enjoy ordinary Australian mussels again.
 
In between spats of rain we explored the northwest corner of Mull.  We eventually ran into a hardy English birder, camped out in a small tent on the banks of a loch [one of many on and around Mull, let alone the rest of Scotland] who put us onto our second Mull [third, world] White-tailed Eagle Haliaetus albicilla. 
 
Nearby we spotted our first Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculis .
 
Back at the cottage, overlooking Loch Don, the Eurasian Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula  of the first day again failed to re-appear but the Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella  was pleased to announce its arrival at the feeder.  It was soon joined by the European Robin Erithacus rubecula, Song Thrush Turdus phiomelos  and Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs.  They were, however, all overshadowed by the Eurasian Siskin Carduelis spinus .
 
On reflection [and a bottle of good Italian red is conducive to a lot of reflection] the sighting of the day has to be the small flock of Dunlin Calidris alpina in full breeding plumage.
 
 

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