Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Scotland Birding Trip: 28th-31st March

Friday 28th March: Day 1

This years long weekend Scotland trip is around six weeks earlier than the previous years.
So we knew migrants would be thin on the ground before even leaving the airport at Stanstead.

The Easyjet flight was scheduled for take off at 8.10am, but because of early morning mist and fog there was a queue of planes waiting to take off. 
So it was nearer to 8.40 before the plane actually left the runway at Stanstead. The outgoing flight cost just £30 and was as the previous two years hassle free and straightforward.
With the pilot making up some of the lost time during the course of the flight, The plane touched down at Glasgow airport around 9.50.
Brian having left us to collect the bags had the hire car sorted before the bags appeared on the carousel and we were out of the airport and on the road in good time.

With the base this year in Banavie near Fort William, there was the matter of the 103 miles ahead of us.
With that in mind we decided to take a detour to Oban and hopefully bag a couple of year ticks at the harbour. Birding on the way up was pretty quiet and uneventful, except for trying to work out how to get the child locks off the rear doors on the Golf.
After being let out of the car, we quickly picked up 3-4 Hooded Crows around the Harbour walls, But the Black Guillemots were taking a little bit more searching for this year, After a couple of scans they were found and duly added to the year and trip list.

With the tide in the Black Guillemots never came within camera range, While watching the Hoodie's this little guy flew in and started searching among the rocks.

View from Oban harbour

Instead of leaving Oban and heading for Banavie and the Cottage we made our way to Corran and took the ferry £7.60 one way! The ferry crossing takes around 5-10 minutes and once across it's around 14 miles to Strontian. This has been the location of the long staying Black Duck.
A good scan of Loch Sunart failed to find the duck and a drive and scan along Strontian River also failed to locate the bird.
The only pond along this road was quite literally a duck pond but it didn't have any ducks visiting today.

Disappointed not to find the duck, we headed back towards the ferry, stopping briefly to check out the seals at Sallachan Point.  

After paying another £7.60 to re-cross the loch it was a 12 mile drive from here to the cottage, stopping off on route for supplies and food the accommodation was in darkness when we pulled onto the drive.
The cottage was very comfortable and the only problem faced was how to get the TV to work.

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