Thursday, 31 May 2012

Iona with more great birds

So this afternoon after the morning at Staffa we headed into Iona.  The sun wasn't out in full glory, more a little overcast, but at least the rain held off all afternoon and there was no wind!  Even a little balmy!

Before we had even gotten everyone ashore Tony had found a glaucous gull, which has apparently been around for a little while.  Managed to get some great photos of it, so pretty happy with that, another new bird for the UK!. We the got everyone ashore and Tony and I staked out some corncrake spots.  The best place seemed to be the bottom of the St Columba Hotel garden where one was calling well, but after a while it shut up, and played hard to get.  It finally started up again and we got some ok head views of it in the grass and rank veg in the meadow.

As we were about to leave a small bird flew into a bush right beside us, and showing badly, then decided to fly out the back onto the fence.  It sat there for at least 30 seconds as if it didn't know what to do, letting us get enough detail on it to work out it was from memory either a lanceolated or grasshopper warbler.  Not being able to remember the finer details, I figured it was probably going to be a gropper, and when we eventually consulted the field guide back at the ship, that is exactly what it was.  So another great bird for the list, and only the second gropper I had ever seen, this one a lot closer than the first.

We then met up with the rest of the group, managed to show them brief views of a corncrake as it leapt from the grass in the same area, and then did a nice loop walk out through the meadows and along the shoreline.  We had brief views of another corncrake, but good flight views of a cuckoo (heard at least two different birds), a bunch of sedge warblers, lots of pipits and dunlin, ringed plover and common sand on the shoreline.

A pretty nice walk and yet another great day.  During dinner we had a few Manx shears go past in flat calm conditions and then after dinner a few more common dolphins and a couple of porpoise.  Awesome!

Glaucous gull

Taking off

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