Sunday, November 02, 2014

Birthday Break

With Dee pining for a visit to her birth-land we decided to head off for a weeks break on the west coast of Scotland to celebrate her birthday. As usual we decided on renting a cottage and chose a place around eleven miles south of Oban.

Our home for the week.
We arrived late afternoon Saturday and decided to spend our first day (Sunday) in the locality, firstly with a visit to Seil Island and then on to take in the surroundings of Oban. An early morning walk around the grounds after a night of torrential rain before heading off produced a small selection of birds: RobinGoldcrest, Siskin, a small group of Redwing, Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and three Brambling over.

Hooded Crow- Scottish Carrion Crow
Seil Island is a small island on the east side of the Firth of Lorn. Seil has been linked to the mainland by bridge since 1792 when the Clachan Bridge was built by engineer Robert Mylne. At the end of the road lies the former slate-mining village of Ellenabeich. Several stops on route provided some good viewing opportunities with Hooded Crow, and many Rock Pipits feeding on  the kelp washed up by the recent winds. Oystercatcher and Redshank were the only waders we managed and wildfowl included Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Canada and Greylag Geese. After coffee a look offshore around Ellenabeich produced several Shag, Herring Gull, and Lesser Black-backed and Greater Black-backed Gull.

Record shot -White-tailed Eagle
White-tailed Eagle
The drive back up to Oban has several opportunities to pull in and take a look at Loch Feochan and a first stop produced Red-breasted Merganser and Goldeneye. Where the loch ends and narrows as you approach Oban the peripheral held Oystercatcher and Curlew, plus more Goldeneye but the real treat was when Dee called a large bird approaching from the west! It wasn't long before we were delighted to see our first mainland White-tailed Eagle, which took us by surprise and did a brief circle over the loch before departing into the cover of the tree line on the far side.

Mull Ferries in Oban Harbour
Finally, a walk around Oban harbour as the light faded was a little quiet but we managed a few more Red-breasted Merganser, Eider Duck, Shag and a brief fly-by of a Black Guillemot.