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Post Info TOPIC: St Kilda

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St Kilda

Just back from a ten day trip to Scotland, primarily St Kilda but, also Lewis, Harris and one or two of the nearby smaller islands in the Outer Hebrides.

En route to our initial base in Nethy Bridge, we called in at Loch of the Lowes where we saw the Ospreys - two parent birds plus three chicks. We also added Slavonian Grebe to our trip list by visiting a small lochan I know where the parent birds were seen along with their single youngster, recently fledged. After our holiday and before the long journey south, we took the funicular to the upper regions of Cairn Gorm hoping to see Ptarmigan and Snow Bunting etc. Whilst we drew a blank, we did see an adult Golden Eagle perched up on a distant ridge.

The weather forecast prior to our trip was iffy to say the least. In order to land at St Kilda, the sea conditions have to be just right and it wasn't looking too good. However, the predicted rain and high winds never really materialised and whilst on the main island, Hirta, the weather was clear, sunny and quite warm. The outlying stacks surrounding Boreray rise majestically out of the Atlantic and are teaming with Gannets, Aucks and other seabirds. Prior to arriving, the sea crossings to Stornoway and then from Miavaig to St Kilda were quite productive with good numbers of Storm Petrels, a single Leach's, a bonus of Sooty Shearwater plus all the 'usuals.'

Once we had visited the archipelago, we spent time on the islands of Taransay, then Scarp in the Outer Hebrides, before making our way back to Stornoway via Loch Resort on North Harris. This loch is true eagle country with around twenty five birds being seen, split slightly in favour of White tailed over Golden. Unfortunately there was no time to give the Outer Hebrides the time that they desrerved (as this was essentially a visit to St Kilda) so no Phalaropes, Corncrakes or Hen Harriers etc. Amonst others :-

Red-throated Diver (c.25)
Black-throated Diver (5)
Great northern Diver (1)
Slavonian Grebe (Pr + juv)
Fulmar (00s)
Sooty Shearwater (1)
Manx Shearwater (c.100)
Storm Petrel (c.25)
Leach's Petrel (1)
Gannet (000s)
Shag (00s)
Barnacle Goose (1)
Goldeneye (4)
Red-breasted Merganser
Red Kite (5)
Sparrowhawk (1)
Buzzard (7)
Golden Eagle (c.12)
White-tailed Eagle (c.14)
Osprey (Pr + 3 juvs)
Kestrel (5)
Peregrine (1)
Whimbrel (1)
Greenshank (1)
Arctic Skua (c.6)
Great Skua (c.100)
Kittiwake (c.100)
Common Tern
Arctic Tern
Little Tern (2)
Guillemot (000s)
Razorbill (00s)
Black Guillemot (00s)
Puffin (000s)
Rock Dove
Rock Pipit
St Kilda Wren (c.3)
Hooded Crow

Photographs showing

Great Skua, Black Guillemot, White-tailed Eagle, Shag

-- Edited by Mark Jarrett on Sunday 17th of July 2016 02:44:07 PM

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