Back home again

I’ve been touring around the country for a few days, but now I’m back home for a while.

I enjoyed seeing some scenery, some muirburn, some Harbour Porpoises, an Iceland Gull (thank you to the birder in the beach car park at Brora for letting me have a peek through his ‘scope), a male Hen Harrier, some Sanderling and lots of skeins of Pink-footed Geese. The Hen Harrier was, of course, great, particularly because we found it at a site where we’ve found one before (so we felt quite skilful). But the Sanderling were nice – I don’t see them very often as I don’t go to many sandy beaches and most sandy beaches don’t have Sanderling anyway, so it was lovely to see them scurrying about on the edge of the water.

For some reason, writing this has just reminded me of the film The Sandpiper which I’m pretty sure opens and/or closes with some Sanderling – or have I misremembered that? I must have seen that film, on TV some 45-50 years ago and I can’t remember anything about it, except its name, and the Sanderling (I do hope they were Sanderling). Even having looked up the film online I don’t remember anything about it except its name and the (I hope) Sanderling. I don’t think I realised that you could see Sanderling in the USA (was the film set in California?) until I saw a familiar-ish bird in that film.

I do like Sanderling. I don’t see enough of them.

But the best ‘bird’ of the trip were the rutting Red Deer. I sat in the car in a passing place (not a busy road!) and looked down into the glen where there were a couple of harems of hinds with their stags. The stags, and not just those two, were roaring away and that was the main sound one could hear. I hope they all have a wonderful rut!

Back in the world of nature conservation, I read on the excellent RPUK blog, that a third brood-meddled Hen Harrier has gone missing. I’ll write about that tomorrow morning.

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9 Replies to “Back home again”

  1. So am I Mark after a fortnight on Shetland and a few days in Yorkshire, didn't see Hen Harrier or Iceland Gull but did see some fantastic wildlife in the company of good friends.

  2. Just back from a week on Islay where we saw often two or more hen harriers almost daily and four together at a roost site. Of course there are few grouse on the island and hence no grouse shooting....
    What there is however is an appalling cull of barnacle geese which has been going on for years but seems to have largely missed out on the attention and criticism it richly deserves.

    1. Yes another example of a 'cull' that needs looking into. I know that Islay is by Hebridean standards a fertile island, but none the less when we chuck a third of our food away why should barnacle geese be getting killed especially when produce from the islands is particularly difficult to ship to markets? Am I perhaps a little cynical in believing this is actually about continued subsidy ranching with perhaps a bit of compensation wangling thrown in?

  3. Glad to hear you enjoyed the Sanderling Mark. I'm very lucky to live close to Skegness, on the occasions that I go for a seawatch I often come away thinking my 'bird of the day' were the Sanderling giving fabulous views scurrying around the tideline just yards away.

    1. Jason - thank you for your comment. You, obviously, seem a very cultured and right-thinking bloke to me.

  4. I remember the film being on telly, it was a grave dissapointment to me at the time, being
    obsessed with finding a Common Sandpipers nest, I had thought it may have offered some tips.
    We are recently returned from Orkney, where we saw marginally more Hen Harriers than
    Pheasants squashed on the roads.
    Also saw three of the new type stoat traps, one of which had not been checked for a while, as it had a mouldering Rat in it.
    I narrowly failed to run over one of the aforementioned Stoats, on the Stromness to Houton road, you cant fling the campervan about like you could the Subaru.
    An embarrassing number of Pheasants dead , in a few hundred yards of the A9, just south of Blair Atholl.

    1. Trapit - hard luck on the stoat front!

      Yes, I saw those Pheasants too! Almost all cock birds. It wasn't just there though I was pointing out dead Pheasants a lot on our journey but i agree that that particular stretch of the A9 was a feathered highway of non-native gamebirds.


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