FRIDAY 14 MAY
Common Eiders: adult drake and female (Chris Morgan)
UIG TO LOCHMADDY FERRY CROSSING
We caught the 1400 hours ferry crossing from Uig, the voyage taking just over two hours. The weather was glorious, with blue skies, bright sunshine and light SW winds. Just as we left Uig Harbour, two breeding-plumaged adult GREAT NORTHERN DIVERS were seen, and in the Minch, 400 or more ARCTIC TERNS, over 100 ATLANTIC PUFFINS, both Common Guillemot and Razorbill, a few Northern Fulmars, Gannets and a total of 13 MANX SHEARWATERS. The latter and Puffin were both year-ticks.
As the ferry approached Lochmaddy Harbour, a GOLDEN EAGLE was hanging in the air over the high mountain. We had arrived on North Uist. It was 1615 hours.
BALRANALD RSPB, NORTH UIST (OUTER HEBRIDES)
After sorting out our overnight accommodation at the Struan Catering Flats on North Uist (£25 per night), we quickly went out to visit Balranald. Sadly, the weather had deteriorated and it was windy – at least 2 CORNCRAKES were calling but as usual we could not see them. A pair of WHOOPER SWANS was nesting on the loch just south of the access track, with a drake Shoveler noted and large numbers of breeding waders including drumming Common Snipe, Lapwing, Oystercatcher and Common Redshank. Driving back towards the bed & breakfast, four European Golden Plovers were at the roadside.
The view from our Bed & Breakfast on North Uist above (Chris Morgan)