FRIDAY 14 MAY
Broad-billed Sandpiper, Harrapol, Isle of Skye, May 2010 (Martin Benson)
One of the most confiding individuals I have ever seen
…….And – at long last – the Skye Bridge – two hours and 120 miles after we left Killiecrankie. How times have changed; we used to have to get a ferry across to the island and then this expensive bridge. The Scottish Parliament eventually waived the toll – making all bridges in Scotland now free to cross.
THE ISLE OF SKYE
BROADFORD BAY, SKYE
It was mid-afternoon when we arrived on Skye – and low tide. We pulled up into the Broadford Bay car park in the town and started scanning. I quickly located the Dunlin flock and then the BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER. The birds were feeding in some shallow rockpools about 50 yards from the car park and were affording excellent views. All of the salient field characters could be seen and for the next half an hour or more, the bird was kept under observation. Although I have seen this Scandinavian breeding species in Scotland before, I have never seen one on the West Coast and certainly never on Skye. It also represented my 274th species of the year. It was feeding frantically with 40 Dunlin and 25 Ringed Plovers. The bay also held a flock of 23 PALE-BELLIED BRENT GEESE (including a single ringed bird), 3 Northern Wheatears and 2 Common Cuckoos.
ISLE OF SKYE
Excellent views were obtained of the resident pair of GOLDEN EAGLES over the cliff-face, the adult male showing particularly well. He flew short distances along the cliff, landing on the grassy slopes.
PORTREE HARBOUR, ISLE OF SKYE
Scanning across Portree Harbour from the garage on the main road, we were lucky to pick up one of the resident adult WHITE-TAILED SEA EAGLES. It was soaring over the eyrie cliff.
UIG HARBOUR, ISLE OF SKYE
Whilst David, Mike and I went to sort out the ferry payment, the others scanned the harbour, where several Common Eiders, 6 BLACK GUILLEMOTS and 2 Common Terns were seen.