This may seem a bit random but if you follow me on twitter (@ornid) then you may have noticed that last saturday/sunday I managed to see ie not enter all four of the home countries plus Eire in less than 24 hours.
This 'epic' achievement (I WAS proud) was on the back of a marathon 6 day survey which started at half 5 on friday with Luca picking me up heading to Birkenhead. Here we joined up with Ray and boarded the Prince Madog - a fab boat if ever I saw one. Luxury. We left the Mersey to loads of shite hawks and Anthony Gorley's Another Place - a truely remarkable piece of sculpture and one that I wholeheartedly endorse. Due to admin we were unable to start work until late doors but managed a surprise Black-throated Diver. Finishing after dark (yes really!) our visual survey stayed offshore, ready to take advantage of the early morning moonlight. The bright lights of Prestatyn ket us going.
Saturday started with Bacon on brown with a side order of over 1000 Common Scoter. Impressive although I abjectly failed to find a Surfie or rarer. A touch scarcer though was a Great Northern Diver. This was a post build site so we were surrounded by Cormorants, crap and giant windmills. Interest wained save for Grey Seal and we pushed on to Menai Bridge. Followed by a taxi to Birkenhead, followed by a drive to the Mull of Kintyre. Nice.
Largely uneventful, 10 deer were noted on the small roads of Argyll. Most noticable was the beast of Exmoor reincarnate wandering round the oncoming lane in the middle of Tarbet, at the head of Loch Lomond. super scary!!
Survey can be largely glossed over as same old same old save for 4 Little Auks (year tickage) plus a variety of divers. The Little Auks were distant ish but not an adequate grip back for the previous weeks Ross's Gull off the obs. Bah. We did however see Antrim and Donegal
Better views were had over the next few days of Little Auks but the trip total staggered to 8 birds. The Islay site over Monday/Tuesday was dross with 180 birds in 10 hours. SSSSSSSSSSSLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!! Did see a Redwing nearly get drowned after getting caught in our slipstream, although thankfully the collective will of the surveyors proved like wind to the wings and it recovered to fly strongly toward Donegal.
The final avian highlight was a distant Golden Eagle being bombed by a couple of Ravens. 2 small dots and one bigger dot. Good news - apparently Sea Eagles have bred for the first time on Islay. Corking - will have to kee an eye out.
Apart from slow birding it was a nice trip. Could do with sum rare to skor.