Saturday, 6 April 2013

SCOTLAND! Part One, Loch Etive....

I got back from another amazing trip last night, I spent eight days in Scotland!  The first five days were spent in the highlands of western Scotland on the shore of Loch* Etive, and by that I mean you just cross a road and you're there.
 From Euston station it's about a four-and-a-half-hour train journey to Glasgow, by far the longest I've been in a vehicle to my memory.  The highlight of the train journey was an easy pick: Pink-footed Goose! I saw a flock of about c.70 birds shortly after entering Scotland.  That was my first life-tick, and let me tell you it was not my last.
We had a hire car and it was 'just' a further two hours to Taynuilt, the local village to where we would be staying.
 We didn't arrive until after sunset so I couldn't take many landscapes just yet.  Although with what little light remained I took some photos of the ruins of an old pier and a couple of the loch, andI'm actually quite pleased with the results.

Next morning I was up at 6:30am and before seven I was out by the loch. It didn't take long to find Eider, another life-tick, but hugely far out. The Loch holds some great birds, the highlights while I was there were: Goosander, Red-breasted Merganser, Eider, Greenshank, Ringed Plover etc...
 Rather than go into detail about every day by the loch I thought it would be easier to just do the interesting bits.

 There is a little island  which, when the tide is in you can't get to, but when the tide is out you can.  So I walked across to the island when the tide was out hoping to get good views of waders, I flushed several Snipe -obviously before I saw them-, I also saw a Raven being chased by a Hooded Crow!  I noticed a Ringed Plover sitting still, most likely pretending to be a rock. By slowly approaching I managed to get fairly close, close enough at least to get a photo.

One of the days we did a boat trip up the loch seeing Seals, Peregrine Falcon, Shag. This Herring Gull flew alongside the boat for a little while, occasionally snatching stuff from the surface.

This Pied Wagtail was quite obliging, allowing me to finally get a decent image!

We took a walk along the River Awe one of the days, and at the rapids I took some long exposure images.  The water was so fast flowing that a 1/5 shutter-speed was slow enough to catch blur.  We saw a Dipper in flight briefly too!

So I thought rather than do an awful lot of writing I would put more pictures up, as you may have noticed there is much less writing than usual, but expect at least two more posts on Scotland  one I know will have much writing!

*According to my grandmother Amy -who was born up here- it is pronounced: 'Lochh' like you have something in your throat


  1. Wow! What a wonderful holiday. I've never been to Scotland but would love to. It looks and sounds like you saw some great sights and took some lovely photos Gideon. I'm very envious about the Dipper, we don't see them in my area.

    I had to smile at the end of the post at the thought of homes echoing with the guttural sounds of bloggers trying to correctly pronounce Loch :-)

    1. Scotland is amazing! That was my first trip and I can't wait until the next time I'm there :) No Dippers in my area either, though I see them in Ireland when I visit.
      Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Hi Early Worm,
    I often like to read your blog and your pictures are very nice. But do you have any more pictures of that gull because it looks a little like a common or ring-billed gull rather than a herring gull.

    1. Hi Ephraim,
      Thanks for letting know. Is there a way I can email you the pictures?



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