After last weeks sunshine on Islay it was back to normal at home with more rain and a cold North East wind. I came across a pair of Oyster Catchers that had finally laid their eggs in a shallow depression on the top of a post. It was no chance finding as ten years ago, with the farmers permission, I hollowed out the top of the post anticipating just such an event. Unfortunately it took ten years to happen!
On one very wet morning I came across a brilliant male Merlin on a rock by the road as it eyed up a Meadow Pipit. It was only a brief view but what a subject, they really are the star of the Pennine birds. A single Ring Ouzel was singing at a breeding site nearby but its female could not be located so hopefully she was sat tight on eggs in the poor conditions.
Another day out produced two pairs of Little Owls on dry stone walls. Both were at the same stage with the male courting the female by presenting her with prey and then preening her. She returns the compliment by preening him in what is called allopreening, an event that is seldom filmed. Sadly both pairs were too far away for me to capture on camera but just to witness it makes it a special occasion.
Despite the poor weather the breeding season marches on and I now have had two pairs of Dippers that have fledged young. Meanwhile Pied Flycatchers and Redstarts are flooding into the woodlands and let’s hope we see more Wood Warblers this year.