Saturday, June 06, 2009

Highlands of Scotland Holiday - day 3 pt 1

Setting off just after 6am proved to be an excellent idea as the three hour drive turned out to be just a two hours twenty minutes drive, as there was virtually no other traffic. Handa is a privately owned island managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and is reached by a ferry service provided by the locals at Tarbet, itself reached by driving for 3 miles down a single track road with many a blind summit!

The views en-route were stunning, shame about the barbed wire in two of the pictures, good camera, poor user:

We were early enough to stop at Scourie and make use of the loos there (no facilities at all on the island) before catching the first boat of the morning. The sky was clear and the water millpond still as we and six other passengers were ferried the short distance to the island (a return trip costs £10 per person), and landed before walking up to a hut for a brief talk on familiarisation and the code of conduct, etc.

Once we'd finished with the chat and a made a donation to the Wildlife Trust we started birding. Of course on the way over we'd been bird-watching too, having seen a new species, Black Guillemot but the boat trip was too fast for any pictures, which was a shame as we didn't see any more of them.

A few Arctic Terns are now breeding on Handa:

Birds visible from around the hut also included Ringed Plover:

and a lone Greenland White-fronted Goose, I suspect paused on migration, it was gone when we returned some four hours later:

Across the Island, large numbers of Great Skua were either feeding, zooming about or loafing:

Together with the less common Arctic Skua (this is a dark-morph bird; light-morph birds with white chests were also present):


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