Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Islands and Islets (6): An Inner Hebridean Odyssey - Mystery Bird of Ardnamurchen


We left Fort William after breakfast, and were soon aboard the Corran Ferry bound for the unspoilt peninsula of Ardnamurchen, en route to Skye. Due to adverse weather conditions, it proved to be a very long route to the island, but that's another story! The grey-blue bird of prey above was practically my first avian sighting of the day.


We stopped off briefly at this lovely beach to watch the seals on their skerries and the rafts (or perhaps streamlined 'canoes') of Eiders.


Here are two more hasty views of the bird before it flew off. What fine banding on the tail feathers!

I would be very grateful for an identification: I thought it might have been a Buzzard (too blue?) or a Peregrine (not dark enough round the 'cheek'?). I don't think it was a Merlin ...


You might like to see my previous 2012 Scottish posts, which are here (miscellany) and here (jellyfish).


Later: Thank you to Heather Williams for her comment below. Yes, I think Sparrowhawk may well fit the bill (no pun intended), especially on account of the bird's size and the white stripe above the eye. We have had one of these in the garden in Suffolk, so I suppose I didn't really have to travel so far for a sighting, but who would have missed the chance to see the swathes of Scottish heather and golden bracken at this time of year?  
* * * 

Postscript . . . off-topic (we didn't see any Badgers in Scotland), but of great concern . . . the plight of Badgers in the face of Bovine TB. I thought this press release from the RSPB (here) was well worth reading, and would commend it to you. For more on Badgers in blogs (as it happens, from my old home area in South Wales - no bias, naturally!), you might like to see 'My Life Outside' (Adam Tilt) for a very informative post, and Jeremy Inglis Photography, for more details of the petition.

9 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Nice sighting of the raptor. The beach is a very pretty scene. Great shots from your trip.

Mary said...

It is a beautiful bird! Hope you find out what it is. It looks sort of like either a kite or a goshawk, looking at the birds in my guides, but of course I'm on the "wrong side of the pond" to be of much help :-) Don't know what you have there!

L. D. Burgus said...

It is a beautiful bird and really beautiful area.

Heather Williams said...

I think it might be a sparrowhawk.

Farida said...

That is such a majestic place and looks very serene too! Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope to see you around, Ms Carolyn! :D

Kalantikan said...

Oh Caroline, i love walking the path with wildflowers so lovely like those. I might not see the birds but the little creatures i will see on the vegetation, haha!

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you all so much for your kind comments - and thank you, Heather, for your welcome ID, a bird we have at home that had somehow got overlooked (perhaps in my quest for the more exotic?) ...

Mary, it doesn't quite look like a UK Goshawk, though a Goshawk also has the white eyebrow, but is a pretty rare visitor to these parts of Scotland. There are some interesting Sparrowhawk pointers here, too.

Crafty Green Poet said...

yes I'd definitely say sparrowhawk

Em Parkinson said...

Looks like a Sparrowhawk to me too. The yellow legs! We have a regular here who picks off a snack from our huge flock of sparrows when he feels like it.