Friday 8th February
We left Glasgow at 0730 & arrived at the ferry crossing from Kennacraig to Islay in the late morning of Saturday 4th Feb. En-route we had seen our first Hooded Crows, Raven, Buzzards, Red-breasted Merganser & Eider. For those in the front of the vehicle there was also a very brief view of a Dipper!
We had breakfast or brunch as it was, by 11am & enjoyed a full Scottish, before finishing the final leg of the journey to Kennacraig harbour. We had around 30 minutes to spare & scanning the bay produced several Red-throated Diver & Black Guillemot.
We boarded the ferry for the crossing shortly after midday and took our position for birding during the crossing on the side deck.
The crossing as usual provided a good cross section of wintering seabirds. Several Red-throated Diver, numerous c40 Great Northern Diver & a fantastic raft of 15 Black-throated Diver.
There was also lots of Shag, Red-breasted Merganser & Wigeon. Also of note were several more Black Guillemot, Kittiwake, c10 Common Scoter plus a fly-by Velvet Scoter & Gannet
We arrived late afternoon at Port Ascraig and decided to head for the accommodation, via the Supermarket at Bowmore.
We stopped off several times for the big flocks of Barnacle & Greenland White-fronted Geese, we also scanned the Loch Indaal bay just from the outskirts of Bowmore, where we had nice scope views of some c40 Common Scoter, c12 Long-tailed Duck, 5 Slavonian Grebe, Eider & Goldneye.
We eventually dragged ourselves away, deciding that we really ought to make sure we secured our food provisions for the next few days! After shopping we did have wonderful views of around c7000 Barnacle Geese going to roost at the head of Loch Indaal.
Tuesday 12th February – The Oa & SE to Claggan Bay