Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Farland to Fintry; new additions to the rogue’s gallery

It was beautiful and sunny yesterday here on Cumbrae and I was supposed to be correcting my literature review. Of course I decided the best course of action was to text Matt, get some sandwiches, the binoculars and the camera and head out for a walk. Deciding on the unorthodox route of heading through town and around the Targets Walk to Fintry Bay.
So, leaving the usual stomping ground, we shouldered the rucksacks and set out into the sun. Instantly greeted by the sight of the Waverly, the wonderful working paddle steamer, chuffing into Millport we set off in hot pursuit, hoping to get a couple of snaps of her at the pier. So far, so good.

On board this beauty you can take a trip around the Gannetry at Aisla Craig!
Unfortunately I was swiftly reminded about why I never take the route through town, too many tourists, ice cream-sticky children and careening cyclists for my liking, and we were soon on the road out of town.
After the trouble of getting a clear view of Reed Bunts in the Phragmites they seemed to be everywhere, peeping from the long grass, eyeing us from the branches.

This individual was being mithered by tiny flies.
Cutting past the boat yard and the water treatment plant we were soon on the beach and rewarded by the peeping of nearby Ringed Plover…. But where were they?
My 500 lens makes it hard for me to centre in on things at the best of times (even when I have a clear view, as soon as I lift the camera I have to spend a few seconds reacquiring my target). A well camouflaged plover with its back to me was always going to be trouble. The wary little birds switched swiftly between eyeing us suspiciously, feeding and keeping a tilted eye on the skies for potential predators and I got some lovely snaps before it was time to move on.

Perfectly coloured to vanish amongst the pebbles...

I wish I had a better shot of them checking the skies above, I'll have to be back out on the beach again next sunny day :)
I’m so glad we did, as the path cut inland we could hear a grating chirp coming from the lush growth beside one of the numerous streams. Soon enough, up popped a wonderfully striped Sedge Warbler, seemingly unbothered by my lens and happily going about its business, too-ing and fro-ing from its well concealed nest.

The undergrowth wasn't giving me any clear shots, but when he (or possibly she) emerged it was only for a few seconds at a time...
... never staying in one place for too long.
Then, with the Café in mind, we were off again. My constant stalling of our quiet walk for every bird wasn’t earning me any points with Matt, so when I looked at the crags to our right and let out a “Bugger!” he carried meandering on. Only stopping when I didn’t get a shift on. What had caught my attention was one of the local Peregrines I’d heard so much about around the marine station, the first one I’d seen since I moved to the island.
Sat atop the a jutting outcrop and in the shade (annoyingly), it seemed oblivious to everything around it. Closer inspection of my pictures when I returned home revealed its head was constantly in motion, including one shot of it staring straight down the lens. 

Oh! For better light!
After sufficient devotion we carried on, pausing briefly to watch the Shelduck and another pair of Common Sandpipers calling across the rocks. Then, following a sufficient feast of banana milkshake, toffee apple cake, banoffee pie and ice cream at Fintry Bay (and with Matthew quickly descending into hayfever hell) we took the quick route back over the hills to Millport, pausing only briefly to snap the seals, a full blown gull fight and a gorgeous feeding BH Gull, before trudging the rest of the way home, thoroughly worn out and drained from the sun. Totally worth it.

It's not a bad view from our street!

1 comment:

  1. My you made me sound grumpy...spot on. As ever dear, lovely pictures. Some of them I don't even remember you taking..

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