Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Golden Eagle

Thursday 12th March

The forecast was for heavy rain by 11.30 so we only had a small window in which to find and photgraph Eagles. Dave had a location in the Findhorn Valley in mind and he could not have chosen better. As we arrived a couple of Ravens flew over and then a larger bird of prey. It could have been an Eagle but we were unable to confirm the sighting.

We got the cameras and scopes ready expecting a long wait but within minutes we had another bird drifting over the crag and this time there was no doubt, a Golden Eagle. Then the dilemma, look at it through the scope or try to get a picture. I, of course, tried both and probably did not get the best out of either, and, when a second Eagle turned up, I made an even bigger hash of it by locking up the controls on the camera and missing the shots of the two tumbling together.

The pictures are awful but given the weather and the distances involved I was happy to get any images.  For me they are a record of a few of the best hours birding that I have experienced. Ravens, Eagles, a Peregrine, a Sparrow Hawk, and a Dipper all without moving more than a few feet from the car.

It is only when you see a bad picture that you realise how effective the human eye is. Watching them live they appeared close and you could see all the detail, looking at the pictures visibility looks something close to zero. All the shots have been rescued after a lot of work on Photoshop.

A flyby - my only half decent shot

Perched on top of the crag - very distant

The white patches on the wing show this as a subadult probably year two or year three. It takes between five and seven years for the bird to gain its full adult plumage.

The rain set in at eleven thirty just as forecast and with nothing else for us to see in the valley we headed up to the coast. We found a raft of about forty Scaup just of Alturlie Point and a Red-throated Diver off Burgh Head but other than this there was not a lot about.

Scaup, male and female

Red-throated Diver

Well that gets rid of a lot of the worst photographs from the trip and just in case you were wondering what happened to Wednesday the answer is not a lot. Here are a few equally poor shots from that day.

The first just in case you are not sure of the differences between a Shag and a Cormorant and the second a Song Thrush as we could not relocate the Twite and the Yellowhammer I could hear singing disappeared very time I went to press the shutter. The seals looked promising but I was slowly sinking into the mud and could not get any closer.

Shag and Cormorants at Burgh Head

Song Thrush

Seals at Findhorn Bay

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