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Early May 2024 trips

A tale of two trips! Two back to back trips on the peninsula, one focusing on otters, one focusing on birds of prey and with very different outcomes.

Trip 1 – picked up an otter early at first site. We were lucky and saw a bitch feeding in calm conditions around 50m off shore within the first 5 minutes. After tracking for a period, we moved into position, but she didn’t come ashore and instead continued along the coast. This was a good opportunity to try out fieldcraft learning and we moved along the beach to a new location where we could sit out of sight waiting for her to come ashore. She duly obliged and we had a great view of her having a short rest and groom before re-entering the water. We moved again to a new set of rocks and waited. She fished off shore for a good 40 minutes in a single spot before coming in for a sleep. She slept solidly for a good 20 minutes and then headed off towards her holt when we left her to it. A fantastic 2 and a half hour experience with some wonderful close ups and hunting/resting behaviour.

We headed back to Loch Aline for more otter time and lunch at The Whitehouse Restaurant – their new light lunch options are fabulous. While waiting, we caught sight of a white tailed eagle that developed into four of them circling above Old Ardtornish Castle.

In the afternoon, we picked up another close up White tail and a distant Golden Eagle before a hen harrier and merlin later on. A really brilliant day overall.

Trip 2 – The brief on this one was birds of prey. We started with flat calm conditions and I wasn’t hopeful. Having duly been the doom and gloom merchant, we picked up a peregrine at height, buzzards, a hen harrier and merlin as we drove through Morvern, which was a good treat. The peregrine was a second new location for the last few weeks, so I’m hoping that there are a couple of new ones around. Our main destination was West Ardnamurchan with the hope that the wind would pick up.

Eventually after lunch the wind obliged and as we got towards Kilchoan we spotted 6 Golden eagles, some quite low. After Kilchoan we had a low pass from a white tail and headed to the lighthouse. Not a lot around and visibility was suboptimal, so we headed back and were treated to buzzard/hen harrier battle nearby. Really lucky seeing this.

In all we finished the day with 7 Golden eagles, 1 white tailed eagle, 2 merlins, 2 hen harriers and a peregrine (along with countless buzzards).

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