Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Will Ye No Come Back Again

The day was set fair for my last look, this trip at least, at Scotland as I had strategically placed myself on the bank of the River Ythan in the Udly Hotel again hoping, yes desperately hoping to see the King Eider. The view form the window told the weather tail, a heavy frost, clear atmosphere, little wind and more than a chance of rain so quickly off to breakfast.

A huge astronomical tide had all but drained the estuary of water but looking to the west, flocks of shore birds were enjoying the exposed mud,

while to the east a few Eiders could be seen in the distance. This would be the place to start the search!

Can you see it yet? No neither could I.

A bunch (or maybe the collective noun is 'string') of Knot flew in

and settled on the far bank with an Oystercatcher

while it wasn't until the River Mouth that the Eiders were found.

They were not alone, the usual colony (harem, herd, pod, rookery or spring) of Atlantic Grey Seals

were relaxing on the sand spit and making a right din.

In Praise of the Humble Eider
This large, bulky and powerful 'sea duck' is a real favourite of mine especially at this range, but something had seemed to spook this 'raft' of Northern Eider.

They were soon back to preening and wing stretching, but there was a little more going on than that.

Early in the year but these lot were already billing and cooing,

with male birds standing erect (if that's the right word) and

showing off to the girls.

First you puff your chest right out,

then throw your head back and let out a mighty Awowooooooooooo!

Once you've shown your dominance and she is quite submissive

the World is Your Scallop,

or in the case of this female your Oyster for breakfast. However gents, don't make the mistake of trying this with the little lady at home as the only cooing will be "coo that hurt"!

Others on the estuary included Cormorant,


Sanderling and

Red-breasted Merganser.

The King Eider was not seen, so
The Year (January) List still stands at 190

Unfortunately it was rapidly reaching noon and the car had to be returned before catching the early afternoon flight to London Heathrow. As a young lad in the Bramcote Hills School for Boys, one of our party piece songs was this fine Scottish poem put to music by I don't know whom, but great words nonetheless. I have sung this to myself every day I've been here and sincerely hope it won't be too long before I do return.


There's a clean wind blowing o'r hill-flower and peat
Where the bell-heather's growing, and the brown burn flowing
and the ghost-shadows going down the glen on stealthy feet
There's a clean wind blowing, and the breath of it is sweet

There's a clean wind blowing, and the world holds but three
The purple peak against the sky, the master wind, and me
The moor birds are tossing like ships upon the sea
There's a clean wind blowing, a clean wind blowing free.

There's a clean wind blowing, untainted of the town,
A fair-hitting foe-man with his glove flung down.
Will ye take his lordly challenge and the gauntlet that he throws,
And come forth among the heather
Where the clean wind blows !

I am not big on giving advice but will say that if you have never had the pleasure of visiting Scotland I would strongly urge a visit to this wonderful country of ever changing scenes. However, I know a lot of 'off-shore workers' who don't quite see it like that.

Finally, as can be seen from the 'Flags Table' there have been some dramatic increases in the readership and 2 new countries entering the 3 Figure Zone. Both Poland and Japan have leapfrogged Switzerland, but it looks likely that they plus Ireland and Taiwan will soon be up there with them.

A HUGE Thank You to All, hoping you will pass the link on to Friends & Family.

Num Perc. Country Name

drill down2848275.57%United KingdomUnited Kingdom
drill down23236.16%United StatesUnited States
drill down5111.36%CanadaCanada
drill down4201.11%EstoniaEstonia
drill down4071.08%GermanyGermany
drill down3590.95%AustraliaAustralia
drill down3510.93%FranceFrance
drill down2620.70%NetherlandsNetherlands
drill down2620.70%New ZealandNew Zealand
drill down2580.68%ItalyItaly
drill down2420.64%SpainSpain
drill down2340.62%IndiaIndia
drill down2120.56%BrazilBrazil
drill down1770.47%JapanJapan
drill down1540.41%SwedenSweden
drill down1470.39%BelgiumBelgium
drill down1310.35%Russian FederationRussian Federation
drill down1060.28%PolandPoland
drill down980.26%SwitzerlandSwitzerland
drill down930.25%IrelandIreland
drill down920.24%TaiwanTaiwan

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