I returned to Brora today having researched the new location of the Harlequin Duck. Sputie Burn is on the other side of the mouth of the River Brora some 1 – 2 miles from the beach car park and a considerable distance from where I was watching yesterday. The walk loaded with watching equipment was a fairly pleasant one along fields and stretches of beach.
The tide was out but there were pools of water between the rocks therefore I felt reasonably confident that finding the bird would not pose too much of a problem. Provided it had not departed back to Iceland of course!
Once at Sputie Burn I set up the telescope and began scanning the rocks. I saw two Sandwich Terns sat on rocks and noticed a duck sat with them. In fact it was the only duck within the rock pools. Bingo the Harlequin Duck was in the scope well that didn’t take too much effort on this occasion!
Sputie burn itself is a mini waterfall that falls on to the shore. It looks out of place but must be a welcome sight for any tired migrants who would first be drawn by the gorse and the bushes that surround the burn. (I need to mess around with the photo so that it loads!)
I spied several Seals at Sputie Burn and after the trek felt like joining them for a snooze before returning to the car for a refuel and on to my next destination. The next stop was Glen Affric NNR where I hoped to run into some Crossbills. These birds have been next to non-existent for the majority of birders I have spoken too. I have not even heard birds in flight and there is plenty of habitat here.
I stopped at several areas once inside the reserve but could not locate a single bird. Logging is still taking place on parts of this site which spoils the landscape but there was still plenty of breathtaking view to be had of the area. The walk up to the viewpoint along the Dog Falls trail was well worth the uphill hike with splendid views of Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhain and surrounding mountains.
It is back to the drawing board on the Crossbill front! The days are flying by but this adventure is not over yet!