This morning is sunny and bright but very, very blustery. We walked down to the beach as the tide was out and managed to get a passable photo of the Wheatear at last as he hopped around on the grass.
The beach was covered in the usual seaweed which we had to navigate before we got to the rocks and the first patch of fine white sand. This Rock Pipit popped in and out of the rocks and in the distance a flock of Turnstones flew along the water’s edge before setting down on the seaweed to root around with the Dunlins.
Looking up again, I photographed this large dark bird which, on checking our Scottish Birds book when we got back to Bessie, discovered was a Great Skua or Bonxie (I don’t know the derivation of this name!) which breeds mainly in the Northern Isles and the Hebridean islands. A powerful bird indeed.
The island of Fuday looks wonderful today, bathed in sunshine.
We started heading back over the seaweed and rocks when suddenly the wind increased and we were caught in a hail storm, stinging our faces as we rushed back to Bessie over the grass. This weather is certainly challenging!
We spent the early afternoon in Bessie while the storm raged and then, as we have come to realise is so typical of this place, the sun returned and, although still windy, the skies were blue and we decided to take our usual trip down the west coast to see what we could see. The island was looking breathtakingly beautiful and every bend in the narrow winding road brought forth a sharp intake of breath from me as a new panorama was set out before us, from primrose strewn grassland to azure bays and lochs. This is just a selection of photographs to illustrate what I mean.
The Atlantic surf was dramatic but we decided to try to get to the beach that we had taken Sally to as a two-year old 42 years ago at Halaman Bay. Greylag Geese were grazing on the grassland but as we reached the dunes, the wind got up again and we decided to return to Bessie as it would have been impossible to take decent photographs. Hopefully the weather will calm down before we leave next Friday so that we can return to this beautiful beach.
We carried on along the road around the island up the east coast. In spite of the wind, the sea was still blue and the sun continued to shine although it was, by this time early evening.
Glancing to our left, we spotted a pair of Whimbrel and an Oystercatcher in the garden of a house. How wonderful to have wildlife like this visiting you!
Our most interesting find, however, was a pair of Golden Plovers. The male, in particular, looked amazing. He appeared to be wearing an ocelot coat with matching hat, all trimmed in ermine. We do feel privileged indeed.
A few miles away from ‘home’ another hailstorm hit us with enormous ferocity, stopping as suddenly as it had started and followed a few minutes later by brilliant sun. We didn’t have to wait long for the inevitable rainbow. Arriving back at the campsite, it was as if the hailstorm arrived with us and we had a second helping. This time the rainbow appeared as a continuous hoop above the Sound of Barra but although Peter bravely stepped outside to photograph it, it was so large that he could only get it in in two halves!
From here on in the weather deteriorated rapidly and I was seriously worried that Bessie would be bowled over, such was the ferocity of the gale force winds buffeting us wildly from side to side. Listening to the shipping forecast at midnight, the Hebrides was described as ‘cyclonic’. I was not surprised…
I’m beginning to run out of adjectives to describe the photographs of landscapes and birds! Awe-inspiring.
We know what you mean!