A slightly cloudy morning today at Clachtoll Beach but we already know what we want to do today. Not too much driving for Peter – just a trip down to Lochinver for a spot of food shopping and some diesel and then onwards to Inverkirkaig, the little bay where we saw several birds yesterday.
Shopping and diesel done, we once again passed the dear little Lochinver Primary School set on a small promontory over Loch Culeg. What a wonderful situation for a school!
We managed to park Bessie right beside the pebbly beach at Inverkirkaig so that we could also see the grassland and tiny stream beside it. It wasn’t long before one of the juvenile Dunlins turned up on the grass, on the shore and on a rock behind us. Not quite sure why it was doing his Long John Silver impersonation on the rock!
Out on the water was a Red-Breasted Merganser – this time we were able to get a better picture with the Sigma lens and could really appreciate the patterning on his body.
Our old friends, the Oystercatchers were out in force on the shore but every now and then, for no discernible reason they would get spooked and all fly up as one, merely to land again a few yards away (also see featured image above).
It’s a definite advantage if you can sit in comfort and use Bessie as a sort of hide. Peter spotted this Ringed Plover out of the corner of his eye and the close-up lens picked it up beautifully. This one has clearly been tagged – a sort of ringed Ringed Plover then…
The tiny stream proved an excellent bathing pool for this Pied Wagtail:
But the real piece de resistance came when, with a flutter of tiny wings, a group of about five Lesser Redpolls turned up by the stream. Fortunately, I had a chance to take a couple of photos of one of them before a noisy van came round the bend and, as quickly as they had arrived, they all departed, never to be seen again – well not by us anyway.
Some Eider Ducks were seen further out in the bay but we decided to call it a day with no further excitement. Still, we count outselves really lucky to have seen our first Lesser Redpoll, which has to rival the Twite for cutest small bird, not forgetting the Goldcrest of course. 🙂
Driving back, we rounded a bend and discovered, instead of the usual sheep, a deer in the middle of the road!
We both waited until it carefully and delicately, and with a look of complete disdain, walked onto the verge and down a slope.
The afternoon sun was working its magic on the countryside
and we decided to try the coastline above Clachtoll for a change, but first we had to negotiate the helter-skelter road.
The cloudscapes here were wonderful
and the lighthouse at Stoer Point looked a bit like a Disney castle in the afternoon glow.
A feature of this peninsular seemed to be drystone walls – something that we have never seen elsewhere in this part of Scotland as usually there are no boundaries to fields.
Another feature, perhaps not quite so charming, are the farmyards where nothing seems to be disposed of even when it’s well past its useful life.
At the little bay in Culkein further round, we found yet more Eider Ducks but this time we were a bit closer and could take some better photos.
On our way back to the campsite we passed through the village of Stoer which also has a beautiful beach and an old church as well – a more attractive ruin!
Back at Clachtoll, the sun had come out brightly again and so we took a stroll down to the beach. When we had seen it on the first night it had been high tide and so we hadn’t really appreciated just how lovely it was. The light was perfect as you can see from these pictures.
To cap it all we saw a Red-Throated Diver quite close to shore but, as their name suggests, they spend a lot of time beneath the water so it’s tricky to get a good shot.
A fishing boat drifted past returning its collection of holiday fishermen to the campsite and silhouetted against the sun.
The quantity of wildflowers in the grassland above the beach is one of the best things about this part of the world – no pesticides used here. Surely this is the way it should be?
We had interesting cloudscapes as the sun started to set on the horizon just before 10pm
and the sky was still light enough to see clearly at 11.45pm!
We will be sorry to leave Clachtoll Beach tomorrow – it’s a truly beautiful and unspoilt place.
Stupendous. Another day with every type of photograph catered for. Cloudscapes are amazing, beaches are unbelievable, plant life superb, landscapes stunning and star of the show (but only just) the Lesser Redpoll. What a fabulous day!
Nature at it’s best!