As expected, today the sky is covered in deep cloud and the sea has taken on a sullen look. Driving down to the jetty there was nothing special to see, apart from the Thrift that is now flowering in the rock crevices, but we decided to walk along the white sand beach that would eventually lead us back to the campsite if we walked for long enough.
There was a group of four people chatting in the distance but as we approached they broke up and we found ourselves in conversation with one couple with two Jack Russells. They were German and had been coming to Barra for 30 years. I trumped that with our 1971 visit but they certainly beat us as they had come every year over that period. They loved the Outer Hebrides in general and also the Isle of Wight!
Apparently they used to stay at Sir Compton Mackenzie’s old house, opposite the airport. It used to be run as a B & B but now is left shut up. What a shame as it would make a lovely home. One of the dogs found an enormous piece of wood and struggled over the sand with it, delighted. We still miss our two…
As we walked back to Bessie a flypast of Sanderlings caught our attention. They were heading towards our beach outside the campsite, or perhaps further afield to South Uist?
We decided to take the drive down to Castlebay, keeping an eye open for anything interesting on the way.
At Earsary we found a Common Sandpiper on a rock – alone as usual.
Over on a rock the Tern couple were separated and ignoring each other but there was nothing else of note.
As we approached Castlebay this strange sheep caught our attention. She seemed to be looking straight at us, showing off her non-matching earrings. I must say she makes me giggle just to look at her photo!
I saw what I believe to be a Rock Pipit on a rock (!)
and after popping into the Co-op for a few things we drove over to Vatersay. On the way we passed what we’re equally sure to be a meadow pipit and not just because he in the grass!
There were quite a few different bird species over at our favourite bay. A few Dunlins and Sanderlings (which are often seen together). For those who don’t know, the Dunlin is the one with a black tummy.
One of the Sanderlings has already changed into his summer plumage but seems to be the only one so far.
It’s interesting to see the difference in size between the Iceland Gull and the Sanderling…
If you remember, we were talking about love being in the air on Barra. Well, we’ve never seen this behaviour before with the Ringed Plovers…
… And just look at this male’s eyes! Somehow the white ring above his eyes has separated making him look pop-eyed at the female’s attitude!
There is a lone Common Sandpiper (of course) poking around in the seaweed for food…
Driving back over to Barra, Castlebay was bathed in a welcome early evening sun…
… And we picked up two new birds for Barra this year, a Song Thrush and a Goldfinch. We saw the latter in this area two years ago.
Driving out of Castlebay we spotted something we had not seen before – the statue of Our Lady of the Sea with the baby Jesus – which is sited up on Ben Heaval (highest hill on Barra at 383m above sea level, where she looks out over the bay. She was erected in 1954 and stands at 275m.
She is said to look after the people of Barra, particularly the fisherman and hopefully is looking after us too.
A wonderful array of birds today by the looks of things, although perhaps the most impressive thing is the way that dog is managing to hold that huge piece of wood in its mouth and off the ground!
So many great photographs to choose from today but top spot goes to my old favourite the Goldfinch which is also one of the most beautiful birds in flight. Love the lamb photobombing the strange sheep>
I love the expression on the punk sheep, and the Goldfinch is gorgeous.
…the punk sheep’s face that should read.
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