Saturday, 6 May 2017

Scotland Again - Handa Island

We looked at the weather and Wednesday was suddenly looking better along the west coast so we phoned the ferry man Tuesday afternoon and decide to go to Handa Island, managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, what a brilliant day. We spent just short of 5 hours on the island and did the prescribed circular walk, stopping for coffees and lunch as we progressed.

When you arrive on the island after taking the 10 minute crossing on a RIB from Tarbet,
you are met by some of the wardens at the beach where they bring a gangplank for you to walk down onto the beach. They then take you up to the Visitor Centre,

where they give you a 5 minute talk about the island and of course asking you to keep to the paths so as not to disturb the breeding birds. It's best to make use of the facilities here as there is no where else to go on the island.

I suppose the star of the day for us on the island where the Great Skua, they weren't bothered by people at all, of course we kept to the paths and weren't tempted to stray to get better views or a better photo. I did take loads of Skua photos and it's difficult to pick what to put on the blog, but I will add them all to Flickr in due course, that can be accessed from the link on the menus of this blog site.
Anyway here are a few;

As we walked up from the vistor centre up to the Cliffs (about 1.5km) we flushed a pair of Snipe that were right next to the boardwalk, which was a nice sighting. At the Cliffs there is a small loch where the Skuas go to wash as can be seen above, but then you find the Fulmars,

I have a real soft spot for Fulmars, they seem to fly around the cliffs just for fun!

Of course wheres there's cliffs at this time of year there will be Razorbills,
and Guillemots.
Just behind these rocks we saw our one and only Puffin of the trip, it scurried down a burrow before I could take his photo and sadly didn't come out again. Never mind there's always the Farne Islands in June!

Once at the far side of the island we came acroos plenty of Skylarks, Meadow Pipits,  Wheatear and views!

We stopped for lunch overlooking a bay frequented by Otters, so we were told, but of course not today,
after which we carried on around the island heading back towards the visitor centre, seeing plenty more Skuas and a few other birds too

 and plenty of Rabbits,
 There were a number of Shag about, some overflying Divers,
Ringed Plover and Oystercatchers, then from the boat on our return to Tarbet a pair of Eider

I really loved our time on Handa, the weather was great, the walk was brilliant and the birdlife outstanding.

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