Self found rarity: Iceland Gull

After some shopping in Ullapool we headed further up north to a tiny village at the west coast, called Tarbet. This is a village where we will have boat ride from tomorrow morning to the adjacent Handa Island, a real paradise for seabirds including breeding skuas. From Ullapool we drove through some astonishing landscapes and habitats. Scotland is truly magical just as we’ve been told by everyone ever visited this part of Great Britain. Birdlife was pretty much the same on most of the open areas. European Skylarks and Meadow Pipits were singing almost everywhere. Common Cuckoos called frequently and been chased by these potential host birds.

We kept our eyes on the heather covered moors for Red (Willow) Grouse. iPhone 6s Plus © Gyorgy Szimuly

A vintage car, an abandoned and ruined house at the lake surrounded by hills is all you need for a perfect love story movie. iPhone 6s Plus © Gyorgy Szimuly

A very interesting geological formation is visible on the opposite Glencoul Thrust. In the diagonal pink layer of the 540 million years old Cambrian quartzite in covered a much older, 3,000 million years old Lewison gneiss. Unthinkable powers must have turned these hills upside down? iPhone 6s Plus © Gyorgy Szimuly

The blooming Gorse made this beuatiful landscape picturesque. iPhone6s Plus © Gyorgy Szimuly

Not far from Tarbet I spotted a Golden Eagle glided towards to main road behind the Loch A Bhadaidh Daraich. Unfortunately, I could stop the car a just a little further up on the hill and subsequently I lost sight of this majestic bird.

4 Common Cuckoos have been cahsed by Meadow Pipits around the hill and the lake. iPhone 6s Plus © Gyorgy Szimuly

The family restaurant at the Tarbet port was already closed at our arrival so we prepared for a nice evening dinner at the hillside bench with a company of about 200 cheeky and annoying midges. Long daylight hours allowed us birdwatching quite late. I sat on a rock and enjoyed the acoustic of the little port surrounded by cliffs and hills. 4-6 Common Sandpiper were endlessly calling and making display flights around us and the territorial calls of Eurasian Oystercatchers filled the whole harbour. A Red-breasted Merganser and Red-throated Divers were fishing in the peaceful water. There were some gull activity as well. Common Gulls, British Lesser Black-backed Gulls, European Herring Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls and a few Black-headed Gulls turned up or flew over the bay. As I followed an Artic Tern chasing away a Great Black-backed Gull a strange looking and flying gull crossed the field of the binoculars. WOW, it was a juvenile, 2Y Iceland Gull. A self found rarity finally.

The Iceland Gull crossed the bay and landed behind rocks on the left side where I lost sight. it was a clear and nice view but it would have been nice to see it through the scope. Anyway, I am very happy about this finding, as it was my first British record of this bird.

Sunset at the Tarbet harbour. iPhone 6s Plus © Gyorgy Szimuly


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