Thursday 2 January 2014

Good deed for the day

Although it is a Bank Holiday in Scotland today I was back at work doing important things like sorting out my expenses for my trip South just before Christmas and starting to look at what I need to get completed and handed over before I finish with the company I'm working for as I'm one of a number of staff that were made redundant just before Christmas.

Just before lunch the phone rang and it was my birder friend Barrie. I immediately began to wonder what interesting new species he had found on the patch that would cause him to ring and give me the heads up. However it wasn't good news as he had found a beached Great Northern Diver down near the Sands Hotel and asked if I could pop down and take a look and give him a hand to move it.

I quickly loaded a suitable box with a couple blankets in it into the car and set off. On arrival I met up with Barrie and Linda who took me to where the bird was, sat on the footpath just at the top of the beach.

Great Northern Diver sat on the foot path - Photo by Barrie
It looked fairly healthy, no signs of injury or oiling. It didn't get agitated as I got close to it so I picked it up and took it back down to the water's edge.

Taking the diver back to the water - Photo by Barrie
As soon as I put it into the water it dived and swam off resurfacing about 20-30M out into the sea. It had a bit of a wash and was able to standup in the water and flap its wings so it must have been in reasonable shape, probably just tired after the recent storms.

Although you could see it trying to paddle out further into the sea the strong onshore breeze and current were carrying it back towards the shore and as soon as it reached the shore it rather clumsily hauled itself out of the water. A second attempt to put it back in the water resulted in the same thing happening.

Diver back on the beach - Photo by Barrie
Time to get some advice, first though I had to find somewhere where I could get a phone signal on the mobile. So a short trip to a higher point in the village soon had me on the phone to Brian, another birding friend, who had looked after injured birds in the past. His advice was to try and put it back onto the water in a quieter spot where there wasn't a strong onshore breeze/current.

So the bird was put into the box and transported from the beach on the South side of the village to Echna Bay to the North of the village where the sea was pretty much flat calm. Again as soon as the bird was in the water it swam off stopping to bathe and stretch its wings. This time with no wind or current to battle with it swam off along the shoreline and started exploring in amongst the floating seaweed. After watching it for about ten minutes and it showing no signs of returning to the beach it was left to its own devices.

Swimming off into Echna Bay - Photo by Barrie
Before leaving a quick check on the other side of the road on Echna Loch added another new species to the patch list, this time a Little Grebe. Another one that I should have had last year but eluded me.

Mid afternoon I had to go and collect my good lady from her weekly trip out with one of her friends and as I drove down the hill towars the main road I saw a female Kestrel fly across the road in front of me, giving me my first raptor of the year and my 40th species for this year's patch list.

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