It was a truly glorious day on the west coast as 16 SOC members set out from Arisaig on the Sheerwater, a passenger ferry to the Small Isles. The crossing was quite calm and we had good views of Black Guillemot and Great Northern Divers in summer plumage. 1 distant Manx Shearwater was seen and 1 equally distant Gannet. Apart from seals, cetaceans were disappointingly hard to find, although a porpoise was spotted by some.
As we approached Eigg, Common/Arctic Terns were seen as well as both Cormorant and Shag and 2 Great Skuas. After only an hour, 15 disembarked onto the pier at Eigg, 1 person continuing onto Muck for a few quiet hours walking and birdwatching. We were met at the pier by Norah Barnes, SWT Ranger on Eigg and John ‘Bird’ Chester, previous ranger and long term resident on the island. Charlie the bus transported us up the road towards Laig where we stopped and walked into a planted wooded area which is being transformed by clearing exotics, encouraging native trees to regenerate and also planting native species. The party split here, some taking a footpath down towards Laig whilst others returned to the minibus to continue their journey to Laig by bus.
We hadn’t walked far when a ragged White-tailed Eagle flew above us chased by an intrepid Sparrowhawk. The raptor bonanza had only just begun! Also in the air was a Golden Eagle, at least 3 Sparrowhawks and an unidentified falcon, probably Kestrel. We were then treated to a wonderfully prolonged display by a pair of Hen Harriers, including an aerial food pass by the male bird. What a joyous sight!
A total species count of 66 birds, including the boat trips.