Sutherland, or more specifically Assynt, was wild, majestic, awesome...also quite cold and predominantly drizzly. Never mind, some good weather enabled a trip to Point of Stoer and great prolonged views of Risso's dolphin - about eight adults and two youngsters. Our visit coincided with David Haines conducting a WDCS shorewatch survey and it was interesting to learn that a small group of these dolphins inhabit the northern part of The Minch, sightings of the youngsters are not too frequent though, so a good record for the survey. He also recorded common dolphin, harbour porpoise and basking shark that day!
|Risso's dolphin leaping|
|Point of Stoer Lighthouse|
|Stac Polliadh from the direction of Suilven|
|View towards Cul Mor|
It was quite nice to return to warmer climes, and by Thursday I was able to catch up with the RSPB wading bird survey in the Cherwell Valley, which again produced curlews, and a brief view of a barn owl with prey.
|barn owl with prey|
By Saturday I even had time to catch up with the melodious warbler currently in residence near Marsh Lane Nature Reserve in Warwickshire. A great songster, showing well defending his willow bush territory from all-comers (especially other warblers). The melodious warbler does not breed in the UK, but it's range extends to northern France, so is a potential colonist as climate change progresses.
|male melodious warbler, as the ad says, doing what it says on the tin (singing beautifully!)|