Return to Skye: Part three.
Decided to visit Glen Brittle this morning. It is really at the back of The Cuillins and I had never been there before in any of my previous visits. It turned out to be very worthwhile. The Cuillins tower over the glen and can really make you feel very small indeed! At the end of the road the River Brittle runs out into Loch Brittle and there is quite a expance of what seems like volcanic sand, for it is a mixture of white and black sand. A very pretty place where I managed to get quite close to a family of Ringed Plover and I was pleased with the resulting shots.
From there we then decided on a whim to go back to Plockton for the late after-noon and evening. We spent the evening with the crabbing lines off of a floating pontoon and found the crabs in a very hungry and feisty mood. You didn't have to wait long for them to latch on, and you could catch two or three at a time and very quickly. They of course all went back and we headed back too.
Once we were back on the island however, we then decided, again on a whim, to stop of at the Kylerhea Otter Sanctuary. As yet, I have never been lucky enough to see an Otter there and this evening did not prove to be the exception! I do normally see deer there however, and by the time we had come away, we had seen nineteen Red Deer and one Roe Doe in exactly the same spots as I always see them. It was almost like they turn up to welcome you back! We also saw another twenty plus Red Deer on the way back to the cottage. It is the most deer I have seen on the island on any of the trips.
The following evening we were on a ferry again! This time, it was a non-landing trip to the islands of Harris and Lewis. We had another first on this trip, seeing lots and lots of Puffins out at sea. It was really turning out to be a holiday of firsts! The next day, I had another memorable experiance when a Buzzard I was photographing seemed to take a keen interest in the camera. I had pulled up on the side of the road to take some pictures of it out on a meadow that had been cut for silage two days before. I had seen it there when they first cut, and thought there was a good chance of it being there again. Sure enough it was, and I started to take some pictures of it out of the car window.
I had been taking the odd photo for about five minutes, when the Buzazard just seemed to lock onto the camera. It was a good hundred metres away, but we all know how good the eyesight is on a bird of prey. I was watching through the lense as it bobbed its head up and down and sideways as it attempted to get a fix on the lense. It then took of and flew straight at me, only flaring about twenty metres away when it had realised that neither the camera or myself looked very tasty! All the time, I was taking pictures and got two or three very pleasing shots of a wild Buzzard flying straight at me!
It was the next evening when I was to have another great show involving the two biggest birds of prey in the British Isles. I decided to go out late in the evening to a loch not far from the cottage to see if I could see any divers on it. I also knew that it was where Golden Eagles used to nest above the loch on the cliff face, so was hopeful of perhaps getting a sighting of one of them too. I parked the car and headed off over the moor towards the loch a couple of kilometres away. The wind though had really picked up during the evening and was blowing quite hard by the time the loch came into view.
I sat with my back up against a post a good four or five hundred metres away from the loch so as not to disturb anything. It didn't take long to realise that there was nothing on the loch especially in the wind. I then looked up from the binoculars to see two Eagles sweep upwards from the cliff face. Because of the evening light and the wind, I could not at first see what Eagles they were. Then one turned and I could see the familiar wedged shape of a White Tailed Sea Eagle. I presumed that it was a pair, but then another Eagle came up from the cliff face and it was then evident that it was in fact, one Sea Eagle and a pair of Golden Eagles!
I then watched as the drama unfolded. One Golden Eagle split away from the other two, and the Sea Eagle started to just sway in the wind with its feet hanging straight down. The Golden Eagle kept alongside it as they went higher and higher. Then the Golden Eagle made its move! It got above the Sea Eagle and just went straight for it. The Sea Eagle then turned onto its back and both Eagles locked talons and started to tumble. It only lasted a few seconds, but it was enough time for the Sea Eagle to get the message and disappear over the hill and away. The pair of Golden Eagles then rejoined each other and just let the wind take them higher and higher. I looked up from the binoculars for a moment or two, and when I looked back through them, one of the Eagles had vanished!
I guess it had just folded its wings and plummeted out of sight. I watched the other Eagle for about five more minutes as it ever so slowly slipped across the wind and came back into the cliff face. I had watched the Eagles for about twenty minutes in total, and in all that time I do not remember them actually beating their wings once! Such is their mastery of the sky and their environment. Its a word I seem to use a lot when I describe wildlife, but it was truly amazing, and totally awe inspiring! And sometimes you don't need to get pictures to remember sights you see. There was no way I could have got any pictures of the Eagles, but it did not matter in the slightest. I had been there to witness the action,and that was more than enough.
Two days later and after a shorter fourteen hour journey, we were back Home in Suffolk. It had been such a memorable holiday and we had been spoilt with all the things we had seen and done. I had kept a record of what we had seen and it turned out we had seen ten different mammals, two of which we had never seen before, and seventy four species of bird, of which three species we had never seen before. It had been such a great holiday and I will say it again, it had been truly amazing!!!