Monday, 25 March 2013

Harlequin shows well in North Uist

Since the 1st winter male Harlequin was spotted bobbing about on the sea off Balranald on 18th February, I have made regular visits in an attempt to get a decent photo. The first visit left me with a dripping wet digiscoping camera after it shot out of my pocket and straight into a rock pool, thus limiting me to my SLR and 300mm lens. Every time I turned up this cracking duck was present although the resulting distant, dark blobs in a huge seascape left quite a lot to be desired and even more to the imagination. It was always just too far off-shore for me to produced anything of any use. Then I received some superb images from a visiting birder, Josh Jones which I gratefully posted on my site ( although I have to admit with a little envy of his obviously good views.

At last today the persistence paid off and we (John Kemp and I) had mega views; initially feeding a reasonable distance away at around 150 - 200ft I was firing off rounds of shots when this happened:

I was quite low to the water as the Harlequin alighted on the sea and could not actually see the bird at all although John was happily clicking away in his more elevated position. After a tortuous wait it eventually swam out and allowed me to take some more images although unfortunately against the light. Luckily for me it then came back around the rocky promontary I was on and clambered out of the water a mere 20 - 30 ft away.

It then continued to make up for all those distant views and slightly disappointing visits by swimming back and forth in front of us for the next 20 minutes whilst it fed quite contentedly.

Happy blowing bubbles

Add to that 3 Iceland Gulls (2 x 1st winter and an adult), a 1st winter Glaucous Gull, a female Ring-necked Duck and an immature White-tailed Eagle to make a good start to the week.

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