A pair of fulmar's already paired up on the cliff.
Tales from Grey Haven - Part 2.
It’s been another peaceful morning here at Grey Haven that sits right on the coast of the Isle of Lewis. Just so you understand why it’s always morning reports so far, I have a little scientist in my head (kind of) and that leads to the fact that I always check out a new place at different times of the day. So, for now I chose the morning and then there will be a midday week and an afternoon/evening one. As some of you might know, wildlife has a certain routine as well. Now some routines might be a bit more fluid than others, but overall I try to see who tends to be more active depending on the time of day. The times when I’m not at the cliffs, I then take the scope and binos to look out from the house. This way, if there is something going on, I can run down to the cliffs if it’s picture-worthy. Once the days get more stable, I may stay at the cliffs for the whole day and get the full picture. Anyway, going back to my morning at the cliffs...
Oystercatcher on the rocks
There are truly not many places that will lead you to such an abundance of wildlife basically just a few steps outside the house, even here in Scotland. As the migrating birds return almost day by day the bay and cliffs get busier and busier. Already a week ago I started to hear the first kittiwakes and the fulmars starting to check out the region. Now a week later the first fulmars found their partners and are sitting at their nesting spots already. The kittiwakes are now calling all morning, I even hear them from the house! The animals seem so busy, and there is really not a single dull moment. As I passed the fulmars, I had my first ocean scan of the day, the conditions were perfect. A little overcast and not a single wave. There(!), the first fin, a harbour porpoise was busy hunting amidst a flock of kittiwakes that were just floating on the water. Well that looks promising! As I made my way to the rock on which I usually sit for a while, I saw a couple of oystercatchers. I love their cheerful calls and quite often find them because of it.
The grey seal staring back at me!
On “my” rock I had a scan and found a couple of splashes very far away, but close enough to tell that it must be a big dolphin. I put my binoculars down to try and see if I could get some pictures. Funnily enough there was a grey seal looking at me from only about 20 metres away. Since he was there, I thought a picture never hurts and then went back to the distant dolphins. Even with the pictures it was hard to tell whether it was Risso’s or white-beaked dolphins. But the best picture I got from them shows that it most likely was white-beaked dolphins. Happy with that, I put down the camera and was not prepared for the porpoises that were literally hunting right underneath me! Wow! I was so so happy to see that it was a mum and her baby swimming past me. As I now looked around to maybe find some more, there actually were three more adults in the bay. It seemed like they were foraging but also just hanging out. After a while the mum and her little one swam past me again before they disappeared. It’s a truly amazing sight to see a mum and her calf, especially when the calf looks so healthy!
A harbour porpoise calf swims alongside its mother.
On my last scan, I then saw some more splashes and it turned out to be Risso’s dolphins! Again, too far away to have nice photos, but at least good enough to know which dolphin it was.
I really enjoy taking you all out on my walks with me here in the Outer Hebrides and to let you know what I find around the house! I really can't believe that Grey Haven is now my home!
Enjoy the read and take good care!
Hebridean Adventures - From Sea to Shore.
Guided wildlife tours by land and sea around the Outer Hebrides and the west coast of the Scottish highlands.
Come join us aboard the MV Monadhliath and in our minibus for a choice of wildlife tours to remember or checkout our range of activity cruises led by our expert partners! The seas here are home to whales, dolphins, porpoise, seals, basking sharks, otters and numerous seabirds including puffins, while golden and white-tailed eagles rule the skies. (In normal years!) Departures are available in season from Mallaig, Ullapool and Stornoway from April to October. If you have a group or are a family ask us about a private charter and have the boat all to yourself! Also available for research, filming and other commercial charters too.
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