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Birdlife of St Kilda

Birdlife of St Kilda


Postby Ian Johnston » Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:31 pm

A few images of the birdlife of St Kilda taken during a sea kayak trip in June 2011


Image

Gannet, Boreray


Image

The sky was full of Gannets on the paddle across from Soay Sound to Stac an Armin


Image

Nesting Fulmar on the cliffs of Conachair


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Fulmar interaction in Village Bay, Hirta


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Great Skua (Bonxie) on a Cleit on the slopes of Mullach Mor


Image

When Bonxies attack......



http://mountainandseascotland.blogspot.co.uk/
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Re: Birdlife of St Kilda

Postby andyfitz » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:24 pm

Cracking pics. I don't think I would have had the composure to grab the camera as I was being dive bombed by a Bonxie 8)
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Re: Birdlife of St Kilda

Postby fraochydug » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:47 pm

great shot of the bonxie dive-bombing your head :shock:
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Re: Birdlife of St Kilda

Postby ChrisW » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:06 am

lovely shots :D
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Re: Birdlife of St Kilda

Postby Steve B » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:00 am

Love these. I would like to have a go at Sea Kayaking at some point. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Birdlife of St Kilda

Postby Ian Johnston » Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:32 pm

Hi All,

Thanks for the kind comments!

The Bonxie attacks were certainly an experience! I've encountered them before, but never with such aggression. We were well clear of the nesting area (in the bealach between Conachair and the Radar station, known by Qinetiq staff as "Death Valley").

You'll notice that the camera's focus point is the birds feet? That's because this pass resulted in me getting a resounding slap on the forehead at full diving speed.....

My friend Douglas took some images of the attacks from behind the bird; one of these is at the bottom of a thread on the sea kayak forum at http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=86396.

There was so much more wildlife than in these images, but I didn't get any good images

Kind Regards

Ian
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Re: Birdlife of St Kilda

Postby Gavin99 » Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:49 pm

Fantastic images , Bonxies are such impressive predators . The ' bonxie's eye view' photo taken by your friend is great, you held your nerve well !
Last edited by Gavin99 on Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Birdlife of St Kilda

Postby walk aboot » Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:49 pm

Brilliant photos 8) I love the one (in the link) your friend took too :D .

I think I managed to get a snap of a St Kilda wren when I was there last year...

320825_10150265429827562_742657561_7748818_7853524_n.jpg
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Re: Birdlife of St Kilda

Postby Gavin99 » Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:54 pm

walk aboot wrote:I think I managed to get a snap of a St Kilda wren when I was there last year...

Now that is a very rare wee beastie indeed , well done on capturing it ( on camera ! ) :D
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Re: Birdlife of St Kilda

Postby Gythral » Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:34 pm

Nice photos
:thumbup:
I have visions of trying to clean bonxie crap of the UV/CPL filter if I tried that though!
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Re: Birdlife of St Kilda

Postby fraochydug » Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:07 pm

on the island of Noss there are little stashes of foot long sticks with one end painted fluorescent yellow to hold above your head as a target for the skuas, terns etc. they don't really help but its a nice gesture :lol:
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Re: Birdlife of St Kilda

Postby Ian Johnston » Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:14 pm

Wow Walk Aboot,

Well done indeed on capturing a St Kilda wren on camera! We saw two in Village Bay area, but they were way too quick for us!

One slight surprise was that species such as Rock Pipits seem to be well established. One can only assume that they have bred from birds blown out to the archipelago by strong easterly winds?

The Bonxies are apparently recent arrivals but are breeding well. Their predations on the Gannet population are spectacular to observe, especially from the perspective of a sea kayak. I described what we saw in this post: http://mountainandseascotland.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/in-flight-entertainment.html. Our eyes were constantly drawn upward by the drama on this crossing; but of course, in the immediate presence of such huge numbers of seabirds, looking upward with your mouth open going "oooooohh" is highly risky .......

Love the sticks idea fraochy, but I don't think it would have deterred this chap, he was off the scale fired-up!

Kind Regards

Ian
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Re: Birdlife of St Kilda

Postby JTweedie » Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:25 am

fraochydug wrote:on the island of Noss there are little stashes of foot long sticks with one end painted fluorescent yellow to hold above your head as a target for the skuas, terns etc. they don't really help but its a nice gesture :lol:


I'm going there in June, will be "fun" to encounter them!
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Re: Birdlife of St Kilda

Postby fraochydug » Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:36 am

JTweedie wrote:I'm going there in June, will be "fun" to encounter them!

the novelty will have worn off before you even get up the hill to the cliffs, which are truly spectacular btw.

St. Kilda is on my to-do list. the landscape is amazing judging from the photos.
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Re: Birdlife of St Kilda

Postby JTweedie » Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:44 pm

fraochydug wrote:
JTweedie wrote:I'm going there in June, will be "fun" to encounter them!

the novelty will have worn off before you even get up the hill to the cliffs, which are truly spectacular btw.

St. Kilda is on my to-do list. the landscape is amazing judging from the photos.


I would love to visit St Kilda as well.

I've seen a Pomarine Skua near Mull a few years ago, but I'm hoping for my first sightings of Bonxies and Arctic Skuas in Shetland. But the bird I'm most looking forward to seeing is the Red-necked Phalarope. It's one of the few species that has reversed roles with raising the young - with the males bringing them up as the females go off to find more mates!

And then there's the Killer Whales - if I can see them I'll be so happy!
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