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Hebridean Imaging
Hebridean Imaging

Saved from winter camping

I had this idea to head off to Barra, on foot, with my tent and equipment to carry out Winter Thrush Surveys on two of the BTO’s randomly allocated squares over there. I had this image in my head of cold, crisp but sunny weather and lying snug in my sleeping bag. It’s so expensive to take the car over from Uist to Barra that i couldn’t even contemplate that.

After mentioning my intentions to a friend she said that she was doing some locum work over there in early January (she’s a GP) and said that i would be more than welcome to stay with her for a couple of nights in the 2-bedroomed apartment that she was renting for her stay. Not being that much of a masochist “oh, OK, thanks!” was my reply. So i had a couple of nights comfy, warm accommodation and a couple of evenings in the pub. Although there was some sense of having wimped out, this turned out to be a good move as the weather was bloody awful! Wet and pretty breezy for the whole two days!

Great view from the accommodation in Castlebay

The first thrush square was just north of Barra’s main town, Castlebay, which entailed walking out into a wet, soggy valley.  Not a single thrush to be found!

A walk up the soggy valley hunting for thrushes…

The next day i ventured up to the north-west of Barra, just west of Northbay, luckily this 1 km square had a road, the A888, running straight through the middle of it so although it was wet the going was easy and straightforward. Again, not a single thrush, although i find it very hard to believe that the few vegetated gardens i passed didn’t even hold a Blackbird. Obviously the Blackbird’s have more sense than me and had found a dry place to shelter.

Barra, still beautiful even in the mist and rain 🙂

I skulked around Castlebay for a little while on my return to town and was rewarded with the sight of a Sparrowhawk – species number 80 on the 2013 list 🙂

Ah well, it was a good trip, a nice couple of days blethering with Louise and getting half licked to death by her dog (a nutty black lab called Maowi).

For more details about participating in the BTO’s Winter Thrushes Survey please see: http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/winter-thrushes

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