Winter tour 23rd January

How quickly the snow went. All roads back to normal and at least 7 cars seen all day. The mountains looked like zebra as the snow was only on the ridges showing all the contours. Our day started well with an otter very close. It was swimming out from the shore and headed to the islands. we saw it quite often as it ran across them. Common and greater black back gulls, and two white tailed eagles, one carrying sticks to the nest. On the way to our next stop several bullfinch in a bush at the side of the road. Next stop and again really good. two hen harrier, Canada geese, Buzzard, Great tit, blue tit,  Kestrel And the first of many red deer. Hot drinks, home made biscuits, common seal, hen harrier, very close red deer and a cheeky robin. Into the mountains to look for golden eagles, Quite cold and windy and no eagles showing so we carried on through the hills to our next stop An eagle spotted over the hill so we turned round and parked under where it was seen. Two golden eagles flew up from the hillside and landed on the top. Lots of looking with the telescope and there was a silhouette of an eagles head next to a rock. they flew again and came closer. Lovely It was getting late so we headed towards our lunch stop. A comfort break and a scan of the shore. lots of common gulls, red breasted merganser, little grebe. We didnt see any ringed plover until the sparrowhawk flew across and lifted everything. Stone chat on the way back. Almost at our lunch stop and a bird of prey shot by. We didnt get chance to see what it was then we were flagged down by two gentlemen who had a peregrine in their telescope which the kindly let us use. Lunch and a two otters. My feeling was they may have been adult male and female. We have watched many young otters playing but this was different play. Perhaps spring is in the air? How quickly the day was going. An other hen harrier flying quite close demonstrated its superb flying skills. Two white tailed eagles over the hill. As we were conscious of the daylight going early we did a run over through the forest towards Loch na keal. A shout from behind me and a golden eagle flying, also a white tailed eagle giving us a great comparison. Another two golden eagles further on. Around to Gribun rocks and another golden eagle flying briefly above. Goosander, Red throated diver, great northern diver then an otter running across in front of us. A good place for a cuppa and cake. We lost sight of it eventually seeing it out on the skerries. Daylight disappearing quickly but we still managed a dipper in the river on the way back. Lots and lots of red deer which Peter spotted very quickly. In fact I now think of him as deer Peter. That was quite a day.