Having heard so much about this Island I finally got round to visiting it. So taking the Teatime ferry from Kennacraig to Port Askaig , sadly we could not birdwatch in the dark from the ferry .After disembarking and getting to the accommodation it was time for shut eye, pulling back the curtains at 7-15 am the following morning to be greeted by several thousand Barnacle Geese recently arrived from Greenland / Iceland I questioned was this paradise or what . Mind you I was in B n B in the Middle of RSPB Loch Gruniart
I am always a great believer in using local knowledge and so the main man on the Island is Gary Turnbull of Wild Islay Birding . A great guy truly knows his island and history and it was a magical day with all target species seen . White Tailed Sea Eagle , Golden Eagle , Otters, Greenland White fronted Geese , Chough ,Hen Harrier , three species of Diver plus many others all rounded off with copious amounts of Hot Coffee and Shortcake .Over the next couple of days revisiting some of the sites and new ones such as Portnahaven to get photos and video of both Common and Grey Seals it was a truly magical experience .The return ferry trip from Port Ellen to Kennacraig yielded some great birds Arctic skua , Great Skua , Gannet , Kittiwake plus many Great Northern Divers but the star of the show was a Leach’s Petrel a first ever for me.
It would also be remiss of me not to mention some great food and also a visit to one of many distilleries on the Island where I discovered the holy grail of Gins - The Botanist . Please take it as follows - One measure of Gin , plus one icecube plus two parts of elderflower cordial , do not spoil it with tonic .Having found Islay I have every intention of going back and it has already gone down as a definite destination for a future trip for prospective clients . .
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