|Ringed Plover, Loch Sunart
|Their presence given away by gentle, piping calls
|Wheatear had been arriving in Dorset shortly before we left for Scotland - this one had done well to make it this far north
|Black Guillemot, Ardgour
|A colony breeds on the rusty piers. Ten individuals are visible in this shot.
|And when I say breed...
After Ardgour it was across familiar but still breathtaking territory to Strontian, stopping occasionally for photos of Great Northern Divers in Loch Linnhe from the roadside. From there I broadly followed an itinerary in Gordon Hamlett's Best Birdwatching Sites in the Scottish Highlands, along the southern shore of Loch Sunart for a chance of Otters and Eagles. I saw neither, but a close encounter with a pair of Ringed Plover and a fresh-in Wheatear were some reward.
|Great Northern Diver moulting into breeding plumage on Loch Linnhe
|Drake Goldeneye, Loch Arienas
|Female Goosander, Loch Arienas
Then it was a long climb up Gleann Geal, pausing occasionally to scan for raptors, before dropping back down towards the Black Glen and the choppy waters of Loch Arienas. Pairs of Goosander and Goldeneye were the best I could manage there, so I retraced my steps to get back on the road to Lochaline. The guide book suggested scanning for Otter from the ferry slipway, so being the obedient sort that's what I did, and the first shape I 'scoped on the water turned out to be one. If only it were always that easy..
|The best I could manage of the Otter at Lochaline
|A slightly closer mammal in the form of a bold Red Deer stag near Kingairloch
|Male Stonechat near Kingairloch
|Buzzard or 'Tourist's Eagle' as they are known in these parts
|The sun rising over Loch Linnhe looking back to the Corran Ferry
|View over Loch Sunart