4 November 2016

Islay Trip: Day three: RSPB Loch Gruinart

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Today's menu feature a visit to the Loch Gruinart, then a tour and warehouse tasting at the Bruichladdich distillery, a visit to the wool mill in Bridgend and getting back to the Ardbeg shop for some goodies. 

Eilidh welcomed us this morning with her typical heartwarming hospitality. What were we going to do she asked. We told our plans and she advised us to watch the weather. It was going to rain. It was supposed to have rained yesterday but somehow the clouds did not make it to the "Ardbeg" side of the island. She was right. It did rain when we started having coffee and eating out breakfast. No eggs for me today. Just salmon, toast, bacon, orange juice and coffee! Oh and some crushly with yogurt. 


Since the agenda shift, due to time zone differences, that had confused us yesterday I triple checked the tour times at Bruichladdich. If you're planning a trip and planning ahead by putting in meetings in your agenda, please check in what time zone you are planning those. Apparently the apple agenda shifts the meetings to the time zone you planned them in at the time you entered them. For me my appointments had shifted and hour because we went from Amsterdam CET to Islay time. If you have this issue when flying in from Australia you will be reminded 12 hours late, or early. Then you notice the obvious error. We were not going to be an hour early today! Plenty to see!

It would probably rain

We started out to the Loch Gruinart RSPB bird and nature reserve. Why? Because it's friggin beautiful! You can walk to several observation huts and look at the wildlife. There were loads of birds and highland cows, sheep etc.

We choose not to go all the way to Kilnave or Ardnave. Mainly because we had the thing with getting stuck in a ditch yesterday and we were not risking that again. If you have time though, do go up there as well. The beach is amazing. 

We drove, parked, walked to a hut. To our surprise we were not alone. There was a guy from the RSPB observing newly arrived barnacle geese. My friend is to birds what I am to whisky. The guy is a walking bird encyclopedia. Where I have apps for whisky on my phone, he has more for birds. The RSPB guy and my friend started talking shop. Hen Harriers this, Corncrake that, Lapwings, normal goose, geese, white fronted geese, white ass geese and more. The RSPB guy told is about the background of the loch. Had we seen the dike? What dike? Oh yeah! Now you mention it. Dutch immigrants had made a dike and farmed the dry land behind it. Funny even here we Dutch mess with nature. Just when the RSPB guy and my friend were starting to get in need of "a room", he went away.

Loch Gruinart RSPB

Loch Gruinart RSPB
We looked at the birds. Some of the species were pointed out to me. I know some of these birds rather well because in the nature reserve next to lelystad you can find them as well. 

We tried the bird call app. See if a natural enemy of these geese would send them flying the sound of a predator was broadcast. Nothing happened. The sound came from the wrong place and no predator silhouette could be seen in the sky. 

We completed the circular walk and spotted all kinds of plants, trees, etc. Beautiful. We had a short visit to the visitor Centre. If you are into birdwatching this is one of the places you need to go see when on Islay.

Just before going on to the next blog I would like to mention the excellent charity started by Ben Bowers for a children's heart surgery Hospital. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/adramaday

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