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TITLE
Bird species at Tiumpan Head, Lewis
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_PETERCUNNINGHAM_10
PLACENAME
Isle of Lewis
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS
PERIOD
1980s; 1990s
CREATOR
Peter Cunningham
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
2163
KEYWORDS
ornithology
bird watching
audio

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In this audio extract, Hebridean ornithologist, Peter Cunningham, talks to Bill Sinclair about the different species of birds to be seen at Tiumpan Head, at the northern tip of the Eye Peninsula, in Lewis.

[Foghorn] Here we are Bill at Tiumpan Head lighthouse and I think if you had needed audible verification of the weather you've got it in that foghorn. We can hardly see more than a few yards out to sea, although the sun is trying to break through. We're standing right beside this lighthouse on the end of the Eye Peninsula, in the Minch, with the seas breaking on the rocks below us with the north easterly wind and - But nothing much to be seen apart from shags and gulls and fulmars. I think - I suggest we go round the corner and look at the kittiwakes.

Interviewer: Well, what a wonderful spot, isn't it?

Yes.

Interviewer: Looking out right, right across to the mainland of Scotland which we can't see today.

If there was the normal visibility we would see the coast of Sutherland quite, quite far up towards Cape Wrath and the rest of Lewis, up to the Butt, because here we're right above the cliffs. [Foghorn]

Interviewer: Well, what a wonderful sea there, too, isn't it, looking -

Yes

Interviewer: - down on the large breakers there, beating on the, on the rocks?

The lovely colours of the lichen on the rocks too, yellow. There's the golden eagle!

Interviewer: Gosh, there it is. Look! It just took off right in front of us there.

Yes. I didn't notice it perhaps below us. Perhaps I should explain; we don't normally get golden eagles in the point area but about a month ago, it was reported to me that an eagle was, was to be seen up in this area and couldn't fly very far so I went out to follow it up thinking it was probably just a buzzard, but in actual fact what I found was an immature golden eagle which - whose feathers were matted with what appeared to be oil and it couldn't fly more than fifty yards or so. And what I think had happened was that it was a young bird inexperienced in the ways of fulmars and had tried to catch fulmars and been sprayed with the oil that they can eject from their stomach, and this oil had so matted the feathers that the bird was handicapped and was unable to fly, as I say, more than a few yards. And here it is still in the area and - but apparently able to fly a little more and it's now perched about a hundred yards from us on the cliff face. I can just see it with the naked eye, can you? Can you make it out?

Interviewer: Yes, I certainly can just with the tail, clinging onto the, onto the rock.

That's right. In amongst the fulmars.

Interviewer: Now, do you not think it's got any sense to keep away from these fulmars?

Well, I think it probably will now but what it's living on I can't imagine because as you can hear, the fulmars are the main birds around here. A great black back has just buzzed it - obviously doesn't like to see a predator about, but it's a lovely picture with the primroses in full bloom behind it. There's the black back again, trying to hit it with its feet. And there's a pair of ravens. Can you see them? Right above the golden eagle.

Interviewer: Yes, I can.

One of them, one of them's actually calling. There it's -

Interviewer: Yes.

Well, the nest, the ravens' nest is in that hole - just five, five o'clock from the raven's position, in that hole. We can't see it from this position but the young are probably almost fully fledged now.

Interviewer: Well, what a, what a sight to, to see a golden eagle there on the, on the cliff. We think, we think now, of course, of, of sea eagles -

That's right, this would be -

Interviewer: - and you, you just feel that it could be a sea eagle -

Exactly.

Interviewer: - on the cliff.

But I can tell, I can tell that it's a young one from the amount of white on the plumage

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Bird species at Tiumpan Head, Lewis

ROSS

1980s; 1990s

ornithology; bird watching; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: Bird Watching

In this audio extract, Hebridean ornithologist, Peter Cunningham, talks to Bill Sinclair about the different species of birds to be seen at Tiumpan Head, at the northern tip of the Eye Peninsula, in Lewis. <br /> <br /> [Foghorn] Here we are Bill at Tiumpan Head lighthouse and I think if you had needed audible verification of the weather you've got it in that foghorn. We can hardly see more than a few yards out to sea, although the sun is trying to break through. We're standing right beside this lighthouse on the end of the Eye Peninsula, in the Minch, with the seas breaking on the rocks below us with the north easterly wind and - But nothing much to be seen apart from shags and gulls and fulmars. I think - I suggest we go round the corner and look at the kittiwakes.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Well, what a wonderful spot, isn't it?<br /> <br /> Yes.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Looking out right, right across to the mainland of Scotland which we can't see today.<br /> <br /> If there was the normal visibility we would see the coast of Sutherland quite, quite far up towards Cape Wrath and the rest of Lewis, up to the Butt, because here we're right above the cliffs. [Foghorn]<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Well, what a wonderful sea there, too, isn't it, looking - <br /> <br /> Yes<br /> <br /> Interviewer: - down on the large breakers there, beating on the, on the rocks?<br /> <br /> The lovely colours of the lichen on the rocks too, yellow. There's the golden eagle!<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Gosh, there it is. Look! It just took off right in front of us there.<br /> <br /> Yes. I didn't notice it perhaps below us. Perhaps I should explain; we don't normally get golden eagles in the point area but about a month ago, it was reported to me that an eagle was, was to be seen up in this area and couldn't fly very far so I went out to follow it up thinking it was probably just a buzzard, but in actual fact what I found was an immature golden eagle which - whose feathers were matted with what appeared to be oil and it couldn't fly more than fifty yards or so. And what I think had happened was that it was a young bird inexperienced in the ways of fulmars and had tried to catch fulmars and been sprayed with the oil that they can eject from their stomach, and this oil had so matted the feathers that the bird was handicapped and was unable to fly, as I say, more than a few yards. And here it is still in the area and - but apparently able to fly a little more and it's now perched about a hundred yards from us on the cliff face. I can just see it with the naked eye, can you? Can you make it out?<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Yes, I certainly can just with the tail, clinging onto the, onto the rock.<br /> <br /> That's right. In amongst the fulmars.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Now, do you not think it's got any sense to keep away from these fulmars?<br /> <br /> Well, I think it probably will now but what it's living on I can't imagine because as you can hear, the fulmars are the main birds around here. A great black back has just buzzed it - obviously doesn't like to see a predator about, but it's a lovely picture with the primroses in full bloom behind it. There's the black back again, trying to hit it with its feet. And there's a pair of ravens. Can you see them? Right above the golden eagle. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: Yes, I can.<br /> <br /> One of them, one of them's actually calling. There it's - <br /> <br /> Interviewer: Yes.<br /> <br /> Well, the nest, the ravens' nest is in that hole - just five, five o'clock from the raven's position, in that hole. We can't see it from this position but the young are probably almost fully fledged now.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Well, what a, what a sight to, to see a golden eagle there on the, on the cliff. We think, we think now, of course, of, of sea eagles - <br /> <br /> That's right, this would be -<br /> <br /> Interviewer: - and you, you just feel that it could be a sea eagle -<br /> <br /> Exactly.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: - on the cliff. <br /> <br /> But I can tell, I can tell that it's a young one from the amount of white on the plumage