There were 4 hardy souls convening at the Sandbank bird hide on 29th September for the monthly meeting, all from Cowal. September is a time change with the early leaves turning and the winter wildfowl arriving. However one is never able to predict precisely what is going to be on view. Will it be the usual stuff, or something beyond the ordinary. This could be a count of birds rather than a species, but it can still make the day a bit special. The count of birdwatchers was not high, and the species were local, so not too remarkable there, although we all appreciated our company! What about the birds then? My notebook records a mere 19 species, so not a great day in that respect. So how about numbers? 193 Curlew was pretty good for here, but with only 55 Oystercatchers visible I think the rest must have been hiding. 32 Eider was reassuring, as numbers in the greater Firth of Clyde area have been declining alarmingly. Of Teal we could see only 10, although they were good views right in front of the hide. It’s remarkable how on different days the birds can do different things. I know there were Wigeon there, (seen on previous days) but could we see any? Sadly no. There was still a Lesser Black-back around, rather than migrating to Portugal. Many of its Clyde con-specifics have done, as shown by the individual colour rings fitted by Clyde Ringing Group, and spotted and photographed by birders in Spain and Portugal. For me the highlight was the 13 Red-breasted Merganser, which seem to have been less evident in recent years.