Friday, 16 March 2018

Iceland Gull - still at Victoria Park, Arbroath

Today's weather was bit rubbish so a short visit to Denfind Hide, Monikie seemed a good choice but they've flooded it again so no waders. I didn't stay around as could hardly stand up in the wind on the circular paths. Moving on to Murton, the ponds there are filling up but the wild fowl haven't got the message yet, however I counted 17 species including 2 Snipe which were feeding in the open.

After a quick coffee break back home, I decided I could stand the 3 degrees centigrade and 30+ mph winds on the beach at Arbroath and found many waders and gulls sitting out the storm on the park land at Victoria Park, and Inchcape Park where a few Purple Sandpipers were seen.

May have some video to post here later if it doesn't look like it's black and white......

The long staying immature Iceland Gull was still at Victoria Park today and was having to roost on the grass due to the stormy state of the sea. Going retro, I'd attached my old Tamron 150-600mm lens to my D7200 to see what if anything I could get in the horrendous conditions and was quite surprised with these high ISO and noise shots.

"My Herring Gull", one of the pair that want to nest on my roof every year which are persuaded to nest along the road a bit

Forgotten photo from my last visit to Kinnordy where these drake Wigeon appeared to chase the duck around the loch

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Cormorant courtship display?

Still photographing everything in sight and sometimes unusual things I've never seen or captured before. The Cormorant display below looked weird!

My first site of the day was Loch of Kinnordy where it appears that the Bittern has gone, maybe coincidental with one appearing in Lothian? Looking at the photos below the only birds of note were the Bramblings at the feeders and a distant Red Kite. I moved on to Forfar Loch which appeared devoid of life but closer attention and a bit of sun, and dare I say heat, helped.

(Editors note: Just recalibrated my PC monitor to "hopefully" ensure that the blog photos don't appear over-exposed).

 Male Cormorant displaying to a female on Forfar Loch, something I can't remember seeing before which he carried on for many minutes as they drifted too far away. He appears to be paddling hard to raise himself from the water at the same time puffing out his neck and gular pouch. I had a look on Google images for a similar photo and couldn't find one

The female joined in

The male, or perhaps another in a normal state during breeding season

I've included this male Brambling as it has lost the tip or half of its lower mandible which may make feeding difficult and mean it would find feeding around the feeders at Kinnordy a better option than foraging elsewhere. At first on another photo it looked to have a "crossbill" which is something I'd seen on a Reed Bunting once which had survived into adulthood successfully

Comparison of two beaks

A pretty tatty adult Buzzard at Forfar Loch

Also at Forfar an immature in much better condition and quite pale

Red Kite from the Gullery Hide, Kinnordy. Good to see Red Kites these days without wing tags

First I'll declare I have a thing for gulls and these Lesser Black-backed are a favourite. They're less of a beast than the Great Black-backs, more colourful, but they do eat the ducklings at Keptie Pond each year. This one was at Forfar Loch with five others and has a yellow ring "T:75H". Ringed as an adult at Forfar Loch Ranger Centre on 12/8/15 - GR88061, the only other report so far!

Same bird at Forfar Loch

One of the Lesser Black-backs at Keptie Pond which remain wary until late spring or summer, currently they drift away from anyone walking around the pond

Magpie at Forfar Loch. There were Magpies all of the way around, this one the only one that didn't immediately fly into a tree out of sight

One of a small group of Long-tailed Tits seen near the car park on the north bank of Forfar Loch

Coots battling over territory at Keptie Pond. A fourth bird out of shot eventually joined in. Another reason to visit when it's sunny and earlier in the day

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Hide birds, Hares and even a Red Kite

The new camera is being heavily tested in often dodgy light and resulting high ISO. After a delay I've caught up with things and have added a short write up of the photos below.

It's my hide rota week again and where better to test a camera. Anyone who takes photos at the various hides around Angus will know that they were never situated with photography in mind with most being shaded so it was good to find out the limits of the ISO handling of my camera.

Great Tit, regulars will guess the hide but I'm not naming it unless visitors continue to take along some food when they visit!

Red Squirrel, ignore the accidental pink borders, too busy to remove it

Robin, hearing these everywhere and they're becoming less timid when I approach

Siskin male, there's something about yellow plumage in birds and Siskins are a great example

Coal Tit

Dunnock, I'm hearing Dunnocks singing this week and recall last year that many were very visible in trees around Forfar Loch and reluctant to move, perhaps used to walkers

Lesser Redpoll male, one of at least five. I chose this over better photos as it didn't have a feeder in it

Lesser Redpoll 1st winter

Brown Hares in fields near the Shelduck Hides. Note I said hides as the new hide which is replacing the existing one might be completed by the end of this week. The old hide is becoming ever closer to the South Esk as the bank is being eroded

Brown Hares

Fulmar, one of many at St Cyrus on another gloomy day. No sign of Peregrines or Ravens

Little Egret again in the northwest corner of Montrose Basin, photographed at distance from the Wigeon Hide

Pink-footed Geese, around 1,000 reported this week, early morning

Red Kite, also in the northwest corner and at first glance looked a very large raptor as it stood out on the raised sand. It looks a bit scruffy in this photo but better in the next one as it flew away chased by crows

Red Kite, if only it came towards the hide instead of heading inland from the corner. Colour is a bit too good to be true!

Shelducks, flying in close formation

Black-headed Gull at Keptie Pond where I often spend the last half hour of the day before tea, unless I'm cooking it

Goosander female, it was the only one there but a male turned up on Wednesday along with four Lesser Black-backed Gulls

Lesser Black-backed Gull, Keptie Pond. Two more at the Old Brewhouse

Moorhen at the feeding area where many are gathering and bickering and Coots actively fighting

Tufted drake, just love the colours and I should go earlier in the day when there's light

Tufted duck

Wigeon drake, chased away with five others by two teenage boys with bigger sticks in their hands than brains in their heads

Magpie at St Cyrus! Not a good photo but it's the first Magpie I've seen at St Cyrus, maybe one of those from along the plantation at Kinnaber

Friday, 9 March 2018

Running out of Bittern time

Back to a frozen Loch of Kinnordy and still no Bittern sighting but I did get a Brambling in the shade at the feeders. Also and briefly, Balgavies, Victoria Park, Montrose Basin and my end of day backstop, Keptie Pond.

Brambling at the new feeder station at Kinnordy

Lesser Redpoll feeding on the track near the car park

Teal drake in front of the Swamp Hide

Tree Sparrow near the feeders

Whooper Swans from the Gullery Hide, two adult and one immature

Take a bow, or just stretch your wings

Long-tailed Tits on the peanut feeder at Balgavies Loch Hide. The loch had been frozen when I passed in the morning but was ice free when I stopped there at 1530

Grey Wagtail near Whiting Ness, Arbroath. These ones are from Thursday when I was trying out a camera for the first time

Rock Pipit at Victoria Park, Arbroath

Stonechat at the bottom of the ramp leading up to Arbroath Cliffs at Whiting Ness

The much photographed female Kingfisher at the Bank of Scotland Hide. Photo taken before I'd read the manual of a new camera, I still haven't but have guessed better settings!

The female Goosanders adopt this position when paired. I think it might be begging for food as it's too early and the wrong habitat for mating. Photo from Keptie Pond when looking for Lesser Black-backed Gulls, there weren't any but they are in Angus

Coot at the "steps" where the public feed the ducks, mostly with seed but still some with bread. Reminds me of my late primary then early secondary schooldays when at age 11 or 12 I already had size 11 feet.