Saturday, 21 October 2017

Barry Buddon, from Jays to Pink-foots

Starting at Barry Halt where I found the red flags weren't flying I embarked on a 6 mile trek through the Barry Buddon Camp to the lighthouses and onward north along the coast returning through Carnoustie Golf Links. Immediately I saw Jays, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Redwing, migrant Blackbird, Goldfinch and Greenfinch. Then it went quiet until I reached the lighthouses where 2 Wrens and 3 Stonechats were the only birds seen. There were a few waders along the beach, with Bar-tailed Godwit, Golden Plover, Sanderling but no Grey Plover and around 20 Common Scoter and a Red-throated Diver nearer the golf end.

A Grouse addition picked up from RaptorPresecutionUK, if only all grouse estates could aspire to this,   click here for Glen Tanar Blog

One of at least 3 Jays flying from Barry Buddon into Carnoustie collecting acorns to be cached back on the camp. You can see and acorn in its beak and a full crop in the photo

Although this Pink-footed Goose looks uninjured, its plumage in good condition, it's very thin so its future doesn't look good. On the beach near the lighthouses and disappeared into the dunes

You can see its stomach is empty with a clear fold of skin showing

At first I thought this Wigeon might also be troubled but it eventually decided I'd got too close, there's nowhere to hide on a flat beach on a sunny day

Golden Plover



Half of a flight of Oystercatchers

Red-throated Diver in between the five foot waves where the rock armour is protecting the coastline

This Stonechat was almost on the Golf Links but didn't count against a list

Reed Bunting female in the same bush on the Golf/Camp fence line

Carrion Crow at Victoria Park, Arbroath where Redshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gulls, Common Gulls, Pied Wagtails and around 12 Rock Pipits were feeding on the tide line

Rock Pipit

A nearly photo, I just pointed the camera in the direction but didn't get anything sharp or in focus, heyho!

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Green Sandpiper (again) at Murton NR

Green Sandpipers seem to like Murton, I think this is the third this year, unless of course it's the same one returning. There was no chance of a photo of any quality so I took some video and even that's at 104 times zoom.

Green Sandpiper video, click here to view, best viewed in HD 1080

At the distant end of the car park pond and never in any kind of usable light

A Granny told me this is a Gruffalo, part of one of the "totem poles" at Murton Nature Reserve

Indulge my Grouse

When I saw this photo my first thought was, "gamekeepers slaughtering Red Grouse" but of course they didn't shoot the grouse, that was done by paying guests who seem to have a fascination for killing very large numbers of the birds which are driven round the hills into a line of waiting guns. When I say guns, I mean plural as each shooter will have a pair of double-barrelled shotguns being repeatedly loaded for them so they can shoot large numbers of grouse fleeing from the white flags and whistles of the beaters.
I'm not judging the keepers, I've met many and most of them have been friendly when they ask "what are you doing", I think the big camera and lens is a clue. Mind you I have met some aggressive characters over the years which made me think they had something to hide.
The Raptor Persecution link at the top of this blog details many incidents and statistics of birds of prey being killed by traps, snares, poisons and shooting, with grouse moors high in the reports where birds have disappeared or have been found dead. I'm sure not all estates or gamekeepers are involved in wildlife crime and hopefully it's a minority that continue to give the shooting estates a bad name.
Enough though about keepers, they are only a link in a chain that won't be broken until those who pay to shoot Red Grouse, Red-legged Partridge and Pheasant, in very large numbers, for fun stop. There must be a way to at least change what is happening in our hills and glens. Some grouse moors only offer "walked up" shooting where less birds are killed and that might be a first step on the road to enlightenment and a better future for "our land", Scotland.

Really, does "a good days sport" have to involve killing all of these Red Grouse. (Photo from a Public Domain Facebook page showing Red Grouse from a days shooting)

Pintails at Tayock, Montrose Basin

Pink-footed Goose

Tayock caravan site but is there a pot of gold there (Canon SX60)

Second attempt at the Barnacle Geese at Balgavies on Wednesday but still photographed into the strong light, maybe an early morning is the answer

All six watching a Grey Heron flying by being pursued by a Crow

Mute Swan adult which was chasing cygnets at Murton

One of the four cygnets

Not much water for fishing so it was time for preening and drying

First of the Goosanders seen at Keptie Pond this season. A machine had been in to cut the weed and although it doesn't look much different there is more open water water and the Carp were very active at the main steps

A Jackdaw near the picnic tables where yet again people were feeding the birds with white bread instead of the requested seed and lettuce. Bread is empty calories for the birds and has salt and sugar in it which are harmful, it also sinks to the bottom and rots whereas any seed that sinks is gathered up by the ducks and swans

Young Moorhen, there was a slightly younger one still with a green beak

An unfortunate casualty of the weekend storm, this Great Black-backed Gull has a badly broken and damaged wing and will surely perish soon

Monday, 16 October 2017

Dreich and windy!

The weather hasn't been kind and I've been busy (mostly doing nothing according to Olive) but I thought these from Murton could be an opening taster for the winter ahead. I also spent a wasted afternoon at Maryton Ditch and could only find a few Dunlin and Ringed Plover at the gull roost at the West Links in Arbroath.

If it's not a Scaup then it's a very good lookalike. At Murton last Friday I believe

Gadwall drake

Gadwall pair

One of a few Stock Doves flying around the basin at Maryton Ditch, everything else was either too far away or like the Pink-footed Geese feeding in fields waiting for dusk and low tide

Curlew, also at Maryton

Juvenile Ringed Plover at the gull roost, Arbroath

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

White-tailed Eagle

A rare view of our largest raptor in Angus , a shame it wasn't on a better day as it was raining at the time I saw it. I'm guessing it's one of the two females in the strange love triangle involving the Fife male as documented by the RSPB. A wing tag looked like yellow or faded red with "Z" but I couldn't be sure at the distance.

Some others from around Angus where I've seen a few Barnacle Geese and another Curlew Sandpiper near Craigmill where the last one was a month ago. Lunan Bay is holding a few Red-throated Divers and still a Surf Scoter drake.

Curlew Sandpiper video, click here (HD if selected)        Barnacle Geese video, click here (also HD)

White-tailed Eagle

The satellite tag and aerial can be seen in this photo

One of six Barnacle Geese at Balgavies Loch over the weekend, near the shore but into the harsh light

Mediterranean Gull adult at West Links Arbroath, scared off almost as soon as I saw it by people on the rock armour

Rare visitors at West Links, two Bar-tailed Godwits which also flew off, that's probably why they don't visit more often

A young Gannet, one of this years resting near the beach at Lunan Bay

I might go back to the Lunan Bay car park on a good day to see the flock of Greenfinches demolishing the rose hips