Wednesday, 21 February 2018

The Blog is Back!

Apologies for being ill and neglecting this blog.

Today was my first day out for at least a fortnight and I was lucky enough to get some good Little Egret photos and views of the ever elusive Water Rails at the SWT Centre, Montrose Basin. I have also taken an opportunity to publish a photo which is part of "Onekind's" campaign to stop mass culls of Mountain Hares without any evidence on the effects on populations in different regions in Scotland. They point out that in areas where intensive grouse shooting takes place that hare numbers are kept low.

From Onekind 

Little Egret, Bank of Scotland Hide, Montrose Basin

An odd duck at Keptie Pond, the size of a mallard and with a blue bill and small black "nail" on the tip, the underwing is almost all white with a light grey back edge. Perhaps a hybrid, anyone hazard a guess?

Stock Dove at Keptie Pond, it's there daily and doesn't do much

Unusual to find a Bar-tailed Godwit at Inchcape Park, Arbroath and sitting with the Purple Sandpipers. They flew off to the breakwater when someone threw a ball on the beach

Rock Pipit (Anthus petrosus) with ring JAV at the mouth of the Dighty at Balmossie. 
Ringing date: 07.09.2017, 11 hrs.
Ringing place: Maletangen (62*58'11''N-007*03'16''E) (Maletangen Ornithological Station), Fræna, Møre & Romsdal, Norway.

Barry Buddon lighthouses as seen from Balmossie 

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Goldeneye and Goosander

Three from Friday when I ventured to Murton NR where the water levels remain very low and only 3 Coots, 1 Goldeneye and 4 Tufted Ducks graced the two main ponds, or should I say the pond and the scrape. A cold hour or more at Kinnordy didn't produce the Bittern but the drake Smew was reported again today. The Iceland Gull is still at Victoria Park in Arbroath and believe it or not I didn't take more photos.

Note the "this week 2017" in the side-bar. I'm currently searching for an updated version of the Bird Crime Report. In the meantime I've posted both pages of the RSPB leaflet on how to report it at the bottom of this post, but can't be sure the contacts are the latest!

Here's the 2016 Report, The Birdcrime Report 2016

A lonely drake Goldeneye at Murton, rain and lots of it needed

One of at least 12 Goosander seen at Kinnordy, mind you we had that many on Keptie Pond this week

It's not that I particularly like Mute Swans but the Whoopers were too far away at Kinnordy. This one kept a guard on a female and continually chased away all others

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Redshank fight and the "ultimate" Iceland Gull sequence

The first two photos were taken from the Wigeon Hide at Montrose Basin at high tide when the water had over-flowed the bank and reached right up to the hide. There were a number of Redshanks feeding and doing their usual thing, flying around and chasing others off what they thought was a good feeding opportunity. Usually that's all that happens but this time a proper fight broke out and lasted a couple of minutes before one gave way.
I promised no more Iceland Gulls, but did say I might post any good photos and the ones below are perhaps the best I've managed so far as there was some decent light even though I got on the wrong side of it at first!

The bottom Redshank has the top one's leg in its beak. Photo taken in bright sunshine, I wondered what it was, the bright sunshine!

Still with the leg in the beak but the upper one is pecking hard into the lower birds back

I managed to find a Twite on its own which makes for a better photo as the flock usually has birds in different positions and distances and the photos always look messy

It's still too early in the year for the sun to light the area where this Water Rail is but it won't be long. From the Bank of Scotland Hide at the SWT Centre, Montrose Basin

Iceland Gull from here on and a Tufted Duck to finish with. I think I've covered all of the angles with this sequence starting with take off after it had been preening

Tufted drake at Keptie Pond, as usual late in the day when I'd gone to see Goosanders which I hope to get some photos of soon

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Tour o' the lochs

Tour o' the lochs, I'm including that well known loch in Arbroath, Keptie Pond which I never visit unless I've got a few minutes left at the end of a day.

I started at Backwater Dam and only saw one bird a Buzzard, but as expected Lintrathen produced much more and from photos of a flock of Chaffinches I confirmed there were at least two Bramblings with them. Alos seen, Red-legged Partridges, Wigeon, Whooper Swans, a Jay, Coots and Goldeneye.

This bird at Kinnordy had me a bit puzzled as it was out of place and out of context, a Kittiwake!

A 1st winter Kittiwake, well lost at Kinnordy. It should surely be at sea or along the coast. It landed a bit far out and to the right of the Gullery Hide then drifted out of sight

Since the "young mums" and "old codgers" have learned to feed the birds at Keptie Pond with seed it has made a difference to the birds that come in as the gulls don't hoover up everything. The Collared Dove is one of a pair seen in the late sun or golden hour


This kind of light lasted only a few minutes if that. One of 11 Goosanders benefitting from the clear out of weed from the pond allowing them to catch the abundant Roach

One of the female Goosanders

There's always a Grey Heron around at Keptie Pond

After the sun was at its best we got this blue light on this Black-headed Gull

Bored at Kinnordy I started taking photos of anything that moved and this Greylag was an obvious target

Mute Swan, taken while I was waiting for the Bittern to appear, it didn't

Friday, 26 January 2018

Green Woodpecker, Arbroath area

It's now at least 3 years since I found Green Woodpeckers in a forest just north of Arbroath and they've continued to be present again this winter. I even had one calling from the cemetery near my house early in spring one year which might indicate a bird moving around looking for a mate. Further afield I had a walk at Montrose Basin in the northwest corner to see the Twite in the hope they had attracted a Merlin.

Green Woodpecker, high in the tree some distance away

Treecreeper on the track to the bird hides at Montrose Basin

Twite spooked by a passing Kestrel which was already carrying prey which looked to be a vole

Winter Aconite (Canon SX60)