Thursday, 2 June 2016

Life and death, and Mute Swans involved in both!

There I was sitting contemplating life at Keptie Pond in Arbroath, an old lady feeding the Mute Swan and two cygnets, when all hell broke loose and the male Swan attacked and killed an adult Herring Gull who got too close. Some walkers witnessed the event, and although shocked still didn't show any sympathy for the poor gull. The photos are a bit over-exposed as there was no time to set up.

Earlier in the day at Carnoustie Golf Links I'd seen the new life expected in late spring, with juvenile Long-tailed Tits, thirteen Mute Swan cygnets and a big hatch of both Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies at all of the water features on the Buddon Course.

At home, I now have around fifty Starlings visiting, House Sparrow chicks begging for food and the first Blackbird chicks hopping around. Unfortunately I also have at least three murderous cats and a Sparrowhawk visiting. I don't mind the Sparrowhawk, that's nature but if people could see the killing their pets perpetrate maybe they'd keep them indoors during the breeding season.

Video of a previous Swan battle at Keptie Pond in 2014 with four birds involved, maybe the same male, click here,

Just above the surface under the right of the swan is the unfortunate adult Herring Gull


Already injured the gull is helpless


The fatal blow


The Herring Gull with only a few seconds of life left


A 2nd summer Lesser Black-backed Gull, I don't see many of these at all, or maybe I don't pay enough attention


Same LBB Gull at Keptie Pond


Now for a break from the terror, a juvenile Long-tailed Tit at Carnoustie Golf Links


The promised "life", this pair at Carnoustie have seven cygnets the other pair on the Buddon Course have six

Dad of the cygnets above asserting his dominance after a brief flight around the courses


A female Blue-tailed Damselfly, pink/salmon variant. I believe there are five variations in the thorax colouration


Male Blue-tailed Damselfly


Azure Damselfly male


A "new" female Common Blue Damselfly


Goldfinch at the car park



Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Two mud sifters and the rest fish eaters - Montrose area

Lurgies again and Fishtown of Usan but not much going on, some late breeding birds some non breeding and some just too young.


Drake Shelduck


Shelduck, mate of the one above


1st summer Red-breasted Merganser drake


Grey Heron


Common Seal near the old harbour, Montrose Basin


Guillemot, 1st summer, Usan


I'm sure this is a 1st summer Red-throated Diver at Fishtown of Usan





Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Late Pintail and Pink-footed Geese

An evening trip to Montrose Basin and two surprise species, a late Pintail drake usually seen in the winter months and a couple of straggler Pink-footed Geese. Also seen two Swifts, a Goosander drake, a Red-breasted Merganser drake, a Shoveler drake and a male Sparrowhawk.
At Arbroath Cliffs, Kittiwakes nesting along with Fulmars and Herring Gulls some of which already have young chicks at the "Mariners Grave"

Pintail out on the Basin mud, for video click here,


Late Pintail drake on Montrose Basin, seen from the Lurgies. Canon SX60 at 104 times zoom.


One of the local Ospreys fishing over the South Esk and the Basin


Another late bird, this time a Pink-footed Goose, one of two seen together



One of a pair of Greylag Geese also around at the Lurgies


Kittiwake at Arbroath Cliffs


Maybe I made a mistake feeding Starlings with sultanas, when I retuned home today around fifty were in my garden