Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Glenesk - Spotted Flycatchers

The sun came out so I went on a long walk in various places up Glenesk, specifically looking for Spotted Flycatchers and wasn't disappointed as I found them in various sites. It was a bit windy which hampered the butterflies but when the wind dropped a variety became active. I covered a lot of ground over many hours and added Peregrine, Osprey, an Eagle which species I couldn't tell, Red Deer, an Adder and brought home another tick nymph for my troubles.

Spotted Flycatcher, one of two adults near Invermark

I couldn't identify the small moth this bird had

Spotted Flycatcher fledgling to the west of Lochlee

The first photo I've managed of a Common Hawker Dragonfly, usually they're permanently on the wing

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, also seen were; Common Blue, Ringlet, Red Admiral, Small Heath, Small Tortoiseshell and Green-veined White

Female Adder, with the long lens this was as much as I could get in the frame without being distant

One of this years young Red Grouse on the main road up the glen, only a few weeks to live perhaps!!

Male Siskin

Wheatear juvenile

The Falls of Unich from the bridge at the start of Glen Lee

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Beach birds, no bikinis involved

Tales from my Westhaven to Easthaven Webs count, one from Inchcape Park in Arbroath and then another try for Kittiwakes at the cliffs before they all fledge. Needless to say it got dull again, or was it dull when I started. I've started off with some comparison photos of our Hirundines not in any specific order but all taken near to or at Easthaven on Friday.

House Martin, note the white rump and short fish tail

Sand Martin

The unmistakable Barn Swallow, the red cheeks aren't obvious but the long marked tail certainly is

A Swift, the shape and speed are a giveaway and the screeching sometimes heard when in a group

The first Wheatear juvenile I've seen on the beach this year, already on the move south perhaps. A second was seen at Arbroath Cliffs

Some of 37 returning Dunlin on the beach, a mixture of adult and juveniles were recorded

The Oystercatchers and other waders don't like dogs as is obvious from this. Why would anyone need to have five dogs? In the flock were Redshank, Turnstone, Bar-tailed Godwit, Common Gull, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Common Sandpiper, Oystercatcher and a Whimbrel. Not all seen in this photo

Turnstones back at Inchcape in Arbroath, no Purple Sandpipers yet

Fulmar at the "Mariners Grave", Arbroath Cliffs

Kittiwake adult

Always calling and apparently playing in the wind but I'm sure it's a form of behaviour to do with communal nesting

Juvenile Kittiwake

Slightly younger and less confident juvenile

I said to Olive this reminded me of her and I until she pointed out what they were sitting on, failed again.......

Herring Gull, if it flies past photograph it

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Maw, Paw and the Bairns

Nowhere to go on a dull showery day so I reverted to my fallback sites of Arbroath Harbour and Keptie Pond. Nothing of any note at the harbour but these photos below show some of the new life at Keptie, all of it showing an orange tinge due to the algal bloom on the water. No doubt there will be more questions in the local press about the water level and the weed but Angus Council doesn't seem to think it's a priority, maybe they could try "crowd-funding" a solution if one exists.

The duckling on the right is a Mallard and has been adopted by the Tufted Duck. I can't find a Mallard with ducklings that size so it's likely if it was one of a brood that they've been predated

This Mallard has done exceptionally well for Keptie Pond and she still has eight quite large ducklings with her which look to be too big for most gulls except perhaps the Great Blacked-backed

A male Mallard in eclipse plumage just lazing around near the popular feeding spot, the one nearest the road. In the water beside the duck were two large carp and I couldn't decide if they were showing mating behaviour or just being boisterous

One of two Moorhen chicks in a second brood

Mum or Dad not far away and keeping an eye on two youngsters

Just a single Coot chick with a pair, the Coots normally manage to avoid predation from the gulls but there is at least one large Terrapin in the pond and last seen nearby

The orange algae is obvious on this Coots chest and plumage

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Gannets, passing not fishing

My last Corn Bunting survey today and to walk the stiffness out of my legs I went down to Scurdie Ness and sat on the rocks hoping something would fly by. The Gannets below were flying north and coming out of the sun so are all back-lit and with the exposure turned up in the camera. There were a few Sandwich Terns fishing offshore but no Common Terns today. A few Ringed Plover and returning Dunlin also made an appearance.

Adult Gannet

3rd year bird, (although I would have liked to have seen the upper wing)



Sandwich Tern juvenile

Sedge Warbler fledgling

Whimbrel, Wren and a lost Doo

Nothing of note to report, my last Corn Bunting Survey of the season didn't turn up any extra birds and it looks like this years numbers are down, most likely due to crops being rotated and some cereal fields becoming isolated and others in new crops such as beans, potatoes and onions.

A Whimbrel at Whiting Ness, Arbroath on Monday evening but the tide wasn't coming in fast enough to bring it nearer before dusk

Looks like one of this years new Wrens at a local hide.

Yet another "homing pigeon" which has become just a pigeon, seen in my garden and on a neighbours roof. What I can see of its ring is SU17 but I think there must be more lettering

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Fowlsheugh and St Cyrus ADBC Trip and some gulls, I like gulls someone has to

A few photos taken at Fowlsheugh RSPB Reserve just south of Stonehaven, it's sign-posted Crawton if you fancy a visit but better be quick as many of the young birds are getting near to fledging. Following on are some taken at St Cyrus and the gulls below them were at West Links in Arbroath.

Just sitting there like a group of old men at the black shed, where the old fishermen sit at Arbroath Harbour. I recall my grandfather there chewing black tobacco and occasionally buying me and my brother an ice cream, not like him spending money! (Yes, I hear Olive and others saying I inherited that and other things from him)

I noticed many of the Guillemots were quite pale and it's not the light or me fiddling with the photo, the Razorbill looks normal


This House Martin looks like a fish squeezing out of the nest box at NNR St Cyrus

Probably later in the day the sun being a bit lower it will light up the nests better

A surprise Osprey at St Cyrus and it's ringed, looks like "blue 136 to me" but that isn't confirmed

You can never see too many male Stonechats

This Black-headed Gull may be a bit under the weather or just very confident as it didn't fly off when I walked past

This looks like a juvenile Curlew and not a Whimbrel as hoped

Mediterranean Gull still doing brief fly pasts at Arbroath

Black-headed Gull and faded compared to the St Cyrus one above

I assuming this is a 1st summer Herring Gull, unless it's related to the gull below?

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Even the Small Tortoiseshells visit the SWT at Montrose Basin