Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Sparrowhawk (rub hands down thighs, as Chris Packham)

Just going out and I noticed the silence in my garden and correctly assumed a Sparrowhawk had been. I didn't think it would still be there and be approachable though. I wonder if it was a migrant bird following prey but as it was a 1st winter I don't know if they do migrate but it seems likely?

Full frame Sparrowhawk video, click here,

Some others including, Waders, Wigeon and a Whitewater Kayaker













Curlew, seen while I was trying to re-locate the White-rumped Sandpiper further along the beach, I didn't find it



Grey Plover, one of six near Hatton and a further five were at Craigmill



Sanderling on another day when the BBC Weather people lied....


Pied Wagtail standing on the ridge left by the tractor which travelled along the beach



These Wigeon at Keptie Pond were photographed near dusk on a slow shutter speed. Four more Wigeon and seven Goosanders were present on 14/11/2017



I'd gone up to the Gannochy Gorge on the North Esk near Edzell on the off chance some salmon would be running but the water was low. My substitute was to be the kayakers coming down the fish-ladder fall but it had a very large tree jammed in it making it unsafe. This guy got back on the water below the fall using a "seal launch" from a 3 metre drop. I remember doing the same in the "good old days"



Thursday, 9 November 2017

Long-tailed Duck, Smew and Little Egret

A tip off led me to Kinnaber Links where a Long-tailed Duck was said to be on the river and after the long walk from the Charleston turn off parking I was relieved to find it still there. To start with it didn't venture at all near me despite me sitting below the horizon on the wet sand. Fortunately a walker on the other bank scared it towards me and I got these photos as it flew off upstream. The promised Smew photos are below but given the distance they're nothing but a record. Also today at the Lurgies a welcome return from one of the Little Egrets.

Little Egret video, click here                       Long-tailed Duck video, click here


Long-tailed Duck








Little Egret from the Lurgies


I accidentally deleted a Red-throated Diver photo from Kinnaber so this Lunan Bay one will do!



Smew female ( Red-head ) at Kinnordy, from the Gullery Hide


Smaller than the Goldeneye it has teamed up with


Whooper Swan at the mouth of the Slunks, Montrose Basin



This Coot and others below are from Keptie Pond, taken late in the day recently and while the sun still shone


Jackdaw, eating seed provided by visitors who seem to have taken the advice at the pond and stopped feeding bread to the birds


Moorhen


Black-headed Gull. I'll need a miracle to get a photo of the ring number




Wednesday, 8 November 2017

White-rumped Sandpiper, Easthaven

In this birding thing you have to be flexible, and I'm glad I was and got a message before I travelled miles away from Hatton near Easthaven where the White-rumped Sandpiper below had been photographed by Joy Cammack then identified later by Hugh Bell. Unfortunately, and after sitting for ages waiting for the Sandpiper to appear it was flushed at high tide before it managed to pass by me and have the sunlight on its back. The story of a photographer's day, even life!
Also seen at the same site were, 2 Great Northern Divers, 1 Woodcock flying past, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits one of which was ringed in Norway this year as a hatchling, and a Sanderling ringed in Orkney.

More photos in the next post including a Red-head Smew at Kinnordy and some from Lunan Bay, Montrose Basin and my late afternoon, end of day site, Keptie Pond

White-rumped Sandpiper near Hatton Sewage Works south of Easthaven


This bird has a diagnostic orange base to its lower bill which can't be seen in this shaded photo but can be when over-exposed to a degree on my PC. The wings also extend past its rump and another photo shows the white rump which gives it the name


One of these Bar-tailed Godwits was ringed in Norway on 29/9/2017, its name is NEV on a yellow flag!


Grey Plover





This Redshank looks to have a damaged beak, almost like it has flown into something and pushed it back. The area at the front of its face looks to have rotted away?


For comparison with the one above


Arbroath, West Links looking to Elliot


Saturday, 4 November 2017

Early Iceland Gull - Mains of Usan

Some photos from my wanderings along the Angus coastline this week with a surprise find, and the lonely Whooper Swan at Montrose Basin continues to have no mates!


A very unexpected, and to me an early Iceland Gull. This juvenile unlike all of the other gulls flying along the coast at Mains of Usan actually approached me to have a look instead of veering off like the others. Hopefully this bird will have joined the gulls in the roost at the mouth of the Lunan Water at Lunan Bay. It may look a bit more colourful than it actually is due to the late and low sun


Sometimes the light, the settings and everything comes together and I get a good (lucky) photo of something too far away to expect. I've cropped out the other Oystercatchers, the ones out of focus, overlapping and not posing!


Pied Wagtail on the beach in Shelly Bay near Mains of Usan


Honest, this Redshank does have a second leg, you can just see the foot tucked into its plumage


One of a group of very wary Curlews near Mains of Usan which were prone to fly off when I was hundreds of metres away and no threat


Second attempt at the Greenfinches at Lunan Bay car park but no light again and less birds feeding on the depleted rose hips


Long-tailed Ducks which were around 250 metres out at sea. I might go back today and try again in the sun but the beach will be even busier. Also Red-throated Divers at Lunan, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter and Shags


Even further away than the LTD, this Velvet Scoter was one of at least 10 flying around


Whooper Swans in the late golden light at the Lurgies. I'd been told there were four birds present but as you can see there were five. The bird on the right is the long staying, never leaving Whooper that sits on Miss Erskine's Bank which had wandered over and joined its own kind, welcome company perhaps. Alas the socialising didn't last as the four birds on the left were spooked by the arrival of a wildfowler and his dog and flew off towards Duns Dish


Wren on the fence post at the Bank of Scotland Hide where the Kingfisher made two appearances, both times staying in the shade, although it did hover over a pond too far out


Carrion Crow, one of a number of Crows, Rooks and Jackdaws raking through the seaweed washed up on the strand line at Craigmill burn mouth



Wednesday, 1 November 2017

RSPB Bird Crime Report 2016

Worth a read of the 2016 report especially as Angus, Aberdeenshire, Perth and Kinross, and Highland are all in the top ten counties for persecution of birds of prey.

RSPB Bird Crime Report 2016, click to read  

DIRECTORS CUT PLAYLIST - YouTube videos, click here


Saturday, 28 October 2017

Late October, a focus on wildfowl

Some from a few trips around Angus this week and in chronological order, starting at Lintrathen where the golden late afternoon light was great, a Blackbird in the shade in a puddle and the long staying Black-tailed Godwit which continues to favour the area of the Old Harbour at the Lurgies.
Not sure if my favourite below is the Goldcrest or the Long-tailed Tit, both difficult to get.

A 15 year old's view and blog, "Wilde About Birds", click here



I think these Pink-footed Geese at Lintrathen were spooked by a tractor but the Canada Geese held their nerve and sat tight. The great light allowed this photo to be taken from the elevated hide across the width of the loch


Pink-footed Geese


One at least eight Magpies around Forfar Loch, this one was attracted to seed placed on a bin by a benevolent person who seems to put out small amounts of food around the loch on a daily basis


Murton Nature Reserve where the water level in both of the larger ponds has increased recently and the back pond had a few more ducks but nothing unusual (SX60)


Still six Barnacle Geese on the shingle at Balgavies


While looking on the Tayock Burn for a Kingfisher, one flew down the burn and into cover, then I noticed the Sparrowhawk above being harried as usual by corvids


Goldcrest at Tayock which was sharing a bush with some Long-tailed Tits


This Long-tailed Tit obliged and stayed still for more than a few seconds and thankfully it wasn't in a mess of cover for a change


One of three Buzzards flying together which flushed most of the birds on the mud at Tayock including a flock of around 400-500 Golden Plover which had just flown in after two groups joined high over the basin


Some of the two larger flocks, photo from the Tayock Hide, birds in front of the caravans!


Blackbird


Blue Tit


This Ruff, assuming it's the same one, has been around the basin and Lurgies for about a month now


Again the low sunlight in the late afternoon is making for decent photos. Only minutes after this one was taken the sun dipped too low to light the Old Harbour and this Redshank


Redshank


Its taken a long time for this Black-tailed Godwit to start developing its winter plumage but you'll see the grey feathers are now showing