Sunday, 31 December 2017

April 2017

Nothing special this week so I'm continuing with a review from this year, basically some of the photos I'd selected for a calendar I make for Olive. (no gulls allowed apparently).

I'm sneaking in two Purple Sandpiper photos taken at Corbie Bay this week, mainly because of the number I counted in the full photo, there were 41 amongst a flock with Turnstones on the rocks at the burn.

Tree Sparrow and House Sparrow nesting, click here for video?                   Red-throated Diver HD video, click here,

Not all of the 41 Purple Sandpipers are shown in this photo at Corbie

The budgie which hung around my garden for at least a month before succumbing to an apparent illness

A Corn Bunting seen between Easthaven and Craigmill Den which gave some hope of an expansion of the species breeding range. Unfortunately it was never seen again or was there any evidence of breeding in the area

I had this photo marked as a Lesser Redpoll, unless anyone can advise otherwise. Seen with others at Balgavies Hide in April

Marsh Harrier female, just a few days after returning

Osprey white JU at Kinnordy

Shoveler at Kinnordy

Cool dude at Keptie Pond, Arbroath

Wren in front of the car park hide at Murton

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Iceland Gull again in Arbroath

The 2nd winter Iceland Gull remains loyal to the area near the toilet block at Victoria Park, Arbroath and was seen today with a flock of mixed gulls following a plough in the first field along the cliff path. The stubble is likely to have been ploughed in by now leaving a strip along the path I hope.
A few others below before they flew off.

Iceland Gull, difficult to get in the low sun

This ringed Sanderling is the same one I recorded at Hatton, south of Arbroath and has been passed to the ringers. Today it was in front of the paddling pool at West Links, Arbroath

Someone's shiny new drone, flying illegally close to people at Victoria Park, within 5 metres of the road. I'm not sure what I'll do with the photo of the pilot and his car?

Carrion Crow, West Links

Rook, also at West Links. We have  Olive's daughters dog to look after and he was the only dog on the beach not to chase away the birds. People don't seem to realise that when someone is pointing a camera at birds that throwing a ball into the area isn't received well, prats!

Friday, 22 December 2017

Snow Goose and Mandarin

An unusual mixture. A dawn trip to Loch of Skene, west of Westhill, Aberdeenshire and as expected the loch was almost completely frozen over with a huge flock of birds, mainly Pink-footed Geese confined to an area of open water in the northwest corner. I don't know this area and didn't venture anywhere that didn't look like public access, consequently I never got close and didn't really want to as the sun came up, they'd mostly fly off without any accidental encouragement from me! I picked out the white morph Snow Goose easily when it circled the loch in a group and it conveniently landed on the edge of the large group but perhaps 500 metres away. I couldn't pick out any other geese species other than two Barnacles.

I didn't stay long at Skene, it was freezing and drove down to Johnston Gardens in Aberdeen to get a quick photo of the drake Mandarin but it was at Walker Dam and hiding under the high bank. A handful of seed brought it out eventually but on the winter solstice the sun would never light the dam.

The remaining photos below the Mandarin are from Montrose Basin, Bank of Scotland Hide and were taken on 20/12/2017 when over a period good views were had of very active Water Rails.

Distant Snow Goose, click here for "HD" Video              Mandarin Drake click here for HD Video

FOUR Little Egrets, click here for HD Video                   Snipe, Bank of Scotland Hide, click here for HD Video

Snow Goose, white morph at the Loch of Skene, very far away

The Walker Dam/Johnston Gardens Mandarin drake

Currently the sun isn't getting high enough to light the dam

Very active Water Rails at the salt pans, Montrose Basin

Swimming often

Even the Snipe were co-operating

The female Kingfisher sitting on her latrine

Little Egret

Four Little Egrets at the Bank of Scotland Hide, SWT Montrose Basin. At the same time another was at Denfind, Monikie

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Glenshee - Ptarmigan and Snow Buntings

My yearly visit to Glenshee. On arrival at the overflow car park, just at the top of the long climb up to Glenshee Ski Area I parked near to the radio mast and immediately heard two Ravens and watched them fly over. Out of the corner of my eye I saw movement near the mast and could see a group of eight Snow Buntings sitting on the top, a very good start!
At that point I should have set up camp in the car park and tried to get Snow Bunting photos but I'd also come looking for Ptarmigan and soon saw one near the top of Cairnwell along with many Mountain Hares. How difficult would it be I thought to walk up the hill to the summit to get a photo of Ptarmigan, I'd get a Hare on the way. How wrong I was, as I didn't get any useful photos till I'd reached the top of the hill and overall climbed and descended 260 metres and walked 2 km. Yes, I was cursing carrying the large heavy lens and being cautious about falling and rolling down the snow patches with it!

Ptarmigan male, always on the snow patches to keep cool. It was 7 degrees when I returned to the car park, positively tropical

Ptarmigan female

male again

Snow Bunting, I threw down some seed to get them to come off their mast just before the sun dipped behind the hill. Maybe try for some on the beach soon, currently a few at Tenstmuir and Out Head

Mountain Hare

darker variant

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Barry Buddon Bird Trip

Making the most of the camp being open till at least the end of this year I saw fairly large numbers of Redwing, Fieldfare and Blackbirds near Cowbyres, but no waterfowl on the ponds due to to the ice. I had to walk to Buddon Ness before seeing anything else other than two Jays and what might have been four Snow Buntings. Still haven't found a Merlin or Short-eared Owl on the camp this year, time yet though.

Scotland Live Firing Times - December 2017

This is of course a constructed photo but please ensure you abide by the signs in Barry Buddon, especially the red flag system

Bar-tailed Godwits near Buddon Ness on the Barry Buddon Camp

Also at Buddon Ness the hull of a boat which looks to be undamaged although partly buried. Anyone know someone missing a boat in the area?

A Buzzard just of the Carnoustie Golf Links watching the activities on the courses where a great deal of work is being done for next years Open Championship

One of a pair of Collared Doves often seen at Barry Halt

This friendly, or less wary Common Seal is entertaining walkers most days in front of the Westhaven car park. Here it's seen near sundown giving it a golden glow. Best seen near high tide

Redwing, carried forward from a trip to Scone Palace 

March 2017

Looks like March this year was a productive month

Green Sandpiper at Murton NR, click here for distant HD Video

Iceland Gull 3rd winter, filmed from the Fog Horn at Arbroath Harbour ( "Back o' thi heids" ) click here for HD Video

Siberian Chiffchaff, Keptie Pond. I still think there were two but couldn't prove it and never will

Red-necked Grebe from Lintrathen New Hide, a long-staying and welcome visitor

Black Redstart at Mains of Usan which fed along the beach and often perched on some lobster pots ("sunks" if you're from Arbroath)

Little Gull on a northern migration passing through Monikie

Goosander at Keptie Pond

Grey Heron near the mothballed Leisure Centre at Forfar Loch

Waxwing at Inverkeilor

Goldeneye at the Lurgies, very wary as are all of the birds when the shooting season starts. By March things start to settle down and migrants begin to move away

Sunday, 17 December 2017

February 2017

I'm sure some of these will have been posted before.

American Wigeon HD video, click here,

Slowed motion of a drake Smew from Kinnordy, click here for video

Common Snipe filmed from the Gullery Hide at Kinnordy, click here,

An American Wigeon, thought to be the one from Lintrathen seen at Birnie and Gaddon Lochs in Fife on 20/2/2017

Kingfisher in front of the Bank of Scotland Hide on 8/2 2017

Great Crested Grebe photographed while waiting for a Red-necked Grebe to come closer at Lintrathen on 24/2/2017

Kestrel female, seen at the north end of St Cyrus beach on 27/2/2017

Peregrine at St Cyrus on February 17th 2017

An early Razorbill on the cliffs at Fowlsheugh