Saturday, 8 April 2017

Little Ringed Plover and Scaup

Safe to say that a Little Ringed Plover doesn't nest between the low and high tide marks so reporting this one at Montrose Basin (it has been reported already) shouldn't affect the bird and careful birders may see it again in the future.

The Scaup at Maryton Ditch seem to prefer that side of the basin when the high banks offer shelter from a southerly or south westerly wind, they'll be gone very soon I suspect.

The large Rainbow Trout was one of a pair excavating a redd to spawn in which is something I've never seen before and wasn't even sure that species did attempt to breed, or succeed.

No excuses about three photos, I'll likely never get this kind of chance again to photograph these rare migrants around the size of a sparrow

The marking on the cheek behind the eye which has brown in the black shows this single bird is a female

They always look serious

Three of 17 Scaup, 5 drakes and 12 ducks still at the basin just waiting to fly north any day now

Shelduck, near the Shelduck Hide, where else?

Seen from above the pair of Rainbow Trout looked to be 7 and 5 pounds in weight but given the depth of this one seen when it was digging the redd it's safe to add a few pounds to each.

Ring Ouzel, Little Ringed Plover and a first 2017 Swallow

No stunning photos but a record of some newly arrived species which nearly always stay well away and high up on the hills especially when the weather is good as it was on Thursday. The birds in question are Ring Ouzel and two birds a male and female were seen at the east end of Lochlee along with some Wheatears and surprisingly a Red-legged Partridge. I found two other year firsts at a different named site, Little Ringed Plover and a Swallow. (might have a usable video later)

Male Ring Ouzel

Red-legged Partridge, appeared in one poor photo with the female Ring Ouzel

Wheatears fighting over a female or territory

The winner

Distant Little Ringed plover newly returned from Africa to breed and spend the summer in Angus! Photo at 104 times zoom on the Canon SX60

My first Swallow, seen at the same site as the Little Ringed Plover

Walking along the South Esk I found this Grey Wagtail in a strange pose and soon found out why as its mate flew in and they mated

Pied Wagtail, I recall this one was at Lochlee 

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Marsh Harriers, Ospreys and even a Red Kite

A bit of a raptor fest and it should be noted that all of these are Schedule One birds and should not be approached at any time and especially now in the breeding season. The photos below of the Harriers, Osprey and Kite were all taken from public hides.

Male and female Marsh Harriers just after a food transfer which wasn't seen

Female Marsh Harrier

Male Marsh Harrier


Female again

I didn't get a worthwhile photo of the plunge so these are the aftermath and again from far to far away

The fish looks to be a small jack pike

I believe the darvic ring is "white LN" if I recall

Female Osprey at Balgavies, but is she a new bird or just last years who has somehow lost the darvic ring

Balgavies male, I'm thinking this is the bird I saw at Montrose Basin last Saturday

Red Kite at Kinnordy, it flew away before I could get a photo with any sort of light on the bird. It's not thought to be a passing Red Kite as sightings are almost daily

Lesser Redpoll, below various incarnations but likely all the Lesser variant. I'll have a look next time it rains or I'm too tired to go out again....

I may go back to Balgavies where these Redpoll were and try for some better photos earlier in the day when the sun is lighting the feeder area

Female or 1st winter/spring Lesser

Little Grebe at Kinnordy

Shoveler pair at Kinnordy, quite a number of Shovelers there this week and as often the case, more drakes than ducks

Drake Teal

Duck Teal

Lots of Brown Hares around just now, at least eight near Kinnordy and six at Backwater Dam both places in a group. This one kept coming to the car park at Backwater Dam

I really like Cormorants in breeding plumage, this one was at Lintrathen where the Red-necked Grebe was sheltering in the far corner in front of the New Hide

Greylag at Kinnordy

Lapwing at Kinnordy which was very close to the Swamp Hide

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Rooks fighting and an "out of area" Corn Bunting

A fight, a Corn Bunting where it wasn't expected, Peacock Butterflies and still some Little Gulls around. A short trip I thought, but we'd covered 10.15 km without really noticing it and Olive had nearly 16,000 steps on her Google Fit app.

Two Rooks fighting on the beach at Easthaven while a third watches on

I assume it's two males fighting over a female, but can't tell

The vanquished loser and something doesn't look quite right with its foot?

A lone Corn Bunting seen near Easthaven with a metallic ring I can't read

Male reed Bunting on the beach path at Easthaven, one of at least six seen

A small number of Peacock butterflies were active in Craigmill Den

Still 18 Little Gulls at Monikie

Recently Greenfinches have returned to my garden feeders, this morning six were squabbling over rights to the sunflower seed. Photo through double glazing as they are still very flighty 

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Ospreys return, Treecreepers creep

The return of Ospreys continues and the one below at Montrose Basin flew over the Lurgies path from the Basin without a fish and continued inland. The Treecreeper below was a bonus which I found as I went back to my car in the lower car park at the SWT Centre. The unsettled and showery weather on Saturday had me looking for cover on a few occasions hence my visit to the Bank of Scotland Hide now without a Kingfisher which will have gone elsewhere to breed.

Treecreeper in the car park at SWT Centre, Montrose Basin

Not so much a welcome back for this Osprey at the Lurgies, more like being escorted off the site by the Jackdaws

Grey Heron in front of the Bank of Scotland Hide at the SWT, I was hiding there from the thunderstorm on Saturday afternoon

Daily as high tide nears, flocks of Knot fly from the mud to roost at Rossie Spit. This is a crop of part of the smaller flock on Saturday. Top right is a single Knot showing some red on its belly and just above the centre is a solo Turnstone. The other larger flock had Black-tailed Godwits mixed in it

Well' what can I say, "pillow talk" for Mallards. Their mating technique always seems just a bit to brutal. Also at the Bank of Scotland Hide

Not to be outdone by the Mallards this Mute Swan pair were equally amorous upstream of the Slunks

This looks like the classic heart shaped celebration of their mating but unfortunately a side on view. It does show how relaxed these Swans are though as they weren't bothered by me walking along the river path

Black-tailed Godwit, a 1st winter bird which has over wintered at the Basin. Seen on its own on the South Esk near to the scrape in the field at the top of the Lurgies

These Goldeneye will soon be going north to breed, perhaps I'll see them later in spring up near Aviemore where I saw ducks with ducklings last year