Sunday, 19 November 2017

Denlethen Wood, Laurencekirk (and nearby)

A look at a small forest near Laurencekirk where my grandson hopes to find a Great Spotted Woodpecker. I did a short survey of part of the wood where I found a single Buzzard and a Coal Tit. On the neighbouring farmland, especially a newly ploughed field and hedge line a few more birds were seen.

Ellis, your challenge is to find some of these birds, especially the Bullfinches, and your Mum's challenge is to photograph one!

Male Bullfinch, I'm seeing Bullfinches everywhere just now and most have been males in small groups

This Buzzard looks to have a full crop, perhaps it had been following the plough in the field next to the wood feeding on worms

Lots of Crows, Rooks and Jackdaws in the Laurencekirk area

One of a small flock of Fieldfares that had been feeding on berries along a track

At least one Redwing with the Fieldfares but always far off

Yellowhammer in the remains of the sun near sunset

Mallard drakes fighting at Stonehaven beach. There were many squabbles but this one lasted for minutes with the birds in a tight circle chasing and pecking at each other. Unfortunately they remained in the shade of high banks and a footbridge

Drake and duck Pintails, over 40 were at Tayock, Montrose Basin this week

Purple Sandpipers highlighted in the late sun, too much light for the Sanderling in the background

Little Grebe, still about 20 at the Lurgies

On a dull day at Stonehaven this Redshank was about the only colour around

Female Teal at Montrose Basin. Still not seeing many Teal and only had one on my Webs count today at Easthaven

Panto season, "it's behind you". Not as sinister as this looks, the young Herring Gull was landing not stalking

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


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 originally photographed by Joy Cammack with some Sanderling, 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 photos below were the best of the few I got. 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