And so starting off at the community park (above) - a meadow of cow parsely and dog crap, with suspiscious looking patches of nettles where generations of Newtonhill folk have quite possibly buried the bodies of their enemies. A Willow Warbler flitting delightfully around the birch trees; Great Tit, Greenfinches, Sedge Warbler and a male Yellowhammer in the gorse. Down the track to Muchalls, there were six Linnets on wires above the setaside, and when the sun came out a Skylark started up, which encouraged a Common Whitethroat to start singing from the gorse too, and then a I noticed one carrying food. Ha! So it was going to be one of those days where the lazy birder like me has to be resigned to trying to enjoy watching bird behaviour, being of course a much more worthwhile and satisfying occupation than bumping up your County records by spotting rare migrants etc. I decided to note breeding birds.... that Whitethroat, Dunnock carrying a faecal sac, juvenile Robin etc - an excellent way of annoying County Recorders. When it comes to compiling the report and they are faced with 'Common Whitethroat - 1, confirmed breeding, Deadpan farm, 25/6/06, unusual for this site' they feel compelled to put it in the report, lest they be accused of over emphasis on 'meaningless' records of occasional migrants rather than the 'scientifically valuable' records of breeding populations. Of course, ad hoc records of breeding pairs doesn't mean diddly squit for the scientific record either (that's what the BTO is for), but it's a brave Recorder that puts their head over the parapet and tells you that. Until that day, I'll go on annoying them. Whoahahahahahahahaaaaaa!!!! :-)
Of course another way of increasing the volume of your records in the County Report is to string records of interesting but not too rare stuff to get yourself noticed on the local scene. I'm not naming names, but you know who you are and I have proof, so don't mess with me :-0
Just North of Muchalls, the small patch of likely-looking habitat I have christened Water Valley.
Looks good eh? An ideal place to bird if you like standing on the rotting remains of 50 years of garden rubbish and potato peelings (the locals use it as a dump, the 21st century not having reached us yet). More of the same sorts of common birds. A Chaffinch was singing, and although I pished and squeaked till my eyeballs popped, all I did was bring that Chaffinch closer. Greenfinches, Linnets, Balckbirds, Sedgies etc, but one day I will have my Arctic Warbler here. But not today.
Muchalls was a laugh, with families of tits in the tall trees and mature gardens. This village really does look like the donkey's for rare Phylloscs. It's a bit posh though. When the big one does turn up the instructions on the info services will be 'Please respect the wishes of local residents by parking sensibly, not encroaching on private land, smartening yourself up a bit and voting Conservative.' Glad the Scops Owl didn't turn up here! Have a look at Muchalls...