Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Gather round... on Sunday I distinctly remember warning of the perils of misidentifying baby Guillemots as Little Auks. In fact I'm pretty sure I advised against it, and against putting the news out on BirdGuides. Well my Spider-senses are suggesting to me that someone out there might not have been listening, cos THIS appeared on Birdguides today.
I was out again this afternoon, and saw three 'Little Auks'. You can tell they're not really Little Auks by the way they are being fed by adult Guillemots. Nuff said for now, but I'll continue to scan Birdguides, like Santa looking for naughty boys.
Not surprisingly for a baking July afternoon, I struggled a bit with birds today. To celebrate the deletion of Moustached Warbler from the British List, I saw an adult Sedge Warbler with a 'moustache', and eventually managed to chivvy a few Common Whitethroats, Goldfinches, Blackbirds etc. out of hiding along the Elsick Burn, but it was hard work. There was a fresh juvvy Goldfinch, and a Blackbird with a faecal sac, so secret breeding continues apace.
In the days of my youth, when life was a constant series of attempts to postpone boredom (i.e. pre-kids, when I had free time) I was an all-round naturalist who knew all about flowers, butterflies, liverworts, and all that crap. The Lizzie and Peter popped out, and I had zero time to do anything, so had to focus on what the Chairman of Zeneca would call my 'core-competences', i.e. what I'm best at... which in my case is pontificating about birds. So I've pretty much spent the last 5 years only doing birds, and all that wildlife that gets in the way of decent views of nice birds has had to go tickle (and that's swearing). And let's face it.... I'm very good at pontificating. ButI still know a butterfly when I see one, so I was surprised today to see 2-3 Dark-green Fritillaries flying up and down the Elsick Burn. Been here 4 years and they were a patch tick - pretty certain I would have seen them if they'd been around in previous years. Kind-of at the edge of their range, but nice to see.
Tried looking affshore for 45 minutes from 3.15, but not surprisingly v quiet. The sea was flat calm and I thought maybe I could jusat scan around and wait for the Minke Whales and White-beaked Dolphins to swim past. Turned out I was wrong. Are 2 Sandwich Terns and 1 Common Tern worth mentioning? The Kittiwakes have had a bumper breeding season so far, with about 50 nests hoaching with well grown young, but as I said before, doesn't seem to be that many young Guillemots (saw 4 on cliffs). And of course those 3 BABY GUILLEMOTS on the sea, with the adults.