Sunday, January 28, 2007

Down on the beach

Newtonhill smelt of cow-crap this morning. Actually, it still smells like that as I'm writing this (evening). I went to find the source of this scatalogical horror, which turned out to be a fertilised stubble field up by the A90. Birds in said field were 7 Carrion Crows, 1 Rook, 2 Magpies and a Skylark. Not very exciting, but slightly better was a pack of birds around the feeders in one of the gardens by the track, which included at least 3 Yellowhammers. Btw will someone tell my why we stopped calling them Yellow Buntings?

Emberiza citrinella, the real Yellow Bunting

Emberiza sulphurata - the vaguely Yellow Bunting

High tide when I got down to the beach this morning, so I settled down to count the shifting hordes of roosting waders. Here they are, look.

A wee secret, some more were hiding on the other side of the rock. So 2 Purple Sandpipers, 15 Ruddy Turnstones and 2 Common Redshanks. Sorry it's crap, but it was so murky I had to go up to ISO800.

Offshore, I was looking for some faux-borealis Common Eiders. Nothing with decent scapulars today, but cop a load of the bill colour on this one.

Sorry, bit of an eider overload there. Also offshore, a rather spankingly white Red-throated Diver fishing in the bay (and another one going north), a really meaningful Shag, afew Common Guillemots and Razorbills back and forth, the usual assortment of gulls, but not many of them, and some Northern Fulmars inspecting the cliffs.

A family of hybrid Hoodie x Carrion Crows were feeding on the clifftop grass - happy slapping hoodies with ASBOs - and a couple of Rock Pipits.

In Cage and Aviary Birds this week... how not to kill your Cockateils by scaring them in the night. (Strobelights and fireworks are right out!). A few 'Pekin Robins' (Red-billed Leiothrix) going cheap and blimey - pairs of Marbled Ducks at £30 a time! Cripes, at that price I think I might get a couple. I'll release them on Rutland Water when I go down for the Bird Fair. Future-read all about it: '2007 was the hottest summer on record in Mediterranean North Africa, a possible consequence of global warming, and widespread dessication and desertion of the Tunisian breeding lakes was reported in late July. That these wary and unringed birds should turn up at the right time does suggest that at least some of these wild birds may have headed north...'
You might be wondering whether there was a point to that, and you'd be right.

But I guess it is possible to make arguments for the wild origin of the most obvious escapes. Conversely, it's possible to come up with convoluted escapee arguments for the most obvious vagrants. I was going to mention some examples, but it's too inflammatory!

Since I mentioned the delights of my ex-home village of Winchburgh, I noticed I'm getting a lot of hits from people doing Google searches for that very village. So I'll set the record straight right away and say it was a very welcoming place in no way deserving of being slagged off by my exaggerations about the level of air-rifle crime and other nefariousness. It is however a matter of public record that certain of our neighbours were known to get drunk and head out on spontaneous Orange Marches round the town, complete with their instruments, in the wee small hours on more than one occasion. I'm sure it doesn't happen any more :-$


MGPennington said...

I'm another borealisceptic.

Yellow-billed Eiders are common here, and may be seen in summer.

You'll be delighted to see this then:


MGPennington said...

Here being Shetland - doh!

And when I say common, I mean not uncommon.

Martin said...

Good ol' Norman.