Sunday, February 04, 2007

Killer Thriller

OoooKay. My first twitch of the year. What could possibly have drawn Martin out of his Newtonhill hermit cave? A time-managing visit to my Dad with Black Scoter thrown in? A choice of Pacific Divers? A year-tick Barrow's Goldeneye or and American Robin? Black-eared Kite? An outside bet on a quick cross-ocean dash for Black-throated Thrush? Ha! Nothing so obvious! (But jeeez what a fantastic choice for February). Nope... down to the Forth for Killer Whales. I get the feeling it's not very PC, but I'm going to call them Killer Whales. None of that Orca nonsense - I know what they're up to. Actually, doesn't 'Orca' mean 'demon' or devil' or something. Either way, I bet mummy seals tell stories about them to warn their babies to be good.
Ian B offered me a lift and the lure was too strong. Tigers and Killer Whales are the two predators you have to see before you die. Even if it's just before you die! A tart's tick, but when they're on a plate...

...except they weren't on a plate. We got to South Queensferry (home of smugglers and press-gangs) at 8.30, but didn't see a Killer Whale until nearly 11 o' clock, under the Fo
rth rail bridge. By that time we'd been along at Hound Point looking at Common Eiders, Bar-tailed Godwits, a Red-breasted Merganser and Shags, from where I sent Diane a text to tell her I was freezing my swonnicles off. She sent a text back saying the kids had been up since 7 and she had a rotten hangover caused by drinking too much iced tea and rosewater at her friend's house last night.

And it was 1 o' clock before we finally got views of the white bits, turning UTVs into UTBs. (eh?). By that time we'd gone back over the river to North Queensferry and shimmied round the side of someone's house to get a magnificent panorama of the firth with 2 Killer Whales swimming about, harassed by a couple of yachts but apparently feeding well. I say 2 - they never showed at the same time, but there were two fin shapes on display - both female-type but one taller one with a bit of a kink, and one rounder one. They/it would come up 3-4 times in succession, then disappear for 4-5 min
utes. Underwater. Magnificent beasts, looked powerful. Do you know they take adult Polar Bears? Not in North Queensferry, normally, but it was something to think about as we perched on the slippery stone pier at NQ with a fresh wind pushing us sideways. Actually, before the first sighting at 11 ish, I was at the point of stripping naked and swimming round in the river making baby seal noises. Glad it didn't come to that.

There's a BBC report on them, with a link to a bit of video HERE.

Belatedly, here's a rubbish picture of those Grey Partridges that turned up in our neighbour's garden across the road in September (posted here). They were driven out of their favourite field by some heinous muckspreading. Sorry I didn't have the digital camera at hand, so it was done with Diane's old fashioned film camera on max zoom, but no light, hand held. Hence it's shit.

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