Sunday, April 29, 2007

Alone in the Superunknown

Good long walk round Newtonhill and Muchalls today. They tell me it's spring, but it was f-f-f-freezing! Few more migrants in though... incl. a single Sedge Warbler singing in brambles along the Elsick Burn, a few more Willow Warblers, a Common Whitethroat singing along the Muchalls track. More importantly, in terms of birds-I-should-bump-into-during-the-year-but-aren't-guaranteed was a single fly-by Whimbrel.

Offshore - the usual auks, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Northern Fulmars. 3 Red-throated Divers went north, and a trickle of Northern Gannets. There were maybe 50 Atlantic Puffins dotted around on the water - mostly just loafing, or fishing (it's the miracle of the loafs and the fishes), but one of them spent 20 minutes being ripped apart by a Great Black-backed Gul
l. As I was watching, a Great Skua flew in from the south, deviating neither to the right nor the left, went straight to the Gbb/Puffin love-in at low level and took over. The gull, obviously a bird of experience and discretion, knew it was beaten and flew off without a fight. Thinks it's hard? Didn't stand a chance. the Great Skua spent another 20 min enjoying the Puffin. I bet the Puffin's ghost was having a good cackle.

A Barn Swallow flew over the allotments (only one I saw today - v thin on the ground), and I met a couple from Muchalls who's neighbour had seen a Common Buzzard catching a pigeon on their lawn. Did I know her, Christine? The one with the new gate. Opposite the noticeboard? No I didn't, but I went to Muchalls anyway. And indeed saw the new gate - it's a corker. No interesting birds though. As the Puffin was too distant, i didn't get any photos of dead birds either, but I hope these rabbit entrails go some way to redress the balance.

And this picture looking south from Muchalls. Here be Eiders.

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