Sunday, June 03, 2007

I can see Hayley now Lorraine has gone

I've had that 'I can see clearly...' song in my head all day and its driving me nuts a) cos I don't like it and b) cos I can only think about it in terms of the punchline of a weak joke about a man who leaves Lorraine to start going out with Hayley. Hence the title today.

I've been busy, and am a bit behind on the ol' blogoid. So here's the low-lights of the past week or so.

Sunday 27th May
Shite. A fresh cold NW wind. A pair of Sedge Warblers w
ith nest material in the dead Willow, being bugged persistently by a female House Sparrow for no obvious reason, unless she can't be bothered collecting her own nest stuff. Family parties of Starlings all over the shop, filling the air with their annoying scratchy vocalisations.
The Garden Warbler sang briefly from the bushes down the track.

I startled and then grilled a juvenile Rock Pipit freshly out along the clifftops. Distinctive appearance- heavily streaked below, no supercilium, white eye ring, tail short, constantly bobbed.

Offshore very boring but a few Northern Gannets and Sandwich Terns.

Wednesday 30th May.
Wet wet wet! I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my boots. My DMs have developed a massiv
e slit along the side. Not ideal for puddles. Seeing very little apart from the stuff I really can't miss. A female Mallard with 1 1/8 duckling were trying to shelter from the rain under the sleeper-bridge. But I flushed them and made them go out in it. Hell, if I'm miserable, so should they be.

A few Common Scoters going south today (22 in 20 min offshore); 1 Man
x Shearwater north, and 50 Atlantic Puffins moving past north - constant trickle.

Friday 1st June
Bit of an SE breeze and some fog - this is more like it! Except it isn't. A Willow Warbler carrying food in the Mill Garden has got a move on. I pished up a Roe Deer from th
e bushes down the track to the beach! On the beach, a juvenile Grey Wagtail being fed by the male. Two Peregrine Falcons flew by in formation. A tasty-looking dead juv Starling at the allotments, where a Dunnock was hauling a fecal sac round for fun. Everything soggy.

For the perverts out there.
Saturday 2nd June.
This is more like it! Down at Steve Dudley's house, Farcet Fen, near Peterborough. Top Secret BOURC meeting at an undisclosed location (observer's name withheld) nearby. Hauled myself out of bed an
d wandered off down the road pre-brekkie. Almost immediately a Eurasian Hobby flew over, carrying something that looked like a Barn Swallow, and probably was. About 5 minutes later, a Barn Owl floating over the road, also carrying prey. Also delighted to hear some Corn Buntings singing (and got a recording and sonagram) and even better (with apologies to southern softies who don't understand this) recordings of calls of a pair of Yellow Wagtails (still not on my Scottish List). (Although, tbh I don't have a Scottish List). (But if I did, Yellow Wag ain't on it).

Yellow Wag flight call - as also figured in BWP.

Other things I wouldn't normally get in sunny Newtonhill included Reed Warbler and Red-legged Partridge (walking along the road - not so strange, that's what I was doing too).

Was disappointed not to get Turtle Dove (had to make do with Tree Sparrow) but at least heard one at Egleton later.

International criminal known only as 'El Toadsnatcher' is wanted for the cruel murder o
f this Winter Wren. If you have information about this crime, please write in. Or if you can guess the weight of the Wren, it's quite possible you will win it.

Note that the bird is much less barred along the back than our northern Scotland jobbies. Maybe Phillip Clancey was right about T. t. indigenus.

Sunday 3rd June
Back to normal. Arrived back late last night. A Red-backed Shrike at Girdleness. Couldn't be bothered going 5 miles out of my way, so resolved to find my own. Bad move. I was left looking at a couple of Willow Warblers in the Mill Garden. Y'know, WWs do bob their tails like Common Chiffchaffs. Often accompanied as part of a wing-flick action, but not always.
A nice yellow-billed Common Eider on the beach, paired with a female (the best way
to achieve successful fertilisation). Offshore - in about 30 min were 5 Manx Shearwaters heading north, 100 + Northern Gannets, 3 Sandwich Terns and a Common Tern. Plenty Puffins, + the other 2 auks, Kittiwakes and Fulmars. See although I complain about my patch that I don't get Corn Buntings, Yellow Wagtails etc, I bet Steve struggles for Puffins and Gannets on the Fen. The ideal combined patch would be a piece of continental-climate lowland farmland, sticking out into the North Sea. I think they call it N0rfolk.

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