But first, I haven't even got to this morning yet. As I looked out of the kitchen window at the kerfuffle at the bird feeders on Saturday, I noticed a juvenile Eurasian Tree Sparrow on the back fence with about 25 House Sparrows (dependency culture families eating all my peanuts. MY peanuts, d'yer hear?). A garden tick presumably a bird dispersing from a local breeding site. It didn't stay long. Not surprising if you smelt that side of our garden recently.
So four things I expected when I got up this morning... such diverse elements as: fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope, and nice red uniforms - Oh damn! No.
Things I was expecting:
1) That the sun would still be up there (obviously behind clouds; this is Aberdeen) and the World's ecosystems would still be able to support life and, more importantly, birding. We have those jet-set pop start and their big concert to thank for that. Thank you for all you have given us.
So with that in mind I went birding. A good poke around the patch, more in hope than expectation. Doing a few recordings, checking up on some nest sites etc. Plenty of juv Willow Warblers around, also raggedy-looking Common Whitethroats still carrying food, one or two Sedge Warblers singing, and flurry of Common Linnet families. Intriguingly (or perhaps compellingly - I could have let it lie, but I didn't let it lie) an adult Great Tit flew out of the old nest site in the hole in the bridge at Mill Garden and called in an agitated way while I hung around trying to see what was going on. I'm pretty cetain I've never come across a second brood before, but it could be happening here. I'll keep an eye open. I did expect a second and third brood from the local Winter Wrens, so an adult with a faecal sac flying out from below the fisherman's huts at the beach wasn't such an issue. Looking over to Cran Hill, I could see a family of, presumably olfactory-deficient, hybrid Hooded x Carrion Crows, feeding on Mount Doom (the pile of dung and assorted cattle-related detritus brooding over Newtonhill's landscape). Failed miserably to get decent recordings of duetting Common Swifts over the Courts.
Half an hour looking offshore was to little effect, although a feeding flock of Black-legged Kittiwakes pulled in a feeding Common Tern, and an Arctic Tern went north. About 20 Sandwich Terns loitering around, including 1 flying juv, so at least some terns are successfully breeding this year. When I returned in the evening for another hour seawatch, things weren't a lot bettern with 2 adult Arctic Skuas going north (Parasitic Jaegers) the icing on the cake. Hell, they were the cake! No shearwaters, only 52 Northern Gannets. For a bit of entertainment there was a nice close flock of Atlantic Puffins bobbing on the water. Come closer, and I'll tell you something really exciting about Puffins you might not have heard before... (whispers)... they have really pretty beaks! What? I thought it was just me who spotted that. I'm going to be in disequilibrium now until I'm proved right about something.
I also noticed this - some gentleman has hung a CD from the side of their house to stop the House Martins nesting there. But hurrah! it didn't work! This seems to be a very popular way of trying to keep birds off things. The allotments are festooned (yes, gentle reader, FESTOONED) with old CDs of Roger Whitaker (hurrah!) (again) CDs and those annoying freebies you get in newspapers that serve only to stop you folding them properly.
As I was taking this photo, the man came round the side of the house with his wheelbarrow. It would have been funny if it were full of CDs, but it wasn't.
2) That there would be a comment from Bill Pulliam tagged on to yesterday's post about flight dynamics. I'll say something tomorrow. Was intending to do it now but it's getting late. Jam tomorrow.
3) That my post would make it to Tom Nelson's website and that some anonymous person would call me an arse. It's not like I've ever tried to hide it but a) at least I put my name on stuff and b) I'm ugly but you can diet... no wait, I got that wrong. I'll come back in. I may be stupid but you're fat and I can grow hair back. No, wait, i got it wrong again. One more time... I may be ugly but you're fat and I can diet. Nope, nearly right...
4) That the capitalist system would still be oppressing us all
Please do have a go. This is a real competition. The prize is a visit from the Spanish Inquisition. When you're least expecting it of course.
And finally, these are all genuine 'in the wild' photos around the rubbish tips, middens and pathways of Newtonhill today, genuine photos, no set-ups, in response to disappointing low numbers (zero) of dead Shrews to ogle. I call it 'Slugs eating things'. From top left... slug eating melon, slug eating pineapple, 2 slugs eating dead snail (disturbing) and finally slug eating dog turd (after posting anonymously on Ivorybill Skeptic, I presume) :-)
I mean, f*** Ivory-bills or photos of bees and David Copperfield... what other blog gives you entertainment like this?