Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bonus Birds

Another walk round the patch. Frosty day. Blatently obvious that there will be nothing to see. So I amused myself taking this photo of one of our local telegraph poles. Unlike other parts of the country, we use Common Buzzards to separate the wires. Grrr.... those wires.

Then Lo! or moreover, Blimey! A flash of iridescent blue in the sunshine and there was a Common Kingfisher flying up the Elsick Burn. And great was the Joy of the people of Israel, for it was only the third such bird in 3 years of patch watching, and indeed a useful patch year tick. I started to compose a round up of my patch year with... 'and it all ended in a splash of colour... etc etc.' largish skeins of Pink-footed Geese have been buzzing round this past couple of days, and I wonder if this is all part of a movement to the coast away from icy inland.

I flushed a Great Spotted Woodpecker from the Mill garden and it flew to the feeders at the retreat. Must be the day for brightly coloured near-passerines. Only a Goldcrest and a single male Common Chaffinch in the bushes otherwise.

Down on the beach, another mild surprise - this adult Lesser Black-backed Gull - surprisingly hit n' miss in Newtonhill even in summer, and scarce scarce scarce in winter. Surely the best gull of the day? Also a (the) Common Redshank on the beach and three Ruddy Turnstones. And a yellow-billed Common Eider in the sea.

Had a bit of a look offshore, but apart from a few more gulls (Herring, Black-headed, Great Black-backed) and a roving flock of 6 Common Eiders, I was struggling. So walked back along the south side of the burn and a flock of 6 Black-headed Gulls was flying inland. One of them caught my eye as being a bit white, so bins up and By Jingo! A second winter Mediterranean Gull. Ka-chow! A patch tick, unseasonal, and completely out of left field. As usual, pathetic but unedited on the spot field notes attached.

A rather nice addition to my patch list, but rather spoilt my Kingfisher-centric 'the year ended in colourful manner etc etc.' roundup, which just goes to show that some people are never happy.

There's only one way this midwinter wander could get any more exciting. You know it, and I know it... only one way. And it happened. As I walked past the Mill Garden again in the gathering gloom, I stumbled over this incarnation of my particular deity. A Common Shrew. God Bless us, Every One!

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