Sunday, March 09, 2008

Birding for Soup

Y'know, they all laughed when I said I was investing 3 months and several hundred pounds in designing and building my perfect birding hat from scratch. Yes... LAUGHED! Well, here we are, several months later and massively over budget, I present my birding hat.

Yeh baby. Who's laughing now eh? eh? In.. your.. face.. in... your...face..!! Took it out for a spin for the first time today. I didn't really see very much, and I have to admit it blew off into the sea and is probably birding Denmark by itself. But as proof-of-principle, I think you'll agree it was a towering success, and a tribute to my team of designers and manufacturers. Go team!!

Last week's ONE White-throated Dipper on the Elsick Burn had become two today. Didn't the Spice Girls sing a song about that? I flushed them* from under the bridge at the Mill garden by my to-be-patented technique of emptying all the crap out of my pockets into the water and seeing what flies out from under the bridge in disgust. That last bit was a lie. Everything else is true, or at least I don't mind you thinking it's true. Actually that last bit was true... I just don't want you to know. Now even I'm confused.
*The Dippers, not the Spice Girls.

At low water, the beach was quite busy, relatively, with 14 Ruddy Turnstones in the rotting seaweed, male Pied Wagtail and Grey Wagtail and a couple of Rock Pipits, one singing lustily. A male Common Stonechat surveyed the scene haughtily from up the cliff sides, and complained about where all the litter at the mouth of the burn had come from.

Hmmm... on the rocks at the bottom of the cliffs, I saw a bit of bird behaviour (by accident, obviously) - two Rock Pipits, I assume 2 males, in aggression posture with the heads down slightly and rear nape feathers puffed up to give themselves a bull-necked effect. Walking backwards and forwards in front of each other, about 1 m separation, for a minute or so at a time, back and forth back and forth, a bit like stags. A LOT like stags, tbh. They'd do it for a bit, then wander off, or pretend to feed for a bit, before being back on the job. ONe of them, inttteerrreesttiinnggllyy, was a pretty good-looking littoralis, with a peachy flush to the upper breast, stronger white supercilium, greyer mantle and less splodgy breast streaking. Weird.

Offshore a tight knot of 11 Razorbills and a single Guillemot (Common Murre) (a bridled bird, as it 'appens) were off the breeding cliffs, all in that summer dress of theirs. They're going to need a bigger dress. That Guillemot is kidding itself if it thinks it's a size 8. More Razorbills flying back and forth in groups offshore, a few Northern Fulmars and a single Black-legged Kittiwake south at speed.

Walk round Cran Hill was uneventful, now that Mount Doom has left me, but I did see the World's biggest mole hill. But I didn't take a photo - didn't want you getting too excited.

What else happened today.... oooh yeh, 2 things.

1) Trip to Stonehaven to fill the kids with ice cream. The Herring Gulls were hanging around waiting to mug us. They rolled up their feathers to reveal their muscle tattooed wings and demanded chips with menaces.
Ah, Herring Gulls... you're a b$tch, but I love* you anyway.
2) Preoccupied... I found out thanks to Google that a species of bird that is apparently no longer in trade can be mail-ordered in bulk, should I so want.

* but not in that way. More like a little brother or sister, or maybe like a pet fish. yes, a pet fish. I'd cry if I had to flush you down the toilet, but you're free to see other fish.


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