Sunday, April 27, 2008

Another busy week... a bit of this

a LOT of this if you don't already, now would be a fantastic time to subscribe to BB, or you're going to miss out.

Heads up... spring is finally starting here... at least some Willow Warblers are in - those flighty first arrivals that sing from all sorts of unusual places - heard them straight away this morning and there were 2 on the Mill Garden, where they will probably breed. Still no leaves on the trees though. Between you and me, I think they're all dead. But the birds know it's spring and are getting down to the very serious business of having lots and lots of sex - in and around the Mill Garden they was a Song Thrush with a gob full of disgusting worms and such, and I found a pair of European Goldfinches nestbuilding in the Cypresses. Male and female Roe Deer in the shrubs down the track to the beach, and I got some fantastic WW and Common Chaffinch songs recorded.

At the beach, 3 Common Eiders had entirely grey-green bills - this is in contrast to last year andit fits Martin Garner's observation that these yellow-billed borealis-alikes appear in fits and starts from year to year. Nice male Grey Wagtail here too. I climbed up the cliff stes and in the willows at the top there was a Common Chiffchaff skulking, and singing intermittently - another fresh-in. I recorded that as well, but when I downloaded from the Remembird this evening all I got was the ear-busting white noise of data-transfer that means my stoopid phoone must have been trying to phone Mars or something at the time.

At the seabird cliffs - the usual Black-legged Kittiwakes, Guillemots (Common Murres) and Razorbills, but still no Atlantic Puffins. Offshore though... a Red-throated Diver south, then 5 Eurasian Curlews and looking down onto the rocks, there's a Whimbrel. Things are actually on the move in Newtonhill. And about bloody time. And 2 Sandwich Terns going north reinforced the summertime theme.

From there I went up to the allotments. Argh! Something that had never occurred to me is that people might read this blog. I mean, I *know* birders would read it from time to time. Bit I didn't expect *real* people to read it. So HELLO to all the allotment-eers. I overheard that some of you have got dishevelled gardens at home that need seeing to. Now I'm worried that someone from Muchalls migh read this blog and hear what I think about their curtain-twitching habits. More busy busy Song Thrushes, House Sparrows etc at the allotments, but the only migrant was a I looked over to the cricket pitch (a Scottish cricket pitch, on a wind-blasted cliff, go figure) and there was a single Sand Martin (Bank Swallow) buzzing the Oystercatchers.

Down to the coastal fields for another look-see for itinerant Black Larks. Whoah! Common Linnet overload! Well, only about 25 of them, but they were NOT here last week and now they were in the gorse, and the weeds, and collecting nest material, the whole works. It's like someone let them out of a box. Eurasian Skylarks singing lustily as you would expect, but also a larger than normal number of Meadow Pipits, in fact they seemed to be everywhere as well.

Slinking under the railway viaduct and into Muchalls, my hair started to stand on end from the static electricity caused by nylon net curtains rubbing against each other. There was a single Barn Swallow over the fields here, and another Willow Warbler in Water Valley. Then as I walked back up the track towards Newtonhill, I was stalking a Yellowhammer (I was hungry by then) and a Grasshopper Warbler started singing from the gorse. So that's more like it - not just my entry-level migrants today, but also a patch-second. I wanted to get a recording but Remembird's battery chose exactly then to go flat. I know I should take the battery out when I'm not using it for a bit, but by the same token I also know that I should learn Mandarin, brush my teeth after eating sweets and wash the blood off my driveway, but those things never seem to happen either. By the time I changed the battery the gropper had shut up, apparently for good, but I did get this...

...some fantastically complicated Common Linnet song, and now I've got the bit rate sorted out on the ol' Remembird I can capture it easily. Hurrah!

Bit of an irritating Eurasian Skylark twittering away in the background on this first one,

but here you can really see why the Cage and Aviary people think they're worth imprisoning.

Secret Garden was empty of interesting birds, but there was a Small Tortoiseshell, Green-veined White and a Peacock butterfly.

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