Sunday, February 22, 2009

Roll up roll up.. it's the 'borealis' time of year.

Weather has improved and the birds have moved on... at least last week's interesting Fieldfares, Snow Buntings, and Eurasian Woodcocks etc. are no longer here. But a few Eurasian Siskins overhead, and I took the camera out again hoping to improve on mt former piss-poor performance. I didn't really manage this, but Lo! It must be that time of year when the Common Eiders move back up to the Ythan. For there were at least 60 in and around the bay, predictably including some yellow-billed ones.

Look at these two - back bird is big bright yellow bill, and scapular sails. The other one is yellow, but not as bright, and no sails visible.

Potential borealis Common Eider (back)

Think this one is different bird. Sails possibly visible.

And where do these yellow-billed jobbies come from? Well I also photo'd this one with a white-over green ring combination, ringed on the Ythan in.. 1984. 25th birthday approaches. Just like mine. Errrr....

Class of '84 Ythan Estuary Common Eider. Another yellow bill.

This is all I got time for. Meant to be writing some sort of talk for the International Gull Meeting in Peterhead. Peterhead! Best get my heroin money out of the bank. Here's some more photos.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Had another go at this taking pictures malarky.

Some sort of documentary evidence of birds in Newtonhill shocker. Snow melting fast. Five Eurasian Reed Buntings feeding among the stubble at the top of the burn...

...see ?

and a White-throated Dipper on the Elsick Burn

... see?

Still piles of birds around that wouldn't normally bepiling around, e.g. Fieldfares and 2 Mistle Thrushes in Cow Field, and a Eurasian Woodcock flying up the burn. The sky was full of flocks of Pink-footed Geese going back and forth. The beach had 1 Common Redshank, 7 Ruddy Turnstones and some gulls, including these.

Quiet offshore (auks, gulls and Northern Fulmars sat on the water, and a good shag). I ripped my thumb open on the slidy catch on the gate to the allotments, and then didn't see any good birds therein. Mind I was busy swallowing my own blood at the time. However when I went down the costal fields to Muchalls, a flock of 16 Eurasian Skylarks (dull) with 2 Snow Buntings (interesting) flew over.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Some proper winter weather

It's just like the old days, when the winters were snowy and the summers were sunny and people of all races and creeds lived together in harmony and peace.

Always interesting to go outside in this and watch the birds starving to death. Except they don't in Newtonhill, on account of the oil (?eh). On Friday, when I was waiting for a non-existent bus to take me to work, a Common Snipe had flown in over the snowy fields, and there were flocks of Fieldfares about, which hasn't been the case of late. So hopes for more birds on the move today. Stepped out of the house into a flock of 20 Fieldfares buzzing around the bushes at the back of St. Michael's Road. A flock of 15 Yellowhammers at the top of the track to St Annes, then 5 Eurasian Reed Buntings too. Ker-choW!! a flock of 10 Snow Buntings flew over at treetop level, going south, calling. And as I scoped the Fieldfares from the path down the burn, saw a single Bohemian Waxwing in the back gardens, and heard Brambling flying over too. It was like a smorgasbord of birds that normally I would see around once a year in the village. And the usual Dipper.

Cran Hill was silent and snosy, with flocks of Eurasian Skylarks (40+) and Common Linnets (errr.. 3) going south, and occasional flocks of Pink-footed Geese south over the sea (a few hundred).

Down on the beach, 2 Common Stonechats were among the piles of lobster pots, catching lobsters I'll wager, and there were 7 Redwings and 2 Song Thrushes up the cliff sides. The sea was quiet really, though a single Long-tailed Duck flew north, and there were a few gulls (Mostly Black-headed, some Common, couple of Great Black-backed) feeding in the surf. Back up throuugh Newtonhill, it was garden feeder birds all the way, including a single Eurasian Sparrowhawk. I love the basd weather. For the first time in a while there's birds on the move and a few things to look at.

Eskimo Curlew... I've seen another more distant (unpublished) photo of one of the Texas 1962 Eskimo Curlews. That one doesn't look like a mount :-) More on that when the birds go quiet again.

Evening update.... went out sledging. I say sledging. The kids went sledging. I became some sort of human ski-lift. 2 more Common Snipes flew over, and there were a few hundred more Pinkfeet about. When the kiddies gave me a hurl on the sledge, they pushed me into the cotoneasters.