Sunday, December 28, 2008

In Newtonhill, an unconfirmed report of...

Waited until it got light this morning, but by 9.30 realised it wasn't going to get light. So went out in the half light with drizzle and... dead. Not a tweet. After pottering around the Mill Garden and Honeypot Lane to little effect, I took a whim to go round Cran Hill, where for 9/10 of the way round the highlight was being attacked by a muzzled dog with its owner telling me 'he can't hurt you!' Then as I got back to East Cammachmore, the bushes were alive with 30+ Yellowhammers, 15+ Reed Buntings and a couple of Eurasian Tree Sparrows, among the usual Greenfinches and Common Chaffinches. As I was looking up at the trees, 3 Whooper Swans flew over, and even called. Not quite a patch tick, but not far off (I heard some flying over one bnight a few years ago). I just read that though and I's typed 'Whopper Swans' which is actually a better name. Changed in now.

Then a couple, with a couple of big dogs, came up the lane, asked me if I were a 'bird man'. I replied that yes, I am indeed a bird man. They asked me if we get Marsh Tits around here, and I said, as the authoritative birdman, that no we do not. They told me that they had a couple of Marsh Tits coming to their feeders. We discussed Coal Tits, Blue Tits, Great Tits, House Sparrows and they were very familiar with them and saw them all the time. They knew that Willow Tit was a confusion species and we discussed that. Anyway, there was enough there to convince me to go for a look, and I shivered away an hour seeing lots of Coal Tits at their feeders. The Marsh Tits have apparently been around all the time, including this morning, from 8.00 to about 9.30 am, then move off for the day. So assuming I do't drink any more of this Glenmorangie, I'll be there early doors tomorrow. Will let you know how i do. Thet also get Great Spotted Woodpecker in their garden, and mentioned Green Woodpecker, which would be another patch tick. Just occurred to me that I should have discussed Common Blackcap with them.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

You would not believe what happened to me.

I was away a bit. And how. Without a breath of a lie. I was investigating a strange humming noise coming from a corner of the wardrobe, and fell through a hole in the space-time continuum. During my varied adventures I saw many strange sights and brought back many things from the future that I may tell you about one day over my secular Christmas. So, no harm done, except on my timescale I was gone around 80 years, and I come back to you now as a decrepit old man, and will probably turn to bones and dust before long. At least this way I fit in better wandering around downtown Newtonhill, which is what I did today.

And at the top of the St Anne's track, my good run of Common Reed Buntings continued, with 5 in the knotweed. Strangely, in the future they are just called 'buntings' and are actually used as bunting, strung between lampposts on the anniversaries of King Charles's abdication and the election of President Peaches.

More Long-tailed Tits (Bushtits) today. Down the burn, and then 6 in willows at the top of the cliff steps, 2 of which were flycatching. Amazing how they've gone from patch rarity to commonality this winter - they are certainly British birds moving around for a change. We even had 6 on the peanuts.

5 Rock Pipits and a Meadow Pipit feeding in cow field - I hope we get back to the glory days of the flock of 60+ Rock Pipits there. Some Ruddy Turnstones on the beach, but not a lot happening offshore. To be honest, the future was much more exciting, and I can't go on. Damn this temperate climate with its 'seasons' and its lack of winter action. In the future there are no seasons - basically it's just warm and wet all the time, but the birding is easier as everywhere under 400 m altitude is under water, so every birder picks a mountaintop, holds out a twig and sees what lands on it. It's how I got Common Fiscal onto the future Oceania list, but that's another story.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Band of Dunnock Brothers

Proud to be a Dunnock. I've mentioned this blog before, but you have to go watch their latest video. Possibly the most surreal birding documentary ever produced. Watch out for your web filters. Take a French dictionary with you.