Friday, 3 March 2017

Tales from Forfar Loch and Auchmithie

A collection from Forfar Loch, Auchmithie and my garden taken over the last few days. I still can't get the "killer photo" of a Magpie at Forfar Loch despite around twelve birds being seen but always high in the trees or just out of sight. The Great Crested Grebes which I'd seen displaying earlier this week were absent today, I'm assuming the partial displays were bonding and not courtship.

An accommodating Grey Heron in a shady corner of Forfar Loch this morning, just a bit too much ripple on the water for a perfect reflection

A female Sparrowhawk which has taken up a hunting residence at the east end of Forfar Loch, it needs to meet the male I saw later at Murton NR. This one was adjusted using the shadow/midtone/highlight tool to get rid of the shaded underwing

A female Bullfinch from a few days ago also at Forfar Loch

This male Bullfinch was with his partner high in the trees near the car park along with a small group of Lesser Redpoll. Quite a stunning looking bird highlighted in the morning sunlight

The west end of Forfar Loch is awash with Dunnocks just now and they have become much less timid as they look for a mate. Many birds won't move away from a favourite tree and I've seen females teasing more than one male and many birds singing

One of a pair of Long-tailed Tits with what appears to be some nesting material, found near the centre

Mute Swan, still a few pairs and cygnets around but no longer the large wintering flock

One of the Fulmars at Auchmithie, less birds around on the cliffs but many seen out at sea on a calm day. Still no sign of Puffins

One of around twelve Jackdaws checking out nesting opportunities near the top of the cliffs, photographed from the beach

The ever present and squabbling Tree Sparrows in my garden, numbers now around twenty at a time and since the weather improved the leucistic bird has been absent. The front garden feeders are now attracting Chaffinches and Greenfinches, the first time this winter, or should I say meteorological spring

Monday, 27 February 2017

The return of the Auks

A social walk today with Olive who not surprisingly got bored as the good light meant I found many photo opportunities, or was it opportunities to muck up some good photos.............

We started with a walk along to the north end of the St Cyrus NNR where all the usual suspects showed well including, Ravens, Peregrines, Buzzards, a Kestrel, two pairs of Stonechats and a pair of Rock Pipits. We moved on to the north at Fowlsheugh an RSPB clifftop reserve in the hope that the auks had come onshore and found a mixture of at least 5,000 Razorbills and Guillemots with a few Shags and four large rafts of Kittiwakes, maybe 800 birds

Kestrel female at the north end of St Cyrus Beach

Peregrine also at St Cyrus, photo from the designated path

Razorbill at Fowlsheugh, one of perhaps 5,000 auks on the cliffs or the water nearby



Roe Deer from the car park at Fowlsheugh

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Purple Sandpipers and a cliff search

Another rescue or perhaps now a recovery at Arbroath Cliffs on Saturday, it's reported today Sunday that an 18 year old had fallen from the cliffs. Most of the time I was at Inchcape Park the Coastguard Helicopter hovered near the harbour and later when at Victoria Park I could see a search ongoing at the cliffs.

Bird-wise, there were 31 Purple Sandpipers at Inchcape, a few Curlews and at least one Dunlin with a black belly, not complete yet. At the start of the cliffs path I could see Skylarks in the field but access was barred by the Polis.

Coastguard Helicopter at Arbroath Harbour

Shannon-class lifeboat Ian Grant Smith on the search. This lifeboat is based at Montrose

Something woke up the Purple Sandpipers briefly for this photo

In this one the light shows purple flashes down the centre of many of the feathers

The Dunlin showing some of its breeding plumage coming in along with a single Ringed Plover at Inchcape

Curlew, its a wonder they don't topple forwards or damage their beaks more often