Sunday, 15 December 2019

REVIVE - The coalition for grouse moor reform

I support significant reform of Scotland’s grouse moors, sign the petition here

Almost a fifth of Scotland’s landmass is a grouse moor.
Estimates vary from 12-18 % but nobody really knows because there is not enough meaningful data on what the land is used for.

The mass killing of Scottish mountain hares, the environmental damage from muir burning on vital peatlands, the mass culling of tens of thousands of Scottish mammals and illegal raptor persecution are just some of the problems associated with driven grouse shooting. This all happens to protect red grouse so hundreds of thousands of them can be shot for fun in the space of just four months every year.

The Revive coalition believes the time has come to transform Scotland’s grouse moors for the benefit of our people, our wildlife and our environment. 

If grouse moors were allowed to revive, what would they look like, click here for a short video.

The Red Grouse, Lagopus lagopus scotica, is a medium-sized bird of the grouse family which is found in heather moorland in Great Britain and Ireland.

Mountain Hare, Lepus Timidus
An iconic upland species, mountain hares are famed for their camouflage. In summer, their coat is a grey-brown colour with a tinge of blue, making them hard to spot against the typical backdrop of heather moorland. In winter, they change to almost completely white to camouflage with snow – only their ear tips stay black.

Friday, 13 December 2019

Purple Sandpipers visit Jumpin Joey's

The search for white winged gulls and anything else of interest continues in the gloomy weather at and around Arbroath Harbour. I get a chance to look now and again when Olive lets me out!

UHD (3840x2160) video of a roosting Purple Sandpiper in terrible light, click here

HD (1920x1080) video of a roosting Purple Sandpiper, click here

First Fox video in my garden this winter, click here for Trail Cam video  I'd like to think it's the Vixen from East Seaton I saw on my Corn Bunting surveys

Photos on posts before 10/11/2012 have been lost, I'll work to restore these over Xmas. It helps me to avoid the fake ceremony that has become of a Christian celebration.

Purple Sandpiper, I think there were around six behind Jumpin Joey's, most hidden amongst the rock armour

The usual pose of Purple Sandpipers as they sit out high tide, the one above only stirred briefly as noisy teenagers went by 

Just as the rain started, the 5.3 metre tide meant there was no beach to roost on for these Redshanks

Eider at Whiting Ness, puffed up chest to impress a female

Two of three Eider drakes fighting for the attentions of a duck nearby

"Mr Grumpy", the laird of Whiting Ness, guarding the best territory where most people who feed the gulls go. This is T:524, a mean looking chap who's quick to drive off rivals for his spot

The same Herring Gull I photographed on 12/11/2019 and it's still carrying the leg injured with a bit of line snagged around it, although not better it doesn't look worse

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Jays on film

A few more photos and a Trail Cam video from my hide rota week.
Also a few of the long-staying hybrid Pintail at Keptie Pond in Arbroath. The pond had 6 Goosander drakes and a Little Grebe but I couldn't see any Wigeon, probably as there's no ice and many flooded fields in the countryside. 

Instead of trying to photograph the Jays, I stuck my Trail Cam on the morass of branches over the feeder table, and closed the webbing while sitting stock still at the back of the hide. It worked despite their best efforts to knock the camera down!

Jay collage from three Trail Cam clips, click here for video

Jay collage filmed through the hide webbing on a Canon SX60, click here

A small bird with big nuts. Coal Tit

Puffed up plumage for a bit of heat on a cold damp morning. Probably being fed by hide visitors in the hide as it was hopping around my feet and sitting on the window sill

Just one Siskin coming to the feeders

The Pintail hybrid still at Keptie Pond in Arbroath, it's tame and comes to seed along with the Mallards. You might even be able to hand feed it!

You can just see a yellow leg in this photo

Pintail hybrid (mallard?) with possible mate, which also looks to be a hybrid?

Friday, 6 December 2019

Tits and blooming dogs.............

My rota week again at our forest hide where I sat in the gloom after filling the feeders in hope of a willing Jay, no chance. Was it the labrador or the alsation, maybe the Sparrowhawk. Either way, only a brief glimpse of one Jay and the usual small birds.

This Coal Tit was hanging upside down and stock still viewing something in the trees above, most likely the Sparrowhawk. It stayed in the position at least 5 minutes

Great Spotted Woodpecker, female

Great Spotted Woodpecker, male

Female Crossbill on the track with around six others

Dunnock in the shadiest place at the hide

Maybe the same Dunnock, there were at least two around

Robin, often chasing the Dunnocks

Siskin male, an omnipitant being said,"let there be light", but not much!

Blue Tit

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Bullfinches and Goosanders

Some photos from Forfar Loch where I did find an Otter, it dived out of sight never to be seen again or to be photographed. Many of the other photos were rushed as we had Olive's daughter's Cavapoo with us and both of them seemed to be in a hurry to get round the loch. Something about the cold! Later I went to the beach where it was cold and the tide was out, so I went to my fallback site for late afternoon, Keptie Pond.

I just read this article about SNH ( and the number of licences issued to Kill Ravens,  click here for the Birdguides article  Now waiting for an SNP canvasser to turn up to be interogated about this, and Werrity.

Google still seems to brighten the posted 1200 pixel files?? These have been darkened to look like my blog originals which reflect the colours and darkness of the original photos. I'll try and find a simple solution....

Female Bullfinch in the bright sunshine near the Witch's area, Forfar Loch. Look up the story of the Forfar Witches, it tells a story that looks like the manipulation of young un-educated women, plied with drink!

The male of the pair not far away, it was a richer colour in the shade

Not many Gadwall on the loch in the strong wind, this one was in front of the old centre building

The only Redwing I saw and it was buried and blurred in a tree

Many Woodpigeons at different places around the loch and the same for Magpies

Blackbird female feeding on the berries where the Fieldfares and Redwings should have been

There were at least 40 Mute Swans dotted around the loch with many at the the west end

Now at Keptie Pond and free from Alfie the Cavapoo, but not from the many dogs being walked around the pond. There were 5 drake Goosanders and 7 Wigeon as well as the usual birds exepected

The Goosanders are still wary, little wonder as 2 of the dogs appeared to be stalking them

Moorhen at the feeding station

Drake Wigeon, would make a good photo if I went earlier in the afternoon

Same here with the female Wigeon, which was in the only light making it over the rooftops

A young male Blackbird who has adopted my garden

One of the 30 to 40 Black-headed Gulls at Keptie, it had just fallen through the melting ice

One of the three Tree Sparrows who are daily visitors in my garden