Friday, 1 July 2022

Red-necked Grebe and Surf Scoter +

Returning birds have started to be seen along the coast this week, starting with a summer plumaged Red-necked Grebe at Lunan Bay which only stayed a day. Then one was reported in Fife the following day.
On Friday Dan Pointon found the first Surf Scoter drake of the season, seen from south of the river. I eventually managed to get the time to try and find the bird, which by then was in front of the public platform in the car park area.

Red-necked Grebe, summer plumage      Surf Scoter - far out man      Lesser black-backed Gulls      LBBG preening 

My visiting Vixen, looking thin      Dog Fox moved on by Cat      Woodpigeons sabotage the Parks Department re-seeded grass area

A 300 metre, distant photo of a Red-necked Grebe found by Graham and Keith this week at Lunan Bay

Common Spotted Hoverfly

Tree Bumblebee

Tree Wasp, you can just see the tiny black spot on it's face, not all have that feature

Garden Bumblebee rescued and fed by Olive, it recovered quickly when she gave it a tissue soaked with sugar and water

Common Banded Hoverfly

Marmalade Hoverfly  

Small White Butterfly 

The beach at West Links, Arbroath which is covered in seaweed up to a metre deep. It might bring in birds to feed in it as it rots, it won't suit the tourists and there will be complaints about the council cleaning it up on Facebook, as if the council reads it!

One of many small (13mm) Common Frogs in and around my pond

This is what conservationists are up against, you've got to question the mentality of someone who creates and displays this. Looks like a tank or field gun left screen, maybe their latest way of killing raptors!

Friday, 24 June 2022

Corn Bunting singing and big eared beasties

My Corn Bunting survey for June didn't quite get the weather the Met had forecast, but as the early morning progressed and the conditions improved a decent number of Corn Buntings and other farmland birds were found. The cereal crops the birds nest in have just about all grown enough to provide cover for nesting, and I've figured out the differences between winter and spring planted crops.
Most of the photos were taken on my Nikon P1000 which is light enough to carry when walking 9 miles and climbing over drystane dykes. I use the camera to help identify distant birds, or those I see when looking into the low early morning sun, by over-exposing them.
I've tagged on some DSLR photos taken on Thursday near Auchmithie when the wind was unexpectedly strong, and a few more new insects for the year. 

Corn Bunting male singing      Skylark singing      Brown Hare      Skylark disturbed by dog 

Corn Bunting male which was singing from roadside wires

Skylark, also singing but from a drystane dyke

Different Skylark singing aloft

A photo taken to confirm that a silhouette I could see was in fact a Stonechat, I couldn't see if it was an adult or a juvenile. It turned out to be a juvenile and a second one was nearby

Calling from inside a tree before giving just enough of a view for a photo, it's a juvenile Whitethroat which I hoped would be a Lesser Whitethroat until it called and gave it away

Brown Hare, seen with another one in early morning, it could hear me moving behind a dyke but continued feeding, a gentle animal which has become much rarer throughout my lifetime

I think this is a Roe Deer I saw before in the same field. The first time it was casually running up the tractor tramline and when it filled my binoculars view I thought it might run into to me! In reality it stopped about 15 metres from me, took one look and left pronto. Today it watched me from behind a dyke as I walked past in the adjacent field

Six Spot Burnet Moth, the first one I've seen this year, love the colours and contrast between them

Simply a Honey Bee, seen when walking with my "honey". I think I'll get away with that as she doesn't read this blog, or does she?

There are three confusion species like this hoverfly which I think is a Sun Fly, also known as The Footballer, Helophilus pendulus. The weather on Thursday, sunshine and warmth, brought it to my garden pond 

Still getting Tree Wasps quenching their thirst on the surface of my pond and lots of small frogs appearing in the garden

Thursday, 23 June 2022

House Martin drama (again)

Some photos from West Links, Arbroath where I spent less than an hour waiting to do my chauffeur duty. Not much at all to see, but at least the light was good at high tide.
Below the birds are a few hoverflies and insects  seen around my pond and Olive's garden.

Late news: the House Martin nest fell down today, there's no evidence of dead chicks but given the adults behaviour recently there must have been chicks close to fledging. Let's do a Michela Strachan and hope they made it. I'm now investigating man-made nests as it's the second nest to fall in three years. It seems the bond in the mud has broken at the same point in both years it failed. I might remove the remains of the nest so they build a new base, unless they build again too soon.

Redshanks in the seaside sun, returning from breeding, hopefully they've left independent young behind

Oystercatcher at West Links, Arbroath. Some nest on nearby roofs and can be seen flying to the beach to forage

Just a few of last years young Black-headed Gulls near the paddling pool at West Links, Med Gulls back soon I hope

A young Carrion Crow with a patterned breast and belly

Juvenile Blackbird thinking about investigating Olive's kitchen, so am I it's near tea-time

Broad Centurion Soldier Fly Chloromyia formosa, well I'm confident that's correct

Common Banded Hoverfly Syrphus ribesii one I record every year in my garden

Another Common Carder Bee, they're very common, there's not many places I haven't seen them

Common Spotted Eupeodes Hoverfly, Eupeodes luniger

Narcissus Bulb Fly Merodon equestris, things are going too well, I'm bound to have something wrong!

 Full frontal view...

Olive's planted Lupins in her garden, the birds planted this one and others in mine

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Dark Green Fritillary and co-stars

Some of the species I recorded on a visit to Carnoustie Golf Links. I think better is yet to come as more flowers emerge and perhaps even the wind will stop. I found 25 species of birds, 2 of butterflies, 1 damselfly and of course some very small frogs with tadpoles yet to fully form into frogs.
I did take some video which was accidentally deleted, I might try and resurrect it if I have time.

Dark Green Fritillary Butterfly on Carnoustie Golf Links boundary

Feeding on Knapweed, I expect more butterflies once more of it flowers

In the breezy conditions the butterflies wouldn't settle

Common Blue Butterfly seen with four others on the vegetation which has grown in where the wind farm cable trench has been back-filled

Common Blue Damselfly male, not many around and just one female seen briefly

The tiny Early Bumblebee

Volucella bombylans Hoverfly, a Bumblebee mimic, looks much like a Red-tailed bumblebee at first glance, note the antennae

One of a distant pair of Magpies on the practice course

One of the two Mute Swans on the small pond near the Buddon Camp boundary, no sign of any cygnets

Some Sand Martins were sitting on the fairway, 8-10 were flying around feeding and occasionally drinking from the small loch

One of three female Tufted Ducks with a single drake, no ducklings seen

Ok, what is disappearing behind one of the vehicles in the wind farm compound?

and finally a Woodpigeon which was unusually tame

Sunday, 19 June 2022

New campaign from REVIVE

As we await details of the Scottish Government’s plans for the introduction of a licencing scheme for grouse shooting, Environment Minister Mairi McAllan has indicated that the seven principles will be considered as the legislation is drafted.

The seven principles can be summarised as follows:

  1. Modifying human practices when possible
  2. Justification for control required
  3. Have clear and achievable outcome-based objectives
  4. Cause the least harm to animals
  5. Social acceptability
  6. Systemic planning
  7. Base control on the specifics of the situation rather than labels (like “pest species”)

You can sea short video below from REVIVE and more information and links on the RPUK Blog.

This looks like a stink pit where previous kills are dumped to lure in more target animals which get caught in snares set around the pit


   Target species, and other species are also killed in traps