Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Fowlsheugh from a different viewpoint

I don't know why I went to Fowlsheugh on such a cold and windy day, but as expected it was very busy with thousands of sea birds flying south to fish and back to feed their young. The light was very variable and has resulted in many different  exposures in the photos.
Rather than going north along the cliff path I went down to where the anglers fish to get photos from nearer water level. I had hoped I'd see an early Great Skua as once before at this time I had one sitting on the sea while I fished for mackerel.

The obligatory Puffin photo, I picked this one out of a flock of Guillemots as it took off going south, the only one I saw

An unusual pose on both Razorbills, both were flying with a slower wing beat than normal

You can just see some small sand eels in the Razorbills beak

Guillemot, not as black as you might think but probably over-exposed

Adult Kittiwake

1st summer Kittiwake, wing marking fading from black and beak turning yellow

Monday, 18 June 2018

Redstart chick and missing Kites

I'd never seen a Redstart chick till today but quickly lost it in cover in Glenesk. Later I got a glimpse of it again as we returned the same way and a good view of its mother. Other birds were, Dipper with chicks, Mallard with ducklings, Common Sandpipers doing distraction displays, Grey and Pied Wagtails.
Again I only saw one Red Kite, most probably the one I'd seen before. Where have they all gone, only one in Glenesk and one in Glen Lethnot over around eight visits in spring and early summer. Have a look at the final photo in this post, very much a "not welcome" message.

Redstart chick in lower Glenesk

Dipper chick

The adult Dipper looks worn out. I'm sure I was told that many adults die after a strenuous breeding season

Chimney Sweeper Moth

We went for a coffee at the beach in Montrose and this Common Tern was fishing in the pool against the rock armour. I didn't have the camera and by the time I did it had caught a fish and decided to leave

I believe there are six Greenfinches coming to my feeders and have been able to confirm that Goldfinches are nesting in an apple tree in my front garden, less than ten feet from my window

Starling, one of around forty in my garden in company with the same or more House Sparrows, also Chaffinches, Blue Tits, Dunnock with chicks, Goldfinches and still just the one Tree Sparrow

Scarecrow at Cornescorn, the ninth scarecrow I've seen on the hills to the west of Edzell

June Webs Count

A few photos taken while doing my Webs count for June.  356 birds in 18 species of wetland birds, lots of Crows and Rooks, some Swallows and Linnets

First recording of Canada Geese at Easthaven I've had in six years of monthly counts

Two Grey Herons were being brought inshore as the tide rose but were still very wary of walkers with mutts

Can't say if this was take off or landing

Definitely take off

Still around a dozen Ringed Plover and two Dunlin near Craigmill

Saturday, 16 June 2018

For Lovers of Plovers

The Loch of Kinnordy remained closed this week so I continued my stop-ins to check the progress of  the Little Ringed Plovers, more below. One day when I had a spare hour I went to Arbroath Cliffs where as well as the gulls and seabirds a number of Sand Martins were nesting on a vertical face where there had been a landslide. The cliffs are good place to see butterflies but on a windy day when I was there I could only find one Common Blue and it was trying to find shelter.

Little Ringed Plover chick, its in HD and you'll need to select it in YouTube to get the best view, click here

Some argumentative Soay sheep? At the west end of Kinnordy, click here to view  This has been slowed down to two thirds speed as the original was only 11 seconds long

This Little Ringed Plover seemed to get frustrated with an adult and juvenile Pied Wagtail and after chasing them away from its chicks it did a few victory laps around the area. They never do anything like that when the light is good!

One of the chicks, growing fast and more importantly still avoiding predators. The rock behind it provided something the camera could focus on

Lots of Reed Buntings about just now with the males standing guard near nests, this one at Arbroath Cliffs

A shag flying into a cave or inlet to its nest. A lucky photo taken from the cliff top at the Mariners Grave, Arbroath Cliffs

I still want a photo of a Fulmar taken level with the bird, not from the cliff top

I'm not sure whether any of these are sitting on an egg, time will tell

Always announcing their presence by calling their name, many Kittiwakes are nesting at Mariners

I liked this one of a Herring Gull nearly moulted into its adult plumage

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Big Ears, but no sign of Noddy

A return visit to Mains of Usan was not a success for a better Great Northern Diver photo. I couldn't find it, so instead I made do with anything and everything else around, or in reasonable range.

The video below is of two Red-breasted Mergansers in the ditch at the new Shelduck Hide where unusually I had to zoom out to keep them in the frame until they eventually saw me in the hide. The start is a bit bright but the alternative would have been a dark ending as the birds filled the shot.

Red-breasted Merganser pair, click here for HD video, (if you select 720 or 1080 in YouTube)

We don't count the nurdles on the beach at Mains of Usan but the car wheels instead! A surprise visitor seen on the beach while looking for a chance of a close up photo of the Great Northern Diver, it had gone. Later the same Brown Hare almost ran into me as I stood at the gates scanning the sea

A singing male Corn Bunting at Sandy Braes

Female Eider, without ducklings near to Scurdie Ness. It looks like many have failed to breed or keep their ducklings this year

Juvenile Pied Wagtail waiting to be fed at Usan

This adult was at Mains of Dun and had just caught a Silver Y Moth

Yellowhammer male on the farm buildings at Usan

Sedge Warbler in the reedbeds at Mains of Usan

This hen Pheasant obviously had chicks near the track to the new Shelduck Hide so I quickly moved on

I didn't rate the position of the new Shelduck Hide but with the additional of some "furniture" in front of the hide it might just work. While there a Grey Heron landed right in front of the hide, Pied Wagtails and Meadow Pipits did the same and the video linked to above was taken from the hide. Probably it won't suit the photographers but they/we are never absolutely happy!

Monday, 11 June 2018

Great Northern Diver

I eventually got to see the Great Northern Diver(s) reported last week by Rob and again by Gus and Jon and if I'd been sitting on the right rock near Scurdie Ness I could have got a great photo. Instead I saw the bird close in but couldn't get near without it moving away when it saw some walkers on the rocks. On the way back along the track I amused myself taking photos of Linnet families, Meadow Pipits and Reed Buntings before moving on to the Basin where the tide was ebbing.

Great Northern Diver video, HD if selected, click here to play

Great Northern Diver from the DSLR at distance

Great Northern Diver also at distance but using the optical and digital zoom on my Canon SX60 and less noisy than the DSLR. My fault no doubt with over ambitious settings

Linnet male being hassled for food by one of three chicks pursuing him around the sedge on the Scurdie Ness road

Linnet chick

Meadow Pipit 

Reed Bunting male

A Dunnock chick which looks to be soaked from foraging on the damp ground below the sedge

Eider with two of her brood, her and another had fifteen ducklings in a creche

Same Eider with more of the ducklings

New life in the field at the Lurgies, a Belted Galloway calf

It's much easier to photograph these large animals, perhaps I need to go on safari!

Speeding up the river at Scurdie Ness, from one of the support boats anchored off Montrose