Bird Observations Day to Day.

Thursday, 23 November 2006

Goldeneye but not James Bond.

            

On Monday night we had word that there was a very rare duck near us, well I say near us it was about 40 miles away at a place called Callander.  The weather on Monday night was dreadful heavy rain and wind so we did not really think we would be going on Tuesday.  When we got up on Tuesday morning it was a lovely sunny morning so we decided to make the trip.  We made good time the roads were quiet, and the sun was still shining when we arrived which gave us very good light.  There were a few other birders about when we arrived but the duck had moved  . The place where the duck had settled was a river that had flooded fields.  We had a walk down the road a bit in the direction the bird had flown and set up our equiptment to see if we could find him.  I say him because we had been told it was a  drake. After a few minutes I picked the bird up in my binoculars just a short way off .  The picture I have put at the top is of one male Barrow's Goldeneye and one Goldeneye.  Goldeneye winter with us every year but a Barrow's is very rare and much saught after. The Barrows is the one with the larger white patches on his face. Also in the picture are three females.  The Barrows Goldeneye was very much fancied by the ladies and always had one or two with him all the time we were there. This sighting was great for us as we have been looking for one of these ducks for many years. Every time we see Goldeneye we always check them all out to see if there is a Barrow's with them.  He is a bit off course just now he should be in Canada for the winter.  After lunch we had lovely run home round Loch Earn on the quietest roads I have ever seen in that area.  All in all a super day out.
Bye for now.                    


                                    
Joan.

Thursday, 16 November 2006

Look out below.

Good Afternoon, I missed a big event in our garden this morning as it was a cold and wet morning I walked round for the daily paper as I like walking in the rain.  While I was out a Sparrowhawk came and landed on our fence at the bottom of the garden.  Stuart was in the kitchen taking his medication and saw all this happening.  He said it came up from behind the fence sat for about a minute had a good look round and was off at the blink of an eye and I missed it. Teach me to be nice and  go for a paper. We had a Tawny Owl last year and we both missed that just got report from next door.  I think our little birds on the table had better watch out with a Sparrowhawk about.  We have a very big nasty Robin this year too that will not let any of the birds feed they have to wait till he goes elsewhere before they can feed.
Was reading the last report from Loch Garten this morning and the  Ospreys have been very good this year they raised 3 chicks which is excellent well above the norm.  They left for there winter holidays on 4th September so they will now hopefully be sunning themselves in Africa.  It will be 3 years before these chicks will return to breed so we wish them well. That's it for just now all is very quiet up here just now but we did see a lovely Kingfisher the other week just to keep us interested.
Total for the year is now 181.

                                                     Bye for now,

                              Joan.

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

Call of the wild geese.

Good Afternoon, as I mentioned in my last entry we have been waiting for the return of the wild geese. Yesterday were at St Andrews and we saw one or two skeins coming in off the sea. Today we have been out in the garden Stuart cutting the grass and I was getting the bulbs in the pots out from their resting place and tiding them up. During the time we were out which was not all that long as the rain started up we saw a few hundred geese arriving flying in their v formations  and  honking all the way. So now I can say Autumn is definitely here. Its lovely to see them again it seems a long time since they left for there breeding grounds.  I love to watch them when I am in the garden or just hanging out my washing on a fair day. We are so close to one of their main wintering grounds we see them most days.  If the weather is foggy and they are flying low they are barely above the roof of the house.  We still have  Swallows here which is really late but alas they will be gone any day now.  Will have to go out to the Loch soon to get a good look at the beautiful geese.   Bye now,  Love

                                                  
Joan.

Sunday, 1 October 2006

Its the Yellowlegs again.

I thought I would post this picture of the Lesser Yellowlegs as it shows the colour of its legs much better that the one below. They are both pictures of the same bird just different light and cameras.  Thank you to Jim Duncan for making such a splendid job of this picture it is not easy as I have found out.
                                  Bye for now
Joan.

Friday, 29 September 2006

Macduff Break.

As you know we have just returned from a birdwatching break on the Moray Coast. We were blessed with good weather and good light which is equally important to us.  We saw 80 different species with one life record. It was the pictured bird which is a Lesser Yellowlegs an American visitor. I did not take this picture the ones I took were too far away to let you see it properly. In this picture the legs of the bird appear to be orange I can assure you they are yellow just like is says in the name.  It was a very approachable little bird and let us get really close. This bird has been a thorn in our sides for the last 18 months.  It is very rare for one to be on this side of the pond but there was one on Stiffkey Fen in Norfolk in 2005 that stayed for about 3 months in early spring.  We were hoping to see it when we went down in at the beginning of May that year but the little devil flew off on the Thursday two day before we arrived. When we heard this bird was in just before we left we thought no not again, it had moved to another location but had only moved about 20 miles down the coast so this time we did not dip out (that's a birding term meaning missed the bird). We had a great week all told with good views of many seabirds and were able to sit in the sun and watch instead of braving a gale or rain.  We will certainly go back to this area in the future as you can get so close to the sea with the car and therefor makes life easy for us.  Looking forward to the arrival of the geese now but they are very late this year must have had a good summer in Greenland and the North.
Total for the year is now 180.
                                                    Take care
                                                          Love 
                                                         
Joan.

Thursday, 14 September 2006

A Strange Vistor to The Tay Estuary.

We have had a faraway visitor to The Tay Estuary this week. Yes a White Pelican very strange.  To start with it was said to be an escapee and was going to be caught but later in the week it was decided that it was not ringed and did not have clipped wings, therefore must be a wild bird. We have had a busy week with hospital appointments and therefore had to wait till Wednesday to go and have a look for ourselves as we had never seen a White Pelecan before.We have however seen Dalmation Pelican when we have been abroad.  So Wednesday morning bright and early we set off to Monifieth beach where the bird had settled. As we parked the car you could see the pelican with the naked eye it is so big. We walked along to get a better and closer look and got a great view. I was really inpressed to think anything this size could fly if you can imagine it is about one and half time the size of a swan.  While we were having the usual coffee in the car a small flock of Golden Plovers landed in front of us they looked really golden yesterday against the sand and rocks.  So at the moment it is on my year and life list and will stay there till I find out differently.  Thats about it for today off to the North East next week and hoping for a great week.  Love   

                                            
Joan.

Saturday, 9 September 2006

Autumn is here.

          I know you will all think that there is nothing unusual about a Robin this is really just to mark the date for my personal record. I heard my first Robin of the autumn singing  yesterday 8th September.  I was hanging out the washing and he/she was singing loud and clear.  You may wonder why they sing so loud at this time of the year and will go on singing for some time, they are marking out the winter territories and woe betide any other robin that crosses into his/her patch. You will notice that I say his/her that because Robins  can't tell if the intruder is a  guy or gall so what chance have I got. Will have to be getting the  bird table ready for the winter soon but there is still plenty of natural food for them as yet. We still have Swallows, House Martin and Sand Martins about at the time of writing hope to see them for a while yet.  Still miss seeing our Swifts they have been gone since the first week in August up here. Looking forward to our holiday the week after next hoping to get some good birds then. 
                                                Love
                                                             Joan.
                                                          
                   

 

Friday, 4 August 2006

Updates

 

Ferruginous Duck. 30/07/06

Have been spending the afternoon bringing my list of species up to date and thought I would round off with my trip last Sunday.  We set off during the morning to go to Lochgelly Loch. It is a small inland loch that is used by fishermen a great deal but it does not seem to put the birds off one little bit.  We had heard that there was a Ferruginous Duck there and as I had never seen one we thought it was worth a try.  It was lovely sunny morning and the light was very good.  After just a few minutes I spotted the duck by means of Stuarts telescope which is an awesome piece of kit. (My binoculars still being serviced as I write) During the time we were there I managed to get two horse fly bites on my waist, why do they always pick on me. We did not linger at the loch as we had decided to move on to Kinhorn on the river Forth.

Kinghorn was looking good when we arrived and Stuart started scanning the water. During the time we were there we saw Gannets, Puffins, Razor Bills, Guillimots, Eider Duck, Common Tern,Sandwich Tern, and the rare Roseate Tern (Picture above). Just before we left an Arctic Skua came down the river lifting all the ducks as they are a big predator of smaller ducks etc. I have placed a picture of the bird below.  The pictures I have used today are not mine just borrowed. Still trying to save for the attachment I need for the telescope to take pictures like this. Thank you for reading this far.
Our years total is now 162.  Bye for now Joan.

Friday, 21 July 2006

Loch Garten Ospreys

                                            

You will remember way back in the cool days of spring I told you about the Loch Garten Ospreys returning.  They laid three eggs this year which is wonderful some only lay one. The great news is they have been successful in raising them all.  The three girls are now able to fly  two were up and flying at the beginning of the week with one being a a bit of a scardy as usual but I am sure she will be flying now. Thats  it for now.  Love  Joan.

 

Wednesday, 12 July 2006

The Big Catch

              

Being the middle of summer Stuart and I have not been away much bird watching of late yesterday however we thought we would take Ellen for a walk along our local loch side.  We strolled she ran all the way.  We called in to the lovely new hide that has been made there (I think I mentioned the previously). It was a lovely summer afternoon and fortunately there was a Grey Heron close by for Ellen to watch as he hunted just outside the hide. Swallows House Martins and Sand Martins were all skimming the water.  As we sat there an Osprey passed over but still high up.  Later Stuart spotted him fishing about 50 yards out, the fish he caught was so big he could hardly get out of the water, he sort of floated there for a minute gave himself a good shake then took off. What a whopper he had caught the young Ospreys would have been very pleased to see him come back with that lovely trout for their supper.  As he flew away another one appeared not sure if this was the wife or a spare that had not mated this year as Ospreys have to be about 4 years old before they attempt to raise a family and the unattached bird cause a lot of trouble to the breeding birds. We had a great afternoon and I think Ellen enjoyed herself and we rounded of with a visit to the playpark on the way home so on the whole a great afternoon was had by young and old. Love                  

                                    Joan.

Friday, 26 May 2006

The Holiday Bird List.

                                         Avocet.

As promised here is our list of birds for our holiday:-

Tawny Owl, Lapwing, Swallow, Crow, Rook, Magpie, Jackdaw, Swift, Oystercatcher,, Pheasant, Kestrel, Wood Pigeon, Blackbird, Collared dove, House Sparrow, Cuckoo, Greenfinch, Blue Tit, Robin, Wren, Chaffinch, Blackcap, Sedge Warbler, Black Headed Gull, Reed Warbler, Avocet, Starling, Canada Goose, Chiffchaff, Gadwal, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Coot, Dabchic, Cormorant, Bearded Tit, Shelduck, Bar Tailed Godwit, Shoveler, Egyptian Goose, Snipe, Pied Wagtail, Common Sandpiper, Ringed Plover, Ruff, Moorhen, Teal, Mallard, Herring Gull,    Arctic Tern 51 Redshank, White Wagtail, Garganey, Heron, Barn Owl, Dark Bellied Brent Goose, Grasshopper Warbler,Cetti's Warbler, Little Egret, Sparrow Hawk, Turnstone, Pintail, Pochard, Sanderling, Marsh harrier, Ruddy Duck, Reed Bunting, Yellow Wagtail, Golden Plover, Red Legged Partidge, Grey Lag Goose Wigeon, Long Tailed Tit, Great Tit, Montygues Harrier, Whitethroat, Linnet, Stock Dove, Turtle Dove, Corn Bunting, Yellow Hammer, Pale Bellied Brent goose, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Great Black Backed Gull, Willow Warbler, Jay, Whimbrel, Buzzard, Greenshank, Green Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Knot, Little Gull, Gannet, Feral pigeon, Grey Plover,, 101 Stone Curlew, Woodlark, Great Crested Grebe, Hobby, Laughing gull, Bittern, Mistle Thrush, Coal Tit, Curlew 109 in total.

                                 #################################

 Could have been better we kept missing a Purple Heron at Titchwell that was there for over a week but other birders were standing for up to 6 hours to see this illusive bird and we were not willing to stand in one spot for that length of time. We also did not see the Golden Orioles this is the third time we have tried without success if nothing else we bird watchers are very patient people.  Hope I have not missed anything out as I am the sole list keeper. Thank you for your interest if you have gotten this far. Love and happy birding as we say.  Love

 

                                                                        Joan.

        

 

Well here I am back from our "Summer Holidays" so I have my new mug filled to the brim with decaf so I will endeavour to tell you a little of what we did. We can call it Summer Holidays  thank goodness as we did have some lovely weather so good that the birds all got lazy and went to sleep some of the time.  Titchwell was its usual wonderful self a gentle walk round and you can see over 50 different kinds of birds Marsh Harrier being one of my favourites. It can be very busy on weekends it bit like the High Street as we say but still very quiet and peaceful. During the week there are less people but that mean less eyes looking so less news of what is about. We also visited Weeting one of the last remaining nesting areas for the rare Stone Curlew.Only a short drive from there is Holkwold Marshes at Lakenheath a new reserve which is going to have improvements made to it shortly RSPB are going to build a visitors centre and toilets (I hope) and a hide or two.  It is a great spot for Golden Oriels and Hobby gather there too a great spot and a nice gentle but long walk. Cley next the Sea is another favourite of ours but this year it was very quiet when we visited.  We went back a second time in the hope that there would be something new about but that day Stuart had to go alone as i was confined to the car as I had big blisters on my heals from a new pair of shoes I had worn that morning for a trip to Sheringham shopping it seemed strange as it was the first time Stuart had walked The East Bank (Very well known birding walk even Bill Oddie goes there) alone but I think he enjoyed it without me just. I will list the birds we saw later today but will have to close now. Love Joan.

Wednesday, 3 May 2006

A day to savour.

 

This morning Stuart and I were out in the garden trying to get everything done before we go away on holiday.  I looked up and there just above my head was the first Swift of the summer.  Quite a good date have seen it much later in the month before they arrive up here.  They are with us for such a short time, arrive the beginning of May have a busy summer breeding and rearing their young and are away again from my part of Scotland by the first week in August  You are fortunate further south Sifts will stay well into September.  I love watching them, they fly in formation like fighter planes. I get a great view of them from our lounge window and from the garden.  Where I stay they are our most common Hirundine. We had our first House Martin on the 1st of May so that is all of that group of birds in now so we can say its summer ha ha. You know the saying 'One Swallow does not a summer make'.

For my records:- Swallow .....6th April

                          Sand Martin.....10th April.

                          House Martin......1st May

                          Swift.....3rd May.   2006.

Thank you for reading my Bird watching tales. Love

                                                                                 Joan.

 

 

Monday, 10 April 2006

Local Patch.

                                   

         

Our Bird Watching trips have not been very successful of late but we have been trying honest but the weather has been so cold as you know we have not been out as much as usual.  Today after Stuart had been for his first physio appointment we thought we would take a trip round our local loch.  First to the RSPB reserve big mistake as the schools are still off it was very busy and very noisy with badly behaved children so we did not stay long. Sorry to complain but today children seem to get away with anything they want to do we were not the only ones thank goodness that were upset by the noise. We did not stay long then back to the car and we drove round to the other side of the Loch.  There has been a lot of work going on a new footpath and a new hide something we never had before on that side of the loch.  We had a lovely walk to the new bird hide and sat watching the Great Crested Grebes displaying I think you will have seen this on TV as it is very special to watch as they rise out of the water beak to beak and seem to dance its so beautiful. After a while I moved over to the other side of the hide we were the only ones in it so we could move around.  Just as I settled down something in the sky caught my eye it was an Osprey so our local one is back too. (See last nights entry) As we sat watching him/her hunting over the loch I was hoping he/she would see a fish and come down but no luck today maybe next time.  As we sat watching over the loch we saw our first Sand Martins of the Spring not too late for up here but a bit later than usual but with these strong northerly winds we have had we are lucky they are here at all just shows you they have to get to their breeding colonies as soon as they can. So after a quiet spell in the bird watching world at last something to write about .

Our total for this year is now 101.

                    

 

Sunday, 9 April 2006

The Ospreys are Back

                                         Fish for tea.

The Loch Garten Ospreys have returned again. It is always a big event that they have made their long journey safely again it is such a risky business.  Our summer visitors are late like everything else, we saw our first Swallow on Thursday in Perth and we had a Whinchat while we were up north. If you want to follow the Ospreys summer they have their own web site and camera that is worth a look and a read as the warden does a weekly log and tells all the happenings in an interesting and amusing way. I will put a link for you in the side bar as well as on this entry.  Bye for now enjoy the Spring. Love Joan.

http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/l/lochgarten/diary/index.asp

Wednesday, 22 March 2006

Feathering Your Nest

Have been rather neglecting this diary of late what with the weather being so cold etc we have not been out our bird watching very much so I though I would tell you of something I saw the other day that I thought was very clever.  The picture above is a large patch of short grassland at Birnie Loch, I have mentioned this place before as we do visit it and walk round it quit often.  We were passing late on Monday afternoon after one of our many visits to St Andrews. This piece of grass is a roosting ground for the Mallard and the gulls and it is also where people 'Feed the Ducks. ' I think you can just about see all the feathers lying about, now there is a Rookery just behind where this photograph was taken. As we sat in the car watching what was going on we noticed that a pair of Rooks were gathering up all the feathers, great beak fulls for their nests, it was not long before other pairs joined in this activity but they were not so adept at this and the feathers kept escaping from their beaks. They say Corvid are very clever birds they seem to be learning from one another all the time.  You have maybe noticed on the motorways that they feed right up to the white line on the hard shoulder but don't venture onto the road and the young learn this from their parents and so the learning goes on very clever not the prettiest of birds but when the sun shines on their lovely black/blue feathers they are something else.  Hoping to get some nice notes next week when we are away.

                                                    Joan.

Thursday, 9 March 2006

St Andrews on a Spring Like Day

Will just let the pictures tell the story of a glorious day.

Saturday, 4 March 2006

The Big Twitch

        

No, I have not been out bird watching again in fact I have been in bed with the cold, told you I was of unsound mind on Tuesday.  I found the  picture  above taken 30th October 2004 at a place called Kilrenny in Fife. On that particular day we were at Fife Ness the very tip of Fife in fact it is the most easterly point of Scotland. We had word that there was a Red Backed Shrike at Kilrenny (Via Pager very modern us birders) so we headed back to that location.  When we got there a small amount of birders had assembled.  The Warden from Vane Farm was with us and he started to doubt the identification. Red Backed Shrikes are quite rare but not what we call a mega bird (great terms we have).  The bird had been caught and ringed and measured and would you believe it, it was a first for the British Isles it was a Masked Shrike.  Now you may all think that birding on the scale I do it is rare, the picture above is of the site the next day as birders from all over Britain flocked to see it and it was like that for many days to come as the little bird was very accommodating and gave us all tremendous views. I have had a lot of trouble with the picture as my copy is not all that clear but I think you can get an idea of the amount of people our little friend entertained.  It was the biggest twitch I have ever been on and was a real exiting day imagine it, the very first time this bird had been seen in Great Britain and I saw it.

                     

The Star of the year The Masked Shrike.

Wednesday, 1 March 2006

Swans and more Swans.

27th February & 28th February.

Did you know that there are three different kind of swan here in the wintertime I know you can't see them in the photo but they are all there.  There are 8 Mute Swans 99 Whooper Swans and 1 Bewick Swan, and guess which we were looking for.  We knew that there was 1 Bewick Swan just a few mile away in a flock that has been with us all winter so we had to see it before they head north for their breeding grounds. We were lucky we got parked in a spot where we could view this field from the car, Stu popped into the back seat so we were both sheltered for that north wind. I have a clamp for my telescope that fits it onto the front window so I was happy not having to stand out on the cold.  We scanned the whole flock and no signs of the Bewick. We had been told it was wearing a blue collar so it should have been easy to pick out HA HA. Bewick Swans are a good bit smaller than your Mute and Whooper and there is a difference around the yellow area on their bills.  There were a few of the swans asleep and we thought one looked a bit smaller but at that distance it was hard to be sure. After a while this particular swan held it head up and low and behold it had a blue collar on. We were very pleased at that as it is some years since we have seen one.

                      

                        Bewick's Swan

                                 

                                 Whooper Swan.

                                 

                                  Mute Swan.

Tuesday being of unsound mind we set of again for Scone Palace.  It was a bitterly cold day but we were determined to see the Hawfinch properly and the Snowdrops. As I have told you in Joan's Musings the snowdrops were beautiful and there were thousands of them but the Hawfinch were not to seen. We wandered about in a freezing cold wind but no luck.  There was however a Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming very close by so we set off to see that after about 15 more freezing minutes we gave up it must have seen us coming and flew off. When we passed this way later it was drumming again but we still could now see it plenty of woodland birds but no woodpecker. So I'm afraid a disconsolate and frozen Joan and Stuart headed back to the car and a coffee shop.  Better luck another day.

                        Love, Joan.

Friday, 10 February 2006

The Return of the Red Kite to Scotland.

           

 

                      

Good Afternoon, Yesterday we set off to go and look for a Great Grey Shrike that we had heard was in our area.  The morning was bright cold and sunny when we left and we headed up to Crieff  once through the little town we drove to The Sma' Glen one our gems it is uphill all the way from Crieff and as we climbed up we saw a wonderful sight 3 Red Kites and 2 Common Buzzard in the sky together we managed to get stopped at the side of the road so we could watch through the binoculars. The Kites are very colourful birds and with the sun on their back they looked magnificent.  Red Kites were reintroduced to Scotland a few years ago and are really doing well they eat mainly carrion so they do not do any harm to farms but we still get one or two poisonings per year.  Back in the cosy car we carried on to the spot we heard the Shrike was.  We parked the car and walked up the hill sun on our backs and all was well.  The bird was nowhere to be seen and after about 15 minutes walking we turned to head back.  There was a wind blowing in our face that would have cut you in two we had not noticed this on the way up but boy did we know it was there on the way back. So no Great Grey Shrike today maybe another day. We continued our run in the car to Loch Tay and Aberfeldy.  Took a lot of pictures which I put in my other journal the one of the Kite is not one of mine.  Where to next?  Love

                                   Joan

Wednesday, 8 February 2006

Scone Palace and Loch of the Lowes

                                              

 

Monday morning we set off to visit Scone (Skoon) Palace to look for the elusive Hawfinch. They are very secretive birds that live in the very tops of the tallest  trees, hence having to go and look for them when the trees are bare as you never find one when the trees are fully clothed. When we arrived I was a bit disappointed that the main avenue to the castle was not covered in snowdrops as it usually is but we must have got there a week or so earlier this year so I will have to go back. Would you believe just after we arrived someone started shooting so that put an  end to our hopes  of  seeing  these very shy birds.  The shooting did not seem to bother the Robins and the Blue Tits but there was no sign of the Hawfinch. We wandered  around the footpaths for a while but no luck. Just as we were heading back to the car one Hawfinch flew across the road high up in the trees but that was just the one.  There is a flock of about 30 of these birds at Scone so one is not very good and we did not get a good look at it so we will go back another day.  Back to the car and heater on off we went to The Loch of the Lowes which is near Blairgowrie if that is of any help.  This is where the Wildlife Trust have hides and a visitor centre so the public can view a pair of breeding Ospreys.  They have not arrived back from the Ghana yet, it will be the beginning of April before they come back.  When we arrived no, it was not shooting this time, but there was a great deal of hammering and noise as the visitors centre is having total refurbishment so we seemed to have picked the wrong day here as well.  There is a big feeding station behind  the visitors centre and that was very busy with the usual bird table birds but we usually get Woodpeckers and squirrels but the noise must have put them off.  We then went to one of the hides and there was a small number of Whooper Swans and they were very close and calling which is wonderful to hear. The loch itself had been frozen but had thawed.  When I was a little girl I used to walk out to the middle of this  loch with my Mum and Dad as we visited  this area a lot on the motorbike and sidecar ah those were the days. Petrol was still rationed but the motorbike was very thrifty and we could manage a run out on a Sunday. I wonder what birds I would have seen back then when there was virtually no traffic on the roads.  Back to today we had a good day but the birding was not that great but there will be other days.   Love,

                       Joan

Friday, 3 February 2006

In Search of Waxwings.

                                    

It is now teatime and it is dark outside. We have been for a longish walk this afternoon as the weather turned out quite nice the sun actually shone for a while.  We did not see anything unusual when we were out but we have been looking for Waxwings all winter but have not seen any yet.  While I was cooking  the tea Stu check our bird alert on the PC and low and behold a party of Waxwings were seen a 2 o5pm outside our local Summerfield's (yes I used to work there).  We always thought it would be a good place for Waxwings as they seem to favour supermarket car parks schools and gardens. So you can see that we are very annoyed to have missed this as they are such beautiful birds and guess who will be up with the larks tomorrow to see if they are still there.   Love

                                             Joan.

Friday, 27 January 2006

Not a Good Week for our Wildlife.

   

I thought I would share the very bad news we had today about the Eagle Owls.  You will maybe remember a few week ago there was an item on the news telling about the two Eagle Owls that were living in Yorkshire. They are not native of Great Britain but somehow we had acquired a pair of these beautiful owls.  They have been living in Yorkshire for about the last four years but where was not general knowledge that was until in was on the news.  Today we have been told that one of the owls has been found dead. It had been shot. As you can imagine we are very upset at this terrible news and I just wanted to say something on the subject to let you know what goes on to defenceless birds.  We don't know if the perpetrator has been caught but we can but hope.  Love,  Joan

                  

 

Monday, 23 January 2006

A winters day

                 

Just a very short entry today, we were supposed to be going away for the day today but the weather was just too dull and what we hoped to see today lives very high in the trees so we do need good light  will try again another day.  We did go out for a walk and we greatly rewarded with a small flock of 8 lovely Bullfinches. This is very unusual for us we normally just get one or two at a time.  Last winter we had Bullfinch but only 2 about 200yds from where we saw them today, strange!  For the rest of the walk I'm afraid our heads we down against the wind so that was it for today.  Hope to get out later in the week.  Love

                                             Joan.

                  

Sunday, 15 January 2006

Fife Coast

                                   

Hello and welcome to our latest bird watching trip. We decided on Friday night when we heard the weather forecast that we would have a run round the Fife coast on Saturday if the forecast was right.  We got up a bit earlier than usual so we could be away about 9-30am.  Did not quite make that it was about quarter to ten by the time we got away.  Our first stop was Leven Power Station not very picturesque but the birds love it as the water is a few degrees warmer from the power station. There was there usual collection of Gulls and a few Eider Ducks.  Next we stopped of at Lower Largo a small village on the coast. You may think you have heard the name before, it is the birthplace of Alexander Selkirk (Robinson Crusoe) yes it is a true story.  He was born here in 1676 and there is a lovely statue of him in the village looking out to sea dressed in his rags the way you always see him depicted. There is a good car park in the village complete with loos right on the sea front where we can watch the sea and not face the cold, yesterday was very mind so we did not have that problem. After scanning the water for the ducks etc that winter there we headed off for Shell Bay. There is a big caravan sight there but it is closed for the winter so it is very quiet just now.  There is a lovely walk to a place called Rudden Point.  It overlooks Largo Bay and it is a favourite spot for wintering Scoters. There are three different kinds of Scoter Common, Velvet and Surf. All three were present but picking them out can be very difficult. The raft of Scoters were sitting about 300yds away from us but the light was very good. After a while Stuart picked out the Surf Scoter, now there is just the one so we were very lucky to pick him up (picture above) not particularly beautiful but very rare.  After we noted all there was out there we walked back to the car.

                           

Our next stop was St Andrews the home of golf and for us Snow Buntings we hoped.  There is a long beach in St Andrews and we had to drive to very end of it.  The car park attendant is not there during the winter so we got a freebee today great.  We had a coffee when we arrived as the traffic had been very slow from Largo. While we were sitting there I spotted the Snow Buntings.  Again this is a bird that winters on the coast, in spring it will head north to our high mountains where it breeds and will turn pure white. The ones in St Andrews have been there all winter and we saw them in the same place before Christmas if all birds were as dependable as them life would be easy for us bird watchers. The beech was very busy and we were amazed that they did not fly away as people with dogs and children approached they just moved along a bit, in all our years at our hobby this is the best look we have ever had of these beautiful little birds. So that was it for yesterday a great day out with really good birds and a lovely walk and great weather for January. Total species for day was 42. Have not done the yearly list yet and will update this entry later. Bye,

Updated year list 78.

             Joan.

                      

 

 

 

Monday, 9 January 2006

                                      

Today Stuart and I went out for a bit of a 'Twitch' that is knowing a certain bird is there and going to that place to get it for our list.  At this time of year if you miss a wintering bird you then have to wait till November or December to try again and if it is a mild winter they may be late in coming in then you will not have it for your list.  The bird we went out today to see was a Smew. The picture in not mine just borrowed but I just had to let you see this wonderful duck. This is the male the female is not called a Smew she is known as a Redhead and looks totally different from the drake.  It took us a while from the heated observation lounge but we did see him eventually. It has been a very cold day with a very cold wind so we were glad of the shelter.   Some of you will remember that in August I posted pictures if a field of sunflowers out the back road where we stay.  I can't remember if I said at the time that we thought it would be great for the finches in the winter. Today we called round and we were right there must have been about 300 finches there were Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Brambling to name but a few. The light was terrible so we will go back on a brighter day and see what's what. Not a bad outing for such a horrible day but it does keep you occupied for a few hours as we tend to go a bit stir crazy if we are kept in for too long.  That's it for today. The yearly total is now 54. It's hard going just now.  Love

     Joan.

 

Thursday, 5 January 2006

Our Local RSPB Reserve.

         

 

Hello welcome back, today we have been visiting our local RSPB reserve which is about 6 miles away. We are lucky to has a reserve so close.  It was not a very nice day a bit dull  damp and cold. The Loch which is part of the reserve is partially frozen today an the ducks are all very close together where there is any open water.  We did not venture out of the heated observation room where you can see most of the Loch from.  The bird I have chosen to let you see today is a Little Egret, not a bird you would associate with Scotland but we have had 'Egberg' as he is called for 2 years now. He dropped in two winters ago and stayed right through he returned last winter and again this year he is probably the only one in Scotland at the moment. The plumes on his head are not there at the moment but they will grow in for the Springtime when he is trying to impress a female.  He will disappear from here and then hopefully he will return next winter.  Total Species for today 28. Total species for the year is now 46.  Love

                  Joan

 

              

 

Monday, 2 January 2006

Sunday 1st January 2006.

                                     

Hello and welcome to my Bird watching Diary, I am really looking forward to writing about all our adventures as they can be at times and our quiet walks. This diary will not be updated daily as we are not out birding every day much to Stuart's disgust he would be out every day rain or shine.  Today being the first of on new year we like to go to one of our local places by the loch that we live on.  We take the car about 1 mile from home, we are very lucky that it is so close to home.  It has been a lovely day today mild clear blue skies and no wind. We had just stared along the footpath when we saw a Tree creeper  (pictured above) on the trunk of a nearby tree. He is a lovely little bird and can be very tame in the winter as they do not fly away as soon as you approach.  At this point of the walk we are woodland and there were the usual woodland birds about Blue &Great Tits Goldcrest our smallest bird we  heard them it the canopy but did not see them today. As we walked on the wood opens out and we arrive at the side of the loch.  The footpath takes us along the side of the loch. The water today was very still and the ducks we close in. Not a big variety today but we had Tufted Duck, Coot, Goldeneye and Cormorant.  As we walked on we saw a Grey Wagtail which is very like the black and white one you see normally but this one is yellow and grey and has a longer tail.  There were a lot of people and their dogs out walking yesterday so the bird numbers were down on what we usually see on this particular walk, but as we had all been stuck in the house for a few day with the bad weather you cannot blame people wanting to get out of the house. We had three birds of prey today Kestrel Sparrow hawk and Buzzard.  On the whole we had a good start to the year and we really enjoyed it very much.  We were given a little flask one the metal ones and two stay hot cups in a little bag from a friend at Christmas and we had that with us and it was great just big enough for a half day out and saved lugging the big picnic bag with us.  So that's the year started I hope to bring you lots of entries and amusing tales as well. So far the total number of species for 2006 is 31 will keep this total going so you can see how it grows I hope.   Love Joan.

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About Me

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Hi, I'm Joan I live in Scotland with my hubby of 48 years. We are both retired and enjoying life to the full well nearly. We are always out and about doing this and that. We love the countryside and do a bit of birdwatching and even twitch from time to time. We also visit art galleries and hubby does a bit of watercolour painting. Me I read a lot mainly thillers. I have been been keeping a journal for over five years over on AOL but we are being thrown out so this is my new home.

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