Bird Observations Day to Day.

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.


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.

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.