Saturday 25 May 2013

thats more of it ted

So, still stuff moving through even though we're into late May! A dunlin on the lake yesterday plus 14 (count 'em) sanderlings on da beach this am were both new, as was todays collared dove. Best of the lot was a very late singing grasshopper warbler this morning out on Galley - thought I'd missed 'em this year but thankfully not!

So safely still ahead of old bushy!

Happy days!

Friday 24 May 2013

It had to be done...

A two hour sea watch first thing this morning eventually produced the goods with a fine sum plum long-tailed skua flying north, close to shore.  It's my first long-tail for many a year and my first ever spring one on the patch.  So very pleased I was indeed.

Better still though was the one that flew low over my head when I was out with the dog the other side of Cotehill Loch.  This one drifted south across the reserve and across the loch towards the Ythan.  A bitter sweet moment as it flew within a few metres of my garden when I wasn't there.  So alas no garden tick for me.  I'm now spending the rest of today looking out my front room pretending to do some work.

Other good birds included a fine summer plumage black guillemot.  A very good bird for the patch plus a lot of extra seabirds that I hadn't seen this year and a migrating dunlin for good measure.

This mornings haul of year ticks puts me on 116 species and a better than average 74.55% .  A head of Seppy for the first time ever me thinks.

Happy days


Tuesday 21 May 2013

Still lagging

Not got the pace, not in the race

Some nice birds though...

A full fat patch tick in the form a bluethroat at the weekend was as far as I can remember, through my ever thickening fog of dementia, a first for me on the patch.  Not that I found it.  The bird found by a local birder on a fine sunny Sunday morning drew the biggest twitch of birders that I've seen on the patch (or in the region) for many years.  I suspect more people went to see this bird than did the p-g tips last year!  bizarre.

Other nice birds include a fine male red-backed shrike in the village (courtesy of Reg) and female marsh harrier which are both firsts for a few years.  A few waders passing through include a wood and common sandpipers on Meikle Loch and ringed plover over the garden.

These and other bits and pieces put me on 106 for the year and 68.12%.

Happy Days


Monday 20 May 2013

getting back at haddock

I managed to add four species to the year list on Saturday: turtle dove and whinchat, neither of which are guaranteed, plus swift (at last) and best of all, a grey plover which was only me 4th ever record for the patch, and was the first one on the deck.

All good!

Monday 13 May 2013

Ticking over nicely

I added four species this weekend, which could have been more if Seppy hadn't done the dirty on me and dragged me down to London for a meeting when migrants were arriving all along the coast on the Friday. Still, Arctic skua and lesser redpoll were handy and Sandwich tern and sedge were warbler were to be expected.

peep x 6

Braving the winds and rain, I continue to be reminded how plain my patch is. Indeed, I might have to go to Shetland in a couple of weeks just to see some bloody birds. Still, in addition to late swallow and whitethroat, highlight from the past week or so was Boghall's second whimbrel. This is the first spring record, and gives me hope that my patch is not total gank.Gives us 90.5%, and still need house sparrow (only tree sparrows round my way). And there are all these black and white things all over the place. No idea what they are:

Sunday 12 May 2013


Okay, okay, so I know I can't count it but this Lesser Whitethroat would have been a great spring bonus had I connected when it still had a whisper of a heartbeat.

Pick of the breathing birds recently was Shelduck (two south) whilst Little Tern was useful and a few other migrants have duely arrived. Just four summer bakers remaining now I think; Manxie, Arctic Skua, Swift and Surfie. Oh, and I've also still yet to conciously notice a patch Dunnock this year.

91 species (=7-.54%).

Friday 10 May 2013

Harrier ho!

Bit blowy of late around here... but still managed to clock a distant male hen harrier from the front garden yesterday. Amazed I could even hold the bins up.

Takes me to 86.06%... rats... still in third spot!

Tuesday 7 May 2013

New breeding site?

Enjoyed a very pleasant walk around the patch on Sunday and scored two species I never saw at all last year: lapwing (displaying) and tystie. Also saw my first wheatears and an 'on-time' whitethroat on the patch. During the week, I saw my first Manxies flying north.

The tysties were interesting because, while watching from the Muckle Shore in my patch, I saw the tell-tale signs that a bird was showing interest in a bit of coast slightly north of my patch, but out of sight. So I walked around the to a place where I could see a nice piece of cliff and bingo, there was a perfect tystie, sitting on a ledge, squeaking away. Although this is a perfectly suitable spot for them, I believe it is the first time they have been known to attempt to breed away from their regular spot 10 miles south. I shall keep a careful eye on them.

Friday 3 May 2013

Catch'n up

Well a few moments of excitement in recent weeks to keep Blackdog well poised for a 2nd-half-of-year climb up the table. Key building blocks were Grey Partridge (thought they were a thing of the past after the transfer of ownership of the release site at Menie Links), a pair of Shoveler (real patch gold with just two previous records, including one uncannily silimar record of a pair at much the same season a few years back) and a Med Gull - third year running of occurrance. Was particularly chuffed with this one as I picked it up initially on call flying over from inland.

Among scarcer but just about annual species, Whimbrel appeared and a pair of Tufties called by.
Just remembered a few days ago that I still need to pass on the majestic white owlish creation to Bushveld - find another goodie on the patch and I'll being it with me...

Now on 83 species (=64.34%).


Gropping my way

Bingo... grasshopper warbler on patch earlier in the week was a real boon to get. Tend not to stick, so always a relief to get them.

The lone collared dove seems to have been joined by a partner, so with a bit of luck they'll become less of a struggle on patch in the future. A singing male blackcap yesterday was another patch year tick... keeping things ticking over nicely. Puts me on 70... or 84.85%... still in third... but crucially still in touch.

Thursday 2 May 2013

ton up

A glorious yellow wagtail (4th ever on patch) and a smattering of whitethroats got me through the 100 species & 70% barriers today! All to play for!