Thursday, 30 May 2013

Further late news...

Just to follow that, the easterlies on Tuesday brought this cracking Snow Bunting and a less bright Lesser Whitethroat. The latter was particularly brown in plumage overall and a rather absent black mask, explained no doubt by it being a first year bird.

Summer Male Snow Bunting

1st Summer Lesser Whitethroat

Yet Another Shr... you get the picture!

Very grateful to Collieston Birder for finding this gorgeous male Red-backed Shrike at Kirkton on Tuesday night. It's been an excellent spring for this species, with three males and a female through the patch so far. Nevertheless, it's not a bird that one tires of quickly!

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Orca!...Collieston 25th May

At least 8 Killer Whales swam past Collieston slowly today and were also seen well from Whinnyfold. They were moving very slowly north and often stopping their progress, and were first seen at about 2km out, moving gradually further from shore. Spending some time apparently feeding and some full breaches were seen.  First spotted just after 13.00 from the high road when some blows and then the distinctive very tall fins were sighted- telephone messages, shouting and Facebook around the village meant that many residents and visitors were able to enjoy the sight. There were claims later in the afternoon from some observers in Whinnyfold  that there were at least 15 whales, but I would be a little cautious of this count without good documentation, given how hard it can be to count cetaceans at range.

Some of the  Killer Whales that swam past Collieston today...
Killer Whales, Collieston 25th May


Friday, 24 May 2013

Long-tailed Skua's

Some entertaining sea-watching over today: An early morning watch resulted in 1 adult Long-tailed Skua, another very distant but probable of that species, a Black Guillimot and reasonable numbers of Great and Arctic Skua.
Following this Cotehill's very own birder decided to take the dog for a walk and had another adult Long-tailed fly over his head.
This evening 3 hours of seawatching has resulted in 20 plus of Great and Arctic Skua and another 2 adult Long-tailed Skua's, all of which were going north. The skua's were nearly all close in, or in some cases over head.
The sheer numbers of other seabirds speeding past was impressive, with frequent small flocks of Red-throated Diver, flocks of Gannet, a constant stream of Fulmar and thousands of Auks and Kittiwake.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

May gales

The migrants seem to have diminished somewhat in the face of gale force Northerly winds, so little else this week so far.
Swift numbers earlier in the week were steadily rising at Meikle Loch, though tonight unsurprisngly seemed low again.
Seawatching may be worthwhile after all this however and easterlies predicted for the weekend...
Female Red-backed Shrike, Forvie Centre


Spotted Flycatcher

Pictures show a few of the migrants around, before the wind came. Final image of a Corn Bunting, still breed in small numbers near the village, but due to agricutural practice in the main, have been on a steady decline for the last decade or so. Quite likely at the current rate to be gone in 5 years , in this area at least.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Yet Another Shrike...

...this time a cracking male on Forvie this afternoon, in the willow scrub above Hackley Bay, with an accompanying gang of mobbing Meadow Pipits. Made up for me missing the one at Kirkton last weekend! Went back this evening with Rosie to see if we could get photos, but disappointingly no sign of the bird despite an extensive search.

King Eider seen on the estuary again today at high tide, with a Great White Egret also reported by at least two local observers. Lots happening!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Another Shrike

A female Red-backed Shrike was also frequenting the area around the Forvie Centre this afternoon.
A few other migrants scattered about including Spotted Flycatcher and Lesser Whitethroat. A significant arrival of Red-backed Shrikes on the Aberdeenshire coast today with at least 5 other birds reported.


A stunning male Bluethroat turned up in the willow bushes by the Sand Loch this morning, and luckily remained there all day, thereby allowing us to catch up with it. The autumn (or what remains of the spring) will have to produce something pretty special for this NOT to be my Bird of the Year 2013!!!!!


Not normally relegated to also-ran status, a fine adult Pomarine Skua in full spoon which passed north off Collieston this morning would have been the highlight on most other days! Also offshore were a handful of Manx Shearwaters and the odd Arctic Skua to boot.

Today, though, belonged to Luscinia svecica, for me at least!

Friday, 17 May 2013

A trickle of waders

A number of waders on Meikle Loch the last few days, including Ringed-Plover, Dunlin, up to 3 Common Sandpipers, a single Whimbrel and a distant Wood Sandpiper yesterday morning being the highlight, only viewable from the northern edge of the loch.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

A trickle of migrants

A female Redstart on Forvie was the best of the new arrivals today. Also Wheatear and a few phylloscs on the go. Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler now singing well between Collieston and the Forvie Centre.

Weather forecast currently predicting potentially 'drifty' conditions at the weekend, so watch this space....

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Red-backed Shrike

The Red-backed Shrike was still showing around the Kirkton area today. It tended to favour the graveyard, but was active and very mobile.
First thing a female Marsh Harrier flew over the area, and in the afternoon there was a Long-eared Owl near the reserve. A single Whimbrel was with Curlew on fields north of Meikle Loch.

Male Red-backed Shrike


Friday, 10 May 2013

Hot off the press

Not much new seen early am, but a very brief view of a male Red-backed shrike early evening in the Kirkton area of Collieston. Bluethroat seen today in Aberdeen as well  so maybe hope for more tomorrow.
Male Red-backed Shrike

Thursday, 9 May 2013

May Fare

A week of balmy May weather with some SE winds and rain mixed in have ensured reasonable numbers of phylloscopus warblers moving through, both Willow and Chiff-chaff.
A Lesser Whitethroat was the first of the year this morning at Kirkton, whilst there have been a continued range of expected Spring arrivals, including the entrance of Swifts on the 6th.
2 Flava wagtails have frequented Meikle Loch intermittently, with all the White Wagtails departing en masse a few days ago.
The images show a strikingly bright Chiff-chaff, on the edge of the reserve, which took a second day before it sang as a classic and non-rare Chiffy.
Just goes to show the extent of variation possible.


Sunday, 5 May 2013

Look at the colours on that!

Finally able to post a photo of the stunning drake King Eider present on the Ythan Estuary at the moment, courtesy of Antoine Le Pretre - thanks Antoine! Wish my photos were as good as this one!

Rather more ordinary, but nevertheless good to see, were a few small flocks of Curlew and Whimbrel heading north-west over the house during the course of the weekend.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Spring rush

The flava, "Blue-Headed" Wagtail was still at Meikle Loch yesterday evening, with 6 White Wagtails. 8 White Wagtails this morning, with no sign of the flava. A good influx of commoner migrants into the coastal bushes overnight, with Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Blackcap and good numbers of Willow Warbler and Chiff-Chaff.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Blue-headed Wagtail

A number of White Wagtails frequenting Meikle Loch this am and a flava Yellow "blue-headed" Wagtail also reported. With winds in the SE for a short while maybe some more continental arrivals can be hoped for...