Saturday, 16 February 2013

The Two Bird Theory

For the last week I have suspected that the Short-eared Owl I regularly see by the Forvie Centre is, in fact, two Short-eared Owls. This was confirmed yesterday when I saw the two together for the first time - one rather brighter-plumaged than the other. The duller-plumaged individual was very approachable for photographs as it perched on the fences.

Other bits & pieces this week included Merlin at Little Collieston, ten Wigeon on Sand Loch (a grand flock for this location!) and heaps of Long-tailed Ducks still on the Ythan Estuary. Last but not least, a rare glimpse of sunshine encouraged some genuine song from the local Skylarks - nice to hear!

Winter sun

A 1st year Glaucous Gull was the one new bird I saw this morning, on the fields at the back of Meikle Loch. Also the 2W Iceland Gull is still hanging round Cransdale and the harbour.
Relatively high gull numbers in the area still with ploughing in the fields and the shoreline being the main attractions.
2W Iceland Gull feeding on a wartime barrel of lard
This picture taken last week, unfortunately this main beach lard has now disappeared!

Friday, 15 February 2013


Just an update to say that the two smew are still on Cotehill Loch and worth a squint if you're passing.  Not much else happening yet but the weather has certainly improved.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

"Just outside the region..."

Just outside our recording area this weekend were 21 beautiful Waxwings along Riverside Road in Ellon. In the Collieston area, Waxwings are normally strictly transient, and most records concern fly-overs or very brief stoppers. This is despite our best efforts to grow berry-bearing shrubs in our salt-blasted garden. In 40 years' time when Rosie and I are drawing our pensions, the Pyracanthas may have reached two feet high, and we may yet get Waxwings staying on the patch for more than a few minutes. Maybe.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Barrels of lard and Smew

As reported my only highlights of the working week are also the wartime ship-wrecked, storm washed barrels of lard attracting the gulls in good numbers. Here's hoping for something of interest amongst them over the weekend. Bizzare sight them pecking at the persil white globs of fat.
The  2 Smew seen frequenting Cotehill midweek on Tuesday and Wednesday.
These pictures from the weekend on Sandloch:


Sunday, 3 February 2013

New month, old friends

The last week or so has really been a story of long-stayers rather than eye-catching new arrivals. The two Smew have remained on-and-off at Sand Loch, with five Wigeon and five Red-breasted Mergansers for company. The white male Hen Harrier popped up again on Thursday, this time over South Forvie, while the Slavonian Grebe showed well again on the estuary mid-week. Meanwhile, the 'big white gull' at Collieston harbour continues to make a good living from the blocks of lard washed up on the beach there.

A hike up to the old castle yesterday, in atrocious underfoot conditions, produced a nice mix of seaduck and small numbers of Red-throated Divers, with a massive female Peregrine cruising lazily by for good measure.

On a more spring-like note, the Fulmars are now looking (and sounding) very settled on the cliffs at Forvie, ready for another long breeding season. I can almost sense the first Wheatears and phylloscs just round the corner..... well, maybe not JUST yet....

Noisy neighbours on Forvie's cliffs