Monday, 30 September 2013

Brown Shrike pictures

Negative news on the Brown Shrike today I believe. Harry Scott, one of the Editors of Scottish Birds  (Birding Scotland), has kindly passed some  shots to me, though we are saving the best for the SOCs and his publication. Also one shot from co-finder Pete S.
 Thanks due to HS for all the time he put in yesterday to make sure we had enough pictures of this extremely, at most times at least, elusive and flighty bird.

Brown Shrike, Collieston 28-29th September, ( Harry Scott)


Picture Pete S.


Brown Shrike update

Yesterday, the 29th, the Brown Shrike showed intermittently and between late morning and early afternoon, pretty well.
It commutes between the lower part of the Cransdale gully, by the remains of the old house, and back up into the long hedge in Kirkton. To view the hedge best to stand on the side of the road just west of the Glebe and look back. The bird prefers the shelter from the wind in that corner.
Many thanks are due to the nearby residents for their patience.
I won't have a chance to check for the bird today. I know of some good photos courtesy of Aberdeenshire birder HS, so I expect to get my hands on one for the blog shortly.

Meanwhile more counts of Yellow-browed Warblers came in, and it appears there were at least 7 in the village over the weekend!
Migrant numbers appeared to have dropped overall yesterday, but the winds continue to be in the East, with rain mid week, so there maybe more excitement towards then.

Pink-footed Geese continue to pour through the area, with counts at times in the 10,000s around the Meikle area.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Brown Shrike stars!

A 1st year Brown Shrike was a bit of a surprise in the village today. Found at just before 10.00 am in the gully down to Cransdale head, it then led myself and PS a merry dance. Surprisingly elusive , it would fly very low and fast between perches, and then sit  very low in the vegetation. It disappeared for 20 minutes at a time on a number of occasions. Each time it flew it raised our hopes with very rich brown upperparts, and very dark and clear mask, prominent supercilium, no white in the wing or tail, and also a very distinctive , long , pendulous tail. Any barring appeared mainly limited to the underparts. We were unable to get good perched views at this point. In the end  however CNG arrived and with the extra pair of eyes we are able to pin it down for long enough to see the short primary projection, and short outer-tail feathers that confirmed the ID.  The whole process had taken in excess of 2 hours.
Early to mid-afternoon very good sustained views were obtained in the long hedge at Kirkton until fighting dogs scared it off.
Lets hope for a cloudy night so it can be re-found in the morning. Interestingly there is another Brown Shrike down at Fife Ness today, and 2 on the Northern Isles.
Also around the village and nearby areas today up to 5 Yellow-browed Warblers, Redstart, Lesser Whitethroat, Whinchat, and a Great-spotted Woodpecker. Pictures of the Brown Shrike will hopefully appear in the next day or two, I didn't manage to get any.
Other news includes the Ring-necked Duck showing intermittently on Meikle Loch. A Little Stint there as well.
Other sightings of Yellow-browed Warbler reported in the reserve as well.

Tomorrow could be interesting, as the weather still looks very good to bring in more delights.

Great Spotted Woodpecker, Kirkton, Collieston..

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Yellow-browed's arrival

As part of a massive movement of Yellow-browed Warblers into the country there were at least 3 around Collieston today, though I am sure a number more likely to be scattered through local gardens. 2 were seen at Kirkton in the roadside trees and one was at Feu farm. Could be interesting to see the counts at the weekend locally.
Aside from that there was a Lesser Whitethroat at Kirkton as well, with a Ring Ouzel this evening in that area and a Snow Bunting along the back road. The pictures shows two Yellow-browed Warbler's taken a few days ago on the Shetland Islands.
Yellow-Browed Warbler


Sunday, 15 September 2013

Westerly gales bring a duck

The first real wind of the Autumn arrived today, and with that two Black Terns flew past Cransdale Head in the morning. The same winds probably brought in the eclipse drake Ring-necked duck, the second of that species this year, to Meikle Loch (HM). 2 Little Stints were on Meikle also from at least Saturday. Maybe the same two were seen earlier in the week on Cotehill loch. on the same day a Balearic Shearwater was seen past Cransdale in the morning.
Migrant numbers remain low in the mostly Westerly winds, but there was a Spotted Flycatcher on Friday at Kirkton, and a Whinchat yesterday at Cransdale.
Along the estuary there are still good numbers of Black-tailed Godwit and also a few small groups of Curlew Sandpipers dotted around.
Small groups of Pink-footed Geese have been arriving in the area for the past week, giving that hint of winter round the corner.

Northern Wheatear, Ythan

Curlew Sandpipers

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Sea Views

Some more welcome easterlies failed to produce anything migrant wise of notes, maybe it was just too sunny. Just before the weekend the hirundine numbers moving through the village were striking, with a few hundred on Thursday evening perching up on the umbellifers either side of the road down to Cransdale head and frantically feeding up. That mass of birds seem in the main to have moved on.

The NE winds main event was a good seawatch yesterday with single Long-tailed Skua and Pomarine Skua, reasonable counts of Arctic and Great Skua, over 30 Sooty Shearwaters as well as over 300 hundred Manx Shearwaters, over a 2 hour afternoon period.
Today the upper end of the Ythan estuary produced 4 Curlew Sandpipers, a Spotted Redshank and double  figures of Black Tailed Godwit and Ruff.
Raptors are on the move with Merlin and multiple Sparrowhawk roaming the Collieston area.
Juvenile Merlin
Passerine wise the main movement seemed to be of Wheatears and Robin, with little else of note except perhaps an increase in Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat numbers around the village.


Sunday, 1 September 2013

Water rails

With the rise in the water levels at Cotehill the waders have long since left to find more suitable feeding areas elsewhere.  However, two juvenile water rails skulking around the edges of the loch this week were hardly old enough to fly so must have bred at Cotehill this year.   It's been a fair few years since water rails have been confirmed as breeding at Cotehill and this is possibly related to the water levels being lower this summer than in recent years and the nests not being flooded.  Whatever, it was nice to see them and hopefully they'll be back next year.

Season of Mists

Septembers arrived, and with the wind in the west waders seem likely to be the most fruitful prospect after August's late flurry, the regional highlight during this period having being the Booted Warbler at Drum's bushes.

A number of Spotted Redshanks are on the Ythan with 3 today down at Inches point reported. There was one at the Snub yesterday evening. There are still 2 Little Egrets as well, with one today at the Snub car park, and one at the Fisherman's path this morning. There are good numbers of Ruff dotted around with 8 at Fisherman's, and around 30 Black-tailed Godwits there as well.
Meikle Loch held 8 Ruff this morning as well.

Belated reporting of another Greenish Warbler fairly locally, just beyond the Whinnyfold village turn off, on the 27th August, found by Cotehill Birder. A  poor image of the bird shown below. Passerine wise this weekend  most of the interest had gone, but a Whinchat remained just North of Mains of Slains and likewise there were a number of Wheatears along the back road.
Greenish Warbler, near Whinnyfold

Little Egret, Ythan

Spotted Redshank, Ythan