Tuesday, 10 February 2015

February update...

A few scraps of news to catch up on from the last month or so. Highlight for us has been the (re-)appearance of the drake American Wigeon on the Ythan Estuary. He showed well last week for a few days from the bridge at Waterside, with a small flock of his Old World cousins.

Spot the alien!

Other overwinterers on the estuary include up to three Greenshank, a handful of Black-tailed Godwits and two Ruff, all of which add up to more of an August feel than a midwinter one!

On the fresh water, a fine drake Goosander was on Sand Loch today, with presumably the same one having also visited Cotehill Loch intermittently over the last few weeks.

A walk along the north braes up to the Slains old castle recently provided a minor surprise in the way of a pair of Ravens; a magnificent Peregrine was also showing well perched on the clifftop fence.

Keep yer heads down, pigeons.

Closer to home, we took part in the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch lately, with 51 House Sparrows unsurprisingly making up the bulk of the numbers. However, twelve Tree Sparrows were most welcome, and a Yellowhammer which dropped in was an absolute hellfire garden tick! We've had them as fly-overs before, but never on the deck until now. Good signs that the garden is getting a bit more bird-friendly. As a result of all this passerine activity, we received a Sparrowhawk visit on Sunday, and are now minus one House Sparrow. Sorry RSPB, correction, there's only 50 now!

A dapper little Tree Sparrow.
The dullest Yellowhammer you'll ever see. Hellfire, innit?

This afternoon I was encouraged to see a pair of Grey Partridge between home and the Forvie Centre; it's nice to know they're still around. Finally, at dusk tonight we were delighted to see two Short-eared Owls from the garden - they've been very scarce this winter up to now.