Saturday, 21 May 2016

Pacific Golden Plover on Slains Pools 21.5.16

A cracking Summer plumaged Pacific Golden Plover was showing on the main Slains Pool area today.
A tricky ID (from American Golden) this bird showed all the necessary features with: short primary projection (3 primaries only) beyond the long tertials, bold gold spangling in the upperparts, particularly long bill and legs, small slim bodied with relatively large head. White in flanks intermingled with black, and likewise in the undertail and vent. Heard also to call a number of occasions , giving a distinctive if rather muted "chu-it", reminiscent of a distant Spotted Redshank.

The weekend got off to a good start with yesterday a Glossy Ibis being also in the Slains Pools area for a few hours in the evening before there being an increased count of birds at Strathbeg later in the evening.

Otherwise the patch has had a little passerine movement over the last week with a male Red-backed shrike on the 15th, more or less in the village. A different bird to the one previously at the Forvie Centre. |This one showed more grey in the upper-parts.

A young, or perhaps female Marsh Harrier, is frequenting the patch area on and off over the last 6 days.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Red-backed Shrike

This little cracker popped up on the fence outside the Reserve office late this afternoon. One of the finest spring birds you'll ever see. Exciting times on the patch!


Sunday, 8 May 2016

Lesser Yellowlegs

A male Redstart was at Mains of Slains this morning along with other common migrants. There was a continuous, if low level, passage of Swallows coming through the area, along with small numbers of Wheatear along the roadsides.
A group of 7 Whimbrel went over Sandloch early afternoon.

The highlight was a summer plumaged Lesser Yellowlegs just off the patch area near Logie Buchan. On a small pool, by the track, it allowed close views.

Maybe more to report in next few days with SE winds predicted.

Lesser Yellowlegs, Logie Buchan

Meadow Pipit, Mains of Slains

Pied Wagtail, Collieston

Common Redstart, Mains of Slains

Common Eider, Collieston

Great White Egret, Cotehill and Sandloch

Friday, 6 May 2016

North meets south

A crazy couple of weeks on the patch has seen northern strays meet southern overshoots in bizarre fashion. Early April saw a fine but frustratingly elusive Great Grey Shrike in the Little Collieston / North Forvie area, and another Black Redstart on the Reserve. Then in late April it was possible to see both King Eider and Avocet on the estuary on the same day!

Avocets at Waulkmill, Ythan Estuary

Things then upped another gear, firstly with the big discovery (literally) of the Great White Egret on Cotehill Loch, which thankfully stuck around so Rosie and I could see it. It was still here yesterday (5th May) and has been seen on both Cotehill and Sand Lochs.

Great White Egbert

This was followed up on Tuesday by another stonking southern overshoot, this time a Hoopoe, which caused some language in the Reserve office as it flew past the window, grub in bill, Jackdaw in pursuit! It eventually lost its pursuer and flopped its way onto the Reserve, where it sadly went to ground and wasn't subsequently pinned down. Frustrating but exhilarating!

In other news, there has been a good passage of Whimbrel this week, including a flock of 30+ over Cotehill on Monday. They have been in evidence again this evening, with noisy small parties passing over the house.

Whimbrel on the move

Elsewhere, there has been a long-staying second-summer Mediterranean Gull at the Forvie ternery, where all the usual tern species are now back on territory. This Med Gull may be the same one sighted by Collieston Birder in the village back in January, but who knows? Anyway, it was joined today by a stunning full adult, though the two didn't seem to be interested in each other. Surely a future breeder in the Forvie gullery (where there are currently 1,921 pairs of Black-headed Gulls nesting).

Finally, there has been a small flurry of Lesser Whitethroat sightings, with one found by Collieston Birder in the roadside willows, followed by one at the Reserve office this morning, and then another in our garden this evening. With a promising weather forecast for the next few days, I hope we're reporting on more passerine interest soon...

Lesser Whitethroat - garden tick!

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Elegant southern visitor graces Cotehill

No sooner does it stop snowing then a rather elegant great white egret appears on Cotehill Loch.

A species from the warmer parts of Europe, the great white egret was once an extremely rare visitor to the UK.  My first one was back in 1984! and at the time was a major rarity being only the 28th record for the UK.  Nowadays it's breeding in England and is an annual visitor to North-east Scotland.

But this is the first one on Cotehill and photographed from my house.

Nice find Phil C.