Sunday, 31 March 2013

Roller coaster.

On the way to pick up the guests for the day I found 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull among the Herring Gull. It's another sign of things on the move as the LBB gulls are still migrants up here.
With the guests on board we went on to have a busy day starting with plenty of Lapwing, 4 Golden Plover, a
single Snipe, a back end view of a Mountain Hare and a couple of Shelduck.                                              
White-tailed Eagle was the top priority for the day and at our next stop we had one fly past - excellent! Rock Pipits are always well received by land locked birders so we had good views of those. Bird of the day for everyone was probably the Water Rail that flew in front of the motor at close quarters, easily the best view I've ever had of one in flight! A male Hen Harrier was a good find and we manged to find an Adder basking in a sheltered spot.
We broke out the lunch and almost immediately a Golden Eagle appeared (I'm sure they are keen to share the spoils) and flew past in nice light.
He gained height and started to display by flying upwards and then closing the wings to screaming down...
...then open the wings at the bottom of the arc to start heading back upwards for another roller coaster ride.
A fly past Great Spotted Woodpecker was too quick for the guests but the 3 Otters we located five minutes later showed very well as they fished just offshore and hauled out onto the rocks. Another two WT Eagles were a welcome sight at the days end and a female Hen Harrier rounded the sightings off nicely.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Golden Eagle.

You can see quite a few things from the shop but occasionally you get something that makes you stop what you are doing. Golden Eagles fly over quite regular but they can be high so seeing one coming over quite low had me dashing for the camera.
You hear about these big birds being lazy and I have heard it said that Golden Eagles are late risers so you would expect this bird to be fresh out of bed at 8am.
You would be wrong about that as this bird has a full crop so it has been up for long enough to find some food and eat it...
...but I'm sure this bird will be away for a long lie down.

Friday, 29 March 2013

A good day.

A good run out was nice but the photos didn't come up to scratch - you can only blame the operator. A good start to the day with plenty of Lapwing, Barnacle Geese and Mountain Hare. What looks like a Richardson's Canada Goose was wandering around with the Greylag Geese and a few Canada Geese.
A quick jaunt down a side road produced a male Hen Harrier and this Common Buzzard.
An icy wind put paid to any chance of Adders and a no show from anything else had us moving on to better things. Our lunch stop gave up three Otters - they were distant to start with but they eventually made their way to the shore in front of us.
The afternoon was quite productive with 3 WT Eagle seen, a Golden Eagle that was carrying part of a Hare and another Otter with a huge fish.

Thursday, 28 March 2013


Just a few photos of those Little Brown Jobs that people try to overlook. I was standing outside the house and noticed there were a few Little Brown Jobs wandering around...
...and they were joined by 3 other, slightly larger, Little Brown Jobs
Getting a bit further afield I came across a long legged Big Little Brown Job on the grass...
...and another Little Brown Job on the shore.
A Little Brown Job that isn't a Little Brown Job was moving one of the other Little Brown Jobs around.
Hopefully that should clear up any problems with Little Brown Jobs and how to identify them - the book should be in the shops....never;-) From the top they are Meadow Pipit, Skylark, a Curlew struggling against the wind, a classic Rock Pipit and a female Stonechat. Mr Stonechat could never be an LBJ!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Wishful thinking.

Most people find February a bit slow for the year list as you have seen most of what is around, but March is much, much worse...until the migrants start to arrive. Needless to say I've not seen any yet and the only tick for the patchwork challenge has been Eider duck. The sky may have been blue but the wind was strong and the search for a Wheatear was fruitless. A couple of Stonechat hopped on and off the fence trying to imitate something different or, more likely, me doing some wishful thinking! A couple of Common Snipe burst out of a wet flush as I passed by.
Certain things are fairly easy to come by but the supporting cast can be a bit thin on the ground at times. Number of species isn't too bad but actual number of birds can be low. This must be one of the few places where the likes of a Coot or Moorhen can cause a stir and Canada Geese are not the park pests that they are further south.
There were plenty of Rock Pipit working through the seaweed. The number of these birds present is a sure sign of spring approaching as they can be difficult to come across in the depths of winter.
A GBB Gull and a few Hooded Crows were plundering some crabs that had been left on the shore. The Hoodies were just flying in...
...picking up a prize and heading off elsewhere to feed.

Monday, 25 March 2013


No change in the chilly conditions but there was a bit of sunshine. Just as I was leaving the garden a couple of Blue Tit turned up at the feeders so I hung around for a bit. It was difficult to get a clear shot at either bird when they left the feeders but I managed a couple of decent ones.
The Golden Plover were a bit closer to the road but with the blustery wind it was never going to be easy to get some shots. Not the of best of shots but it was nice to get the Lapwing flying past too.
Most of the GN Divers are starting to sport a bit of summer plumage now.
I have noticed there is a distinct lack of frogspawn this year. There is still time for them to appear but at the moment there is about a 50% reduction of spawn in the pools. The only Frog that I came across was in the talons of a Buzzard - it's not just people that eat frogs legs!
The Buzzard was taking it's time to eat it's meal so I headed off.
It was nice to catch this Mistle Thrush on a post as they are normally on the ground or perched in a tree.
Bird of the day had to be the Treecreeper that hung around long enough for me to get the camera and grab a couple of shots.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

A cold one.

There was a brisk wind that kept things distinctly chilly so heading for more sheltered parts might help - it didn't. There wasn't any escaping the wind. A good look for Otters produced nothing but a good view of a female Hen Harrier as she came across the water to head off over the forestry. The Otters were a short distance away and they were good enough to clamber onto the shore for some mutual grooming - not nice standing in the wind though!
The usual array of RB Merg, GN Diver, Buzzard, Oystercatcher and another three Otters were along the next stretch of road. A warming cuppa and some shelter were welcome while waiting for WT Eagle to appear. Just like buses there was nothing for ages and then three turned up together. One of the birds was an intruder so a bit of action was nice to see and I managed to miss the shots of the birds when they were closest.
Golden Plover, Ringed Plover, Pheasant and Common Seals were seen as we headed for lunch. A male Hen Harrier kept us entertained for a couple of minutes as it hunted along the hillside.
Despite the cold wind there were not one...
...but two Adders trying to soak up some heat.
No sign of any Goldies but both male and female Hen Harrier were seen displaying. We thought we'd hit lucky when a couple of large birds appeared in the distance but they turned out to be WT Eagles. A change of location finally turned up a Golden Eagle being chased by a Raven. We got the bird perched up before it's mate turned up and they both headed off.
We had already seen a few Red Deer but the topping on the cake was this superb stag that we saw crossing the river.

Friday, 22 March 2013


A quick trip out to check on one of the Otter families was a good decision. I noticed one of the Otters hauled out on a rock with a fish and the other two were still fishing. The wee beast on the rock finished it's fish and then headed back out to join it's family.
Next on the hit list was a female Hen Harrier that was just gaining some height to head from one hunting ground to another.
I was lucky enough to come across some Red-breasted Mergansers that were close enough to get some shots of. Not only that but the sun was shining too. First off the male and female together...
...and then the male on his own - stunning birds.
A WT Eagle was picked up just as it cleared the forestry and as I stopped I noticed there were a few Buzzards in the air too. This appeared to be good sport for the young WT Eagle as it out flew the smaller birds and proceeded to dive bomb them!
With the Buzzards scattered the young bird carried on with it's own business...whatever that was at the time.
A pair of Lapwing have been on their territory for a week or so and have become accustomed to the traffic passing by. It's always nice to capture a bit of behaviour so when the bird started feeding a few snaps were taken. It's interesting to see how intently the bird was looking at the ground for movement.
While watching the Lapwing feeding I'd noticed a few Starling flying past and I could hear them 'talking' to each other. When I looked round there were four of them sat on the back of a Sheep. One of the birds slid down the side of the Sheep just before I captured the moment.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

A day of two halves.

A bit of a run out and a couple of year ticks gained - a couple of Whooper Swan on an inland loch and 2 male Bullfinch.
A small group of 10 Redwing were well scattered over a field and a pair of WT Eagle were seen having intimate relations. The weather was good so it made looking on the lochs difficult from some areas. This GN Diver was quite badly backlit but I still had a go.
A flock of nine Golden Plover have been hanging around for a few days, seven males and two females, but they have always been distant.
It had been a pleasant morning with the roads quiet, Skylarks singing, Lapwing calling in the distance, some good sightings and to top it off a Golden Eagle circling outside the house when we returned for lunch!
We headed for higher ground in the afternoon and the contrast was massive. There were no sounds of bird song at all on the higher ground but we had different targets. It wasn't too long before we saw an adult WT Eagle flying away from us over a ridge soon followed by a younger version of the same species.
This activity prompted the local pair of Golden Eagle to get in the air and do a bit of display to defend the territory and also escort the larger birds away.
Both of the WT Eagle had come away from the hill with full crops so it wasn't that surprising when a third bird put in an appearance.