Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Christmas wk

An excellent start to the wk with an imm f Peregrine circling over Bankton by the A1 at Tranent whilst en route to work Monday morning. A hard weather influx of 70 Skylark had appeared at Seton (and the previous evening 2 had been seen at dusk coming onshore at Seton Sands, rising up as they approached the coast as they typically do on vismig).

Tuesday saw the first thin covering of snow and Pinks heading SW over Wallyford and King's Buildings during the day.

Wednesday snow had built up, drifting over a foot deep on many farm tracks; heading out round WeBS sites in East Lothian there were large gatherings of birds everywhere - Skylarks at every stop including 140 at Chapel pecking at vegetation still visible throo the snow, winter thrushes all along the Longniddry to Drem road and a flock of 165 Fieldfare at East Fenton, Pinks all down the valley (540 Drem, 2640 Chapel with 2 Barnacles), great clouds of corvids and gulls (e.g. 280 Rook at Chapel), hordes of pigeons (480 Woodies in brassica at Fenton Barns), 153 swans concentrated at East Fenton, of which 111 Whoopers (28 juv) and another returning darvic (CX9), lots of ducks with 44 Tufties (previous max 25) and the regular pr RBM there too (male flew in from SE), plus a male Stonechat and 2 Raven over, heading off N. Further east towards dusk (pic above) 3 Whoopers were unusual on East Fortune ponds, where Yellowhammer were coming in to roost, followed by a Magpie at Balgone, also perhaps same at Brownrigg recently - may seem unremarkable but this species is pretty scarce in the East Lothian farmland (map) and these were both new tetrad records.

At Tesco's in N Berwick a sad Meadow Pipit was seen *inside* the store, with another under trolleys at the entrance!

Finally, on the way home, the privilege of seeing 2 Barn Owls together along the hedges by Park Hills on the road from West Fortune to Luffness, presumably hunting the snow-covered verge. Tough times, glad I'm not an owl!

Atmospheric along the coast on Christmas Eve, steam rising from the Seton Burn (above) where Skylarks were passing low along the shore. Nearby at Seton Farm Linnet numbers reached a new high of 255, feeding on dock seeds with 15+ Tree Sparrows, 10 Skylarks below, a Goldfinch and a Pheasant. Pics below.

Christmas day a visit to Longniddry c/p 1 at dusk produced a f/imm Red-breasted Merganser "inland" on the tiny Canty Burn and a Woodcock flushed from the side of the track.

On Boxing Day a single Lesser Redpoll found on birch in Campbell Road, Longniddry - new for NT47I. Also, 24 Magpies gathering for roost by the Seton Burn.

Day after Boxing Day saw a Snipe on the Wemyss Burn by Longniddry c/p 2 and an ad graellsii LBB (Lucy?) still present, on Seton Burn at dusk.

Monday 28th scouted for Whoopers round Tyninghame and found 11 on mudflat plus 58 at Lochhouses, with 4200 Pinks. Also on the mud at least 4 Greenshanks.

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