Saturday, 20 March 2010

Wknd 20-21 March

After some very strong winds on Friday, Saturday turned out remarkably fine, with wind falling to zero and sun out. At Port Seton, on our usual patch, sea duck again covering the bay as far as the eye could see - 640 Eider, courtship cooing audible from well offshore, and c. 900 scoter, with at least one flock of Common Scoter amongst mainly Velvets; smaller numbers RBM, LTD and the single Red-necked Grebe off the harbour, probably the regular bird, with another pair on the sea at Long Craigs. More unusual here were 19 Goldeneye off Wrecked Craigs, beating my previous record count since 2004 by 15! An eye on the sky but a few Mipits were the only vismig apparent.

Chatting with a local on the prom, former ranger, was informed of a recent White-tailed Eagle sighting - on a rabbit in field near Markle about a month ago. No reason to doubt it, let's hope it's refound if still in East Lothian!

Cherry Blossom (Med Gull red-7P8) last seen on Monday, equalling previous last spring date of 15/3, but not found on Wednesday (with Mark) and tide now high at dusk making it harder to find her if she's still present.

Tip off on a fresh Barn Owl on A1 at Macmerry, to be collected later. This is the first for over a month. Collected early hours, another pristine specimen, though only 310g which is on the light side; from ample spots clearly a female:

On way back, nice to see a live one, perched in hawthorn hedge near Redcoll. Daylight shots of Macmerry bird below:

Sunday out around WeBS ponds, down to a solitary remaining Whooper,so definitely a very early departure this year. East Fenton held a single small Canada (Taverner's/Richardson's) amongst 10 feral birds, flanked by a mainly Greylag hybrid in pic below, but its usual tiny friend was apparently AWOL. The regular Icelandic Greylag pair (SFJ & NAX) were back at East Fortune, both shown below, plus some others on water. Full histories since ringing in Iceland July 2000 shows they are often on the Scottish east coast in March - Guardbridge, Lintrathen, Tyninghame, Fenton Barns and now East Fortune.

A pleasure to see displaying Lapwings back on territory there, definitely my favourite wader. No sign of any eagles or kites, again, in this area, though I am assured the Red Kite "comes in to roost" at the smallholding cottages each evening! [Postscript - was actually Fortoun Bank, no wonder I never connected].

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