Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Wk 19-23 April

A mid-wk post for a change! Highlight of Tuesday was a Fulmar high north over the JCMB building at King's Buildings by the Braid Hills in Edinburgh at 13:45hrs. Whilst this species still breeds around Arthur's Seat, rather nearer the coast, there seems to be no remaining colonies further inland (see latest atlas map - dot for NT16Z does not overlap Torphin quarry (possible bird in flight?), whilst probable breeding dot much further inland looks a very unlikely location (possible grid ref error?), and info from Harry Dott in LBN post 11484, stating last known occupancy of Torphin quarry was on 13 April 2007 - post-script, Harry tells me one lonely Fulmar has been back there 2008?, 2009 and currently, so it could have been this individual); trajectory did not really suit a bird coming from latter site, but there may be other quarries either nearer (one on Braid Hills) or further inland, or bird may just have been prospecting. Reminds me of one earlier record of a bird over St Germains on 27 May 2006 - LBN post 6440 - for which I checked possible inland sites but found none.

Later, pr Wheatear on Blindwells and now 20 hirundines there, one Barn Swallow particularly richly coloured below, with rusty tones. Meanwhile the tundra Bean Goose remains at Redside - though it is getting late, a search of the BirdGuides archive reveals equally late east coast records in several years since 2000, occasionally into May, e.g. at Meikle Loch to 18 May 2005, so probably no reason for concern.

Wednesday, called in at Blindwells and traced a scratchy warble not to a hoped for first Whitethroat but a wee male Stonechat, back again with his partner, depicted, for a 3rd year at least; tempting to speculate these were some of the birds which were seen locally along the coast in the really hard weather, this seeming more likely than them having made a long distance emigration to warmer parts, but we will never know; whatever, nice to see them back!

Later, still 5 Wigeon taking the seaweed at the Seton Burn, with their friend the Mute Swan which has now been in residence since the influx of swans last September, generally on its own since mid-Oct, though joined by a friend on Monday! Ferny Ness still held a male Wheatear, with a decent gathering of scoter offshore, estimated 590+ Velvets, amongst which at least 38 Long-tailed Ducks and a fine pair of Red-necked Grebes. A feature of this blog seems to have been rather a lot of Gosford Bay sunsets, here's a variation on the theme with sunbeams throo a gap in the clouds, all reflecting off a reasonably calm sea at dusk.

Thursday - fresh Barn Owl road-kill on verge of A1 at Wallyford, to be collected later.

Friday morning - Black Swan with ad + juv Mutes sailing past Ferny Ness SW close inshore. My first, but can't be counted on any list as this is a Category E species, even though they breed in various places in the UK, as per latest atlas map - 15+ "confirmed" dots in England, plus a similar number of "probables", but only shown in Fife, Forth, D&G and Orkney on Scottish breeding map, only D&G being probable breeding. Also a Tripit over high N direct out to sea with Mipits, and 2 Smarties in same direction low over water. 28 fine breeding-plumage LTD close in.

[Postscript - as most good birds in the area do, gravitated immediately to Musselburgh, whereupon proper photos were taken].

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