Sunday, 30 May 2010

Wknd 29-30 May

With the 3rd "early" period for breeding atlas drawing to a close I headed out at dawn both days to complete NT47I (Longniddry Bents) and NT58Q (Sheriffhall, Balgone). Both were reasonably productive, with several Yellowhammer around the Bents, FF breeding proved, lucky also to catch Linnet FF into dense buckthorn, 43 species brought square total to 78 species, 13 confirmed. On shore at Longniddry c/p 2 was a fine female Greenland Wheatear, a single Arctic Tern on the rocks and a late Red-necked Grebe out on a glassy sea. Later added a few species around Athelstaneford, including Red-legged Partridge at Kilduff, but negative on Whinchat at Kae Heughs (family on Garleton last year).

Heavy rain on Sunday delayed start till 06:30hrs and continued for another hour. In Craigmoor Wood by Waughton many egg shells found, mainly Pheasant and Wood Pigeon but also that pictured which appears to be Tawny Owl (blunt and slightly blueish, not glossy); Tawny feather nearby and a likely spot but have not previously seen eggshell of this species [Post-script - now suspect Buzzard!]. Again Yellowhammer FF, and surprised to see a couple of Red-legged Partridge actually in the wood. 41 species brought square total to 58, 12 confirmed.

Best came last, when flushed a whitish "pigeon" from crop on The Bratt, seemed strangely bulky for Feral Pigeon which was the only match to white slightly patchy colour, but perched up distantly in a sycamore and revealed itself to be a stunning leucistic Wood Pigeon (record shot). A quick Google on arriving home immediately threw up a very close match, bird photographed near Docking on 18 December 2007, c/o Dave Appleton. Who knows, may well be the same individual, but the movement is in excess of what is typical for Wood Pigeon (slightly controversial topic, but most ringing recoveries show they move very little). [PS - photos of same/similar birds at Hatley, Cambs on 3 April 2010 and at Holkham, Norfolk on 13 April 2010; others bear no resemblence at all.]

Remarkably, this is the third "white" bird I've come across at Sheriff Hall, following apparent pure white Yellowhammer (sic) on 15 January 2005 and white House Martin on 21 August 2005 (links to LBN/UKbirdnet messages).

Sunday late afternoon back at Athelstaneford a colour-ringed female Pied Wag at farm buildings just SW of Cogtail Bridge by Athelstaneford Mains (c. NT539770), with mate. Frenetically gathering food hence near impossible to photograph, but lucky to get the two below:

Origin unknown as of yet though arrangement matches that used in Abbotsbury/Weymouth (Dorset) in 2009; Pied Wags have also been ringed at their winter roost in nearby Haddington. Postscript - got a response within an hour from ringers confirming ringed in Dorset last year [Metal L041710, ringed 10th December 2009 at the Weymouth Harbour Roost] and following hot on the heels of another of theirs seen at Fort William.

No comments:

Post a Comment