Saturday, 20 November 2010

Wknd 20-21 November

Friday night collected two fresh Barn Owl casualties off A1 (Blindwells and Knowes, latter a juv female, photos below; analysis confirmed as imm, uterus pregravida, i.e. most likely a juv), the 7th and 8th of the autumn, but surprised not to see any out hunting on a calm night. Sunday evening in calm and moonlit conditions between heavy showers one was hunting the verge of the fast A6137 road over Garleton near Byres.

Saturday morning commenced final tetrad of my original allocation, in NT47I, which is mainly sea; hoping for Blackcap or better in buckthorn but none found; best was a pale-bellied Brent on the light-green (Enteromorpha/gutweed) seaweed, at exactly the same spot as 3 on Boxing Day 2008, just after had completed timed count! Plenty Bullfinch (7) and Robins (13) but overall just 46 species seen, none new and tetrad species total stayed at 89 (already well covered in roving).

Saturday afternoon had a look at 575 Pinks in fields north of Spittal (original count 493, but click counted and got many more!); amongst these was a silver neck collar bird which at c. 500m in poor light (drizzling) was just too far off to make out, but after nearly an hour of observation finally confirmed as IXI. A Jay out in open on hawthorns was unusual.

Saturday evening on the Seton shore at dusk a relatively small gull roost, just 1350 birds on the shore, but amongst the 900 opposite caravan park entrance was 4 adult Med Gulls; one large and pale individual with a narrow mask, a second with a sooty head, looking hooded from rear (upper right centre in photo), a third with darker mask and best of all Cherry Blossom, sleek and elegant as ever; in poor light 15 mins after sunset with continuous rain thought I had no chance to get her ring but she proved the least wary of all birds on beach and managed to confirm red-7P8 at a distance of 100m or so, shot above. Now at least 9 and a half years old and still faithful to this bleak stretch of coast for most of the year (and this time of year spending 15+ hours a day out on the sea roosting!).

Sunday afternoon in really poor weather, near continuous rain and heavy at times, headed back to NT57 to search for GBB; finally got one but in flight only, heading north over Drem; also added 13 tetrad ticks and a few improved counts in the top NT57 tetrads, red on progress map; nothing exciting but a mixed flock of partridge (15 RLP, 12 Grey) was unusual at Betony Hill, 22 Mistle Thrush were gathered near Appin, and a few Golden Plovers were welcome. En route saw the collared Pinkfoot again at Spittal, code still seemed to be IXI but only one brief view before it was off.

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