Friday, 24 December 2010

Happy Christmas!

A Christmas Day visit to the Chesters Hill Fort (above) found thrushes gathered to feed on apples in snow, and Great Spotted Woodpecker was a tetrad tick. Stunning views of f Sprawk alongside the car for 500m up to west Garleton, hunting thrushes in hedgerows, doing 35mph slightly uphill then accelerating to a burst of at least 40mph. The Newton text mentions top speed as 30-40 km/h, reaching 50 km/h in short bursts, but does not distinguish sex which must make a difference. At dusk, 4 Waxwings were at rowan berries on our road.

On Christmas Eve, family photo after Michael had starred in "Snowman at Sunset", Gilmerton New Church; outside a Collared Dove in a nest, but seemed to be eating snow rather than any breeding activity!

Later up to Gifford for bird feed c/o Mike, stunning scenery and a few hardy birds out. Waxwing in hawthorns at Ballencrieff and 8 Grey Partridge at West Garleton digging vigorously in snow for food. In the hour after dusk against the orange sky skein after skein of Herring Gulls came north over Garleton summit heading for coastal roosts at North Berwick, total 770+; from flightpath apparently from south of Lammermuirs, possibly from the Langlee tip by the A68 south of Jedburgh, giving a transit of c. 32 miles each way, not unusual for this species (BirdLife factsheet mentions foraging distances of up to 100km for Danish breeders); very hardy birds!

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