Sunday, 5 June 2011

Wknd 4-5 June

A circuit of Redcoll to Cottyburn and back home by bike (repeat of last week) produced 3 calling Quail in the early hours. First was by Redcoll limekilns, responded immediately to a whistled "whit whit" call. Negative at locations of late May records, Setonhill and Wheatrig, making me wonder whether these all relate to same - wandering a kilometre or so must be likely?

Another heard from railway walk in large cereal field E of Redhouse Wood, also responding to whistled call. Had three "probable" snips of call here on 29 May but a breeze got up and prevented confirming - a while listening at Redhouse the following day, late afternoon, was negative (even in calm conditions, whistle prompt tried). Persistence is clearly required, plus visit at right time of day! This now definite bird is a great first record for my home tetrad, NT47N (plugs an obvious gap).

Back at Longniddry railway station a Tawny was heard from Setonhill and two more then started up noisy calling towards Harelaw. Remarkably this seemed to trip another Quail to sing, from fields south of the station, east of Longniddry Farm. Perhaps this is where the Quail first heard south of Lorne Bridge has relocated, having again been negative at latter location on two more tries, but also within 1km? Or, maybe there are many more undetected and there's one at both locations!? Whatever, my smug feeling at being able to call up Quails by the quality (not) of my whistle mimic of their call rapidly evaporated as it dawned on me that probably any loud call/noise at night is going to set them off, even that of a predator! Indeed I was reminded of the Ballencrieff birds from 2009 which I noted then were immediately triggered by the first notes of a Skylark in the dawn chorus at 03:18hrs - I did wonder at the time whether this was a coincidence but I'm now certain it wasn't. Abbie also tells me loud music and car alarms had set her birds off!

A final observation was that my whistle call Quail impression also set off at least three Song Thrushes in different places; I also noted this on last week's excursion. This is another species sleeping with one eye open and ready to strike up at the drop of a hat, even in the darkest phase of the night.

B'day party duties Sunday landed us in Seafield, Edinburgh - set up scope and on first scan picked up a Bonxie offshore flying low N; tracked it for 15 minutes as it headed strongly N gaining height past Inchkeith and ultimately somewhere off Kirkcaldy where pursued by a gull; showed every sign of continuing due N but guess it would have continued to head round the Fife coast. Had it perhaps arrived overland from the Solway?

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