Monday, 22 August 2011

Wknd 20-21 August

Saturday visited parents up in Banchory. Was heartening to see a significant increase in House Martin numbers compared to what we had 25 yrs ago when I was logging garden records there - presumably associated with the expansion in new houses; Swallow not lost either, though much further now from preferred habitat in open country. Checked to see if I could add any for atlas and found a hefty 47 already confirmed for the tetrad (NO79D) - a good haul by the locals!

En route back casualties of four raptor species on the trunk roads, LEO by Carse Hill at Forfar, Barn Owl by Brechin, Tawny at Kirkliston and the usual Buzzards. Posted to angusbirding and Chris kindly stepped up and confirmed first as an adult male in wing moult - thus must have been there post-breeding and would be new for NO45, but of course dead birds don't count for atlas :(

Sunday - 7 Red-necked Grebe off Seton Sands but poor light and probably many more out there. Sea covered in auks with young.

Monday morning - an unringed adult Med Gull (above) amongst 360 BHG (including 6 juv, of which two still downy) on Longniddry beach east of c/p 2. From a little further afield a report of 59 Med Gulls at Newbiggin, Northumbs, represents a significant increase for that site - summer peaks have ramped up steeply from single figure counts just 5 years ago, and similar numbers to current Lothian peaks 10 years ago. Will we ever see these great flocks here?


  1. Hi Stephen, that count has prompted an interesting discussion locally about why Newbiggin? It will be interesting to see if the current sites in Lothian that hold regular individuals such as Musselburgh are the places that get the bigger flocks WHEN they happen.
    Numbers this year have made a dramatic jump elsewhere too, one site in Wales has goine from counts of 115 last year to 250 this year!

  2. Hi Alan - thanks for comments; thus far ours are quite strongly tied to the sandy shore, often venturing a bit inland to feed in stubble with other gulls; virtually none can be found on our rocky coast. They are surprisingly scarce at Aberlady, which is more mud than sand.

    Incidentally the Lothian peaks evolve as follows: 1 1976, 2 1984, 3 1999, 4 2002, 5 2006 and 6 2010 - the latter last autumn at Seton Sands reclaiming Scottish peak count from Fife.

  3. They're coming, 8 adults and 4 juveniles at Buckhaven in Fife on Wednesday, double the old Scottish record!