Sunday, 28 August 2011

Wknd 27-28 August

From the "poor man's seawatching" hotspot (not) of Cockenzie a look out into a breezy Forth produced a few Kittiwakes and Sandwich Tern W and an adult Little Gull (latter remarkably my first here since Oct 08!), little else. Along at Seton a pretty adult Med Gull by the burn, unringed.

Saturday called past Aberlady - nearly 1000 small gulls in the inner bay was notable, a Greenshank on the edge of the salt marsh and a f/imm Scaup downstream of the footbridge, asleep at high tide then began to feed. Just inland at the Muir Park resr south of the village another Greenshank heard. 55 Sanderling on Gosford Sands.

First visit to Craiglockhart pond, where pr Mutes had 6 large cygnets, and 18 Tufted Ducks (upgraded to P as one female completely flightless). With atlas activity dwindling, as the BTO atlas project closes, time for some post mortems. A look at the final list for NT48 (still orange, i.e. 10-25% missing), which is mainly Aberlady/Gullane, shows 28 species missing with some form of breeding status in last national atlas (1988-1991), being: Fulmar; Wigeon, Pintail, Shoveler, Common Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser; Dunlin, Ruff, Woodcock, Curlew, Common Sandpiper; Sandwich Tern, Roseate Tern, Arctic Tern, Little Tern; Cuckoo, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Redstart, Whinchat, Wheatear, Fieldfare, Spotted Flycatcher, Red-backed Shrike, Rook, Hooded Crow, Common Crossbill. Neglecting a few perhaps optimistic codes from last time, notable are those we already know are gone, the terns and some waders, along with a few other genuine losses, like Cuckoo, Yellow Wag, Spot Fly, all in local decline/retreat. By contrast just 4 species added, all expected: Buzzard, Barn Owl, Nuthatch and Jay, plus hybrid crow. Have not had time to do further analysis yet but it does make you wonder why there have been so many losses - are visitor pressures relevant to any of this?

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