Friday, 4 November 2011

Wknd 5-6 November

Thursday, tip-off from Tom, this presumed juvenile Barn Owl on A1 by Spittalrigg was only second Lothian casualty I'm aware of this year, down from 21 last year (15.6 average 2004-2010). [Postscript - another on A1 at Abbey Mains east of Haddington the following week; also updated winter atlas map here to assist targeting gaps - this includes the recent additions plus a few earlier casualties which are not allowed under the BTO atlas rules.]

Friday morning saw some vismig underway with 169+ Redwing and 3 Crossbills in first half hour, then some small flocks of Starlings first half of morning, full counts.

Lunchtime, with a flat calm before rain started, a scan off Ferny Ness revealed a Great Northern Diver (ad-win/imm, not same as Dave's last week), 8 Red-necked Grebes (group 5 together), 20+ Slav Grebe, plus a male Goldeneye, at least 9 RTD, 26 LTD, 45 RBM, 80 Velvet Scoter, etc. 810 Golden Plover on Gosford Sands arrived from Port Seton, Long Craigs rocks, where flushed off by bait diggers. Herring Gull orange-1787 there (below) was back for the 3rd year (ringed Seamer Carr, 30 November 2007), but no sign of a new bird (blue-167) seen last week by Keith.

Saturday - started the usual hunt for East Lothian Greylags (grey goose survey), unfortunately they were not in usual haunts (Drem to East Fortune, nor Lochhouses, or Gosford ponds per Abbie) so drew a blank! Most of the Whoopers were in stubble by Chapel farm (accompanied by a single Barnacle Goose!), others at East Fenton and Chapel farm resrs, total 118.

Coming back planned an atlas owling trip, mainly targeting the gaping hole still in the Tawny Owl map. Success with Tawny at Birkhill, Binning (edge of gap, but new for NT57Z) and then a surprise Barn Owl out hunting by the busy road past Kamehill entrance, also new (NT57U). Did not bargain on the extent of bonfire night activities though, any owls at Gilmerton House woods (centre of gap) were keeping a low profile (though Pinks could be heard nearby at Beanston Mains, feeding under the moon). The kids were better pleased with the sight of 7 bonfires in total and great fireworks displays at East Fortune smallholdings and Kingston cottages.

Sunday - my annual trip to Aikieside Hill, Stobshiel, to monitor Wood Pigeon migration (probably a minority interest hereabouts, though Clive is keen on them up in Angus, and Chris & Ali in Fife!). Did not disappoint, 2650 NE/240 SW in just over an hour, full counts. [PS - these totals can't compare with the 10's of thousands logged at many English sites today, e.g. Pennines, max rates of 25k per hour! See map.] A few Pinks came up from the south out of Borders, descending to feed at Humbie, others were arriving from Aberlady. Stunning scenery views too.

Sunday - another traipse round in search of geese and finally found the bulk of them at dusk at Redside (345, with 85 leaving to the east); in addition 43 East Fortune and 30 on Gosford shore two hours after sunset (perhaps same as 24 over our house east at dawn?). Moreover, Gilmerton House owls proved more cooperative - after initially cursing my luck with a lot of gunfire going on in the estate an renewed bout set off agitated kewick calls from an equally irritated Tawny, thus one useful tetrad record which will appear in middle of the void (NT57N).

Monday - a Woodcock flushed from muddy puddles by minor road over A1 south of Trabroun, Elvingston, a tetrad tick for NT47R.

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