Sunday, 11 December 2011

Wknd 10-11 December

Spent some time looking at these Grey Partridge feeding in snow at Seggarsdean on Saturday, pecking at oil-seed rape leaves and weed seeds, covey of 8, 5 more nearby. Must admit I normally just count the flocks but careful examination allows appreciation of how distinctive are male (above) and female (below). 1st-win of each sex probably tough to distinguish in the field, post-juvenile moult fully complete at 16 wks, i.e. at least by late Nov, male retains outer two primaries, with bars on outer primaries less broken and not so reduced as adult, whilst female breast without chestnut, or on a few feathers only; in c. 15% patch as large as average adult female (all per BWP). Fascinating to see them all crouch flush down with snow seconds before a Sparrowhawk whizzed past the car. Both species new for tetrad (NT57G), also added a few at Tyne by Abbeymill where 32 Siskin accompanied by 2 Lesser Redpolls in waterside alders, Goosander on the river.

Sunday did WeBS circuit (a week early by accident!) - first stop East Fenton where c. 250 swans at usual muddy field south-west of the farm, probably still c. 210 Whoopers. With them 470 grey geese, knew there was a chance of interesting interlopers and though distant and in poor light soon got a view of orange legs on a couple. Some shooting started and they flew, departing mainly N 14:30hrs. Photos taken confirmed the dark tail band and narrow white tip on one, i.e. Bean Goose presumed tundra, a patch tick for me in the Drem area, though later found there had been 31 of them there with 140 Whitefronts NW over at same spot a little earlier in the afternoon - oh well, at least have seen various Whitefronts!

On geese well worth a look at this blog post on a bunch of neck-collared Greylags which came over from Scandinavia but have already gone back again, amazing!

Back to Friday had a skua rising up from sea off Ferny Ness, harrying gulls - lucky to catch up with same later off Port Seton harrying a Kittiwake, confirming as a gingerish juv Arctic; reports of individual off Musselburgh at wknd apparently a darker bird, perhaps a few still lingering in Forth in association with late departing Kittiwakes this year? Lucy (LBB) still resident in Seton harbour for 7th winter, also seen offshore, for comparison this typical argenteus Herring on a rock at Cockenzie harbour, a couple of dark flecks in pale iris.

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