Monday, 9 January 2012

Wknd 7-8 January

Whilst driving down Eskside on Saturday spotted the tundra Bean Goose nibbling grass just a few feet from the pavement, ignoring passers-by. Others have much better photos, it was after sunset, but proof of food source here! Any other year and the temptation would be to quickly write off any other rare goose amongst tame "feral" Greylags and Canadas (37)!

Sunday made a quick trip round WeBS sites (week early by accident!), Whoopers still on Prora, c. 226, then at East Fortune large Greylag flock was unusually twitchy, first west of ponds, flew to ponds, flushed to fields south, finally settled NW of Waughton cottages (NT560805); breakdown was 652 Greylags plus usual white domestic goose and grey presumed Greylag x domestic Swan Goose hybrid, 4+ Tundra Beans, one ad Whitefront, one Barnacle, 1 Pinkfoot, my first 5 species flock here where Greylags are the standard fare; might have been 5 Tundra Beans, certainly not as many as 10 as reported earlier.

Monday - one Little Auk W past Seton harbour and 1k+ small gulls feeding down middle of Firth of Forth; ad graellsii LBB on Seton Burn, presumed "Lucy".

Early evening an eared owl giving a great display hunting under the Raceland floodlights at Gladsmuir, surprisingly tough to nail the ID though! Concentrated on wing tips but could not get conclusive details in the difficult light; given nocturnal hunting suspected LEO was more likely, assuming owl does not perceive the artificial light as anything more than an assistance to nocturnal hunting, but on consulting texts SEO is not unlikely as a nocturnal hunter, moreover is said to hover more than LEO, which his bird certainly was doing. Lack of ear tufts when perched may also be indicative but probably not conclusive either!

Post mortem back on 3 recent A1 owl casualties:

* SEO, Blindwells, 13/12/11, imm m, weight 318g, body score 3/5, gastrointestinal tract empty; all signs of a young bird in poor condition

* Barn Owl, Abbey Mains, Haddington, 9/11/11, juv f, weight 320g, body score 4.5/5, well filled intestines, gizzard contained common shrew

* Barn Owl, Monksmuir, Haddington, 4/1/12, young ad f, weight 326g, body score 5/5, well filled intestines, gizzard containing common shrew, bank vole and short-tailed field vole

Latter two as per many previous are young female owls in excellent condition, the running total is 77% female - reflecting presumably not that female owls are more susceptible to collisions but that they disperse more and further from natal areas.

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