Monday, 23 April 2012

Wknd 21-22 April

A Moorhen picked up freshly dead on road at Skid Hill, Garleton Hills, gave opportunity to examine the subtle beauty of its plumage, particularly the underparts - a species we may assume is rather dull and take for granted! Note the jet black of central undertail contrasting with white outer panel provides the rear end signal - used both in alarm (Tail fan) and pair greeting (Tail flash), per BWP. The broad white tips on the rear underbelly are shown by both sexes in fresh plumage, but their extent here may suggest this individual is an adult female: "Like adult ♂, but feathers of central lower belly and vent more broadly tipped white, appearing mainly white or mottled grey and white, rarely uniform dark grey; in fresh plumage, white fringes to tips of feathers of lower breast and belly broader on average, sometimes not completely disappearing by wear as in ♂" (per BWP).

Also at the pond there, Mallard ducklings out (b7) and BHG colony in full swing (4th year of occupation, normally fails).

Saturday did some atlas roving around Vogrie & Crichton (first visit), breeding evidence included juv Mistle Thrush on verge at Ford, Chiffchaff bringing feathers one-by-one to line its nest deep in a clump of grass at Vogrie, several active rookeries (10 Ford, 9 Dewartown, 19 Crichton, 16 Blackcastle); also good views of Nuthatch at Vogrie. Single Swallows in several places (including first over our house), Willow Warblers widespread. Grasshopper Warbler in song on Blindwells northern perimeter on Sunday afternoon.

Nevertheless at Ferny Ness later on Sunday no hirundines, nor any other migrants, were seen passing offshore, seems a generally slow arrival this year. 18 Sandwich Terns were fishing Gosford Bay/on Greencraigs, pr Shelduck were again prospecting eastern c/p area, 50 Grey Plover on Greencraigs island; 42 RBM, 16 LTD (mainly breeding plumage), 3 Slav Grebe on sea; single RTD east.

Back to Friday and a Purple Sandpiper and very pale grey (leucistic?) female Eider were at Wrecked Craigs, Port Seton; chatted to Archie Mathieson and his wife there (ex-Aberlady warden). Seton roost numbered 650 BHG, 10 Common Gull (just 3 ads) and 26 graellsii LBB (though BHG were also heard over the house heading to the coast several times btwn 22-23:00hrs, perhaps coming from colonies inland?).

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