Tuesday, 24 July 2012

More atlas and nocturnals, etc.

Despite good progress on atlas some large gaps in maps for nocturnal species remain - one identified was the lack of LEO records from their former strongholds between Livingston and Linlithgow, i.e. the network of minor roads through mainly coniferous woods and open/rough ground in Bathgate/Riccarton Hills, including Ravencraig (NS97V), Beecraigs (NT07C) and Longmuir (NT07G) all of which have confirmed breeding records this century!
Together with Harry and Mark we got out there for an evening on 18 July, no wind but rain did not really help us. Nevertheless 3 nice views of perched Tawnys and 4 others hooting, then finally a Long-eared Owl perched by road, amazing views in headlights at range of 10m until we decided to move on and it flew. Poor record shot here. No Woodcock, checking Lothian database we have not had roding birds after 8 July and BS3 suggests that roding ceases by mid-July (though had a couple roding on Islay on 13 July last year). So will have to wait till next year for those, with still very poor map.

Tried at Seton Chapel yet again for Tawny but still negative, last summer's single there seems to have been a one-off; interesting that this prime habitat seems not to be occupied right now, though there are plenty of mobbing birds there, large numbers of Jackdaw that also occupy tree holes and Kestrels in another. At dusk at Blindwells two Grasshopper Warblers still in a singing contest, got within 5 feet of one in song by the west bog but no sign of a family; still hope to prove breeding in NT47C.

The Penston Yellow Wagtail seems to have gone though, had a good look on Thursday both Penston and flooded fields south where still good numbers of gulls, Oycs, Lapwings etc. Surprised to find a juvenile Wheatear at the big dung heap there, still looking very immature, but presumed migrant as no sign of any family and quickly disappeared. Also confirmed Buzzard there at Hodges - now at probable/confirmed in all but 2 tetrads in NT47 (NT47A, NT47Z).

Good news per George of a brood of Quail seen at Torness, a rare local breeding confirmation.

Over the house - Dunlin heard in early hours of Friday, Sparrowhawk with probable Starling prey NE over so presumed nest in Gosford (new) and Crossbill movement picking up, single W over on Wednesday and 8 W including obvious juveniles on Friday.

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