Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Christmas week

Back to the Whoopers on Boxing Day, they seemed in good form with 4 or 5 full blown trumpeting displays from a circle of birds, as per above. The mud is no better, some seemed to be filter feeding in a couple of inches wet mud a la flamingos but most happily munching provided potatoes (below). Nevertheless a few fights breaking out and vigorous pecking of other birds which had strayed into a favoured patch!

Better success with darvic rings, and pleased to get old friend yellow-PL5 back for 7th winter with us, swapping in 2006 from Martin Mere (where caught and ringed as an adult on 30/1/01) - pic below. Also yellow-X4R is back, first seen last winter and ringed at Martin Mere on 10/2/10. Finally yellow-Z3K is still present, seen here in early November (no history yet). Have updated the darvic histories document, link right menu.

The Queenstonbank Pinks contained one odd goose with some features that I thought matched juv Whitefront, viewed from the track end at Rattlebags quarry. Thursday update - but how wrong I was, it proved to be a small dark aberrant plumaged Pinkfoot, should always have been the first option - oops! Good I returned though, got grey collar PJH again - ringed Lintrathen 20/11/05, seen at Cullicudden on the Black Isle 4-5/11/06, at Skinburness in Lancs on 28/2/07 and by me at Aberlady 2/11/07, another old friend. Also recounted the Whoopers which were nearly all around flood pools on grass at Muirton, made it 238 this time of which 57 juvs (23.9%). If that is accurate then looks like we have retained more juvs, or gained some in exchanges, as the juv count was only 48 back in November!

Also added three atlas tetrad ticks, 3 breeding confirmations from nests, including a rookery of 39 nests just east of East Fortune New Row (how did we miss that in breeding season?!), and 5 count increases (targets file).

Back at Ferny Ness counting scoter again caught sight of a Great Northern Diver fishing offshore NW, very likely the same bird I got briefly last weekend - but this time lingered just long enough between dives to clearly see the lower neck band, a fine bird. 320+ Velvets but many more out of range.

On Christmas Eve morning, 10 Waxwings in flight over Fa'Side Avenue in Wallyford, viewed from A1, presumably same reported early afternoon nearby on Salter's Road.

Saturday update - trip back from Preston up M6/M74/A701 saw a good showing of Kestrel with 7, versus 11 Buzzard, despite generally miserable weather and plenty rain. Kestrels hunting the motorway central reservation in wind and rain with traffic thundering down both sides, how do they do it?! Highlight was Ravens over Shap. Also added Carrion Crow breeding confirm at NT25U (UN) and Siskin in NT13F.

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