Saturday, 23 March 2013

Wknd 23-24 March

Sunday - checked Whoopers at Muirton, finally got the left leg yellow darvic, V6P, also a new red darvic AFD (probably same as unconfirmed at same location 25/2/12, 11/3/12), with red-BLX still present, 11 juvs in 38, rising to 44 birds at dusk; these two new rings suggest some of these are passage birds, the main flock have already left; nearby in oilseed rape by Rogath, West Fortune, only 6 Whoopers (2 juvs) remained, with 23 Mutes, also smaller dusky juv swan asleep in middle of field, which when I went back at 17:25hrs and was able to see only 100m in from the road was clearly a Bewick's, pic above (my first in Lothian, indeed Scotland, I never caught up with this species in NE Scotland - my only previous flock was at Marshside RSPB a very long time ago!). Bewick's were a former scare wintering species in this area (Drem/Fenton Barns/Brownrigg) from at least 1980, but last recorded in winter 1995/96.

On Saturday, with an E6 wind continuing it seemed a good day to look out to sea - managed an hour from Dunbar seafront before the kids were fed up; nothing unusual seen, Fulmars most promiment just playing in the wind as they glided past barely a flap needed (69, all the near ones were double-light), adult Gannets and the odd Kittiwake, plus a pair each of Shelduck and Wigeon both S. 4 Goldeneye flew in to join 2 the bay, with a single Red-throated Diver also present. Will have missed some birds due to strong buffetting of wind and poor visibility at times due to snow.

In the harbour some uneaten sandwiches brought in a instant cloud of gulls, one ringed Herring G****29, presumably a local bird.

Only 17 Whoopers at Muirton but found another 12 (3 juv) with 19 Mutes about a mile south in cereal south of West Fortune farm, never previously seen swans there. Will check for rings Sunday, assuming they are unlikely to depart in current weather! [Postscript - see above, one of the 3 juvs must have been the Bewick's, birds were west of B1343 so c. 1km distant - should have been alert to possibility of Bewick's then but was in a hurry to get kids to pool in Dunbar!]

Rookery count - 27 nests at Phantassie, East Linton; attempting to do a full 10km count for NT47/NT57, needs to be done in next couple of weeks.

Best came last with a stunningly beautiful Barn Owl hunting the B1377 verges in full daylight just before 18:00hrs. Perhaps hungry due to wind impacting night hunting, though daylight hunting also attributed to males provisioning females for egg laying. Hard to know from flight views but the rather buff upper breast made me suspect it was a female. Camera batteries had expired but Joanne acted quickly to get it on video via mobile phone (link).

1 comment:

  1. Great find! Smart bird and years since I've seen one locally.