Saturday, 30 March 2013

Easter weekend

Saturday - despite the snow the last batch of Whoopers seem to have bailed out during the week, just two ad+juv remaining amongst Mutes at Rogarth, West Fortune, later looking isolated grazing alone on the grass at Muirton. Photo of juv above, green-NFU darvic behind (also NLD, NLT and NZU (juv) there), ad below. Per Abbie there had still been 39 Whoopers there on Wednesday and the Bewick's was still amongst 54 present on Tuesday. Anyway, there they go for another year, and no sign of much in the way of migrants to replace them yet - though will be busy again soon with effort towards the final breeding atlas about to commence on Monday!

En route today an ad m Peregrine in transit, and remains of a Barn Owl found, feathers of most of right wing and some body feathers just off the road near North Berwick Law rookery/pond, bird must have perished, perhaps some time in the winter but for unknown reasons but possibly a road casualty? The last recovered from A1 at St Clements Wells in last week of atlas was another young female, in excellent physical condition (5/5 body score, ample fat, 2 small field mice in gizzard, well-filled intestines, uterus pregravida).

Recent rookery counts: 141 Craig Wood, Whitekirk [NT58V] (up from 106 7/4/12), 116 North Berwick Law [NT58L] (108 in 2008, 67 in 2006), 112 Common Strip, Archerfield, 108 Traprain [NT57X], 84 Cairndinnis [NT57S] (breeding not confirmed yet in atlas!), 81 Longniddry station/Kitchener's Crescent [NT47N] (92 on 24/3/12, rising to 117 final count), 59 East Fortune [NT57P] (39 nests in December), 44 Coldale [NT57L], 32 Gladsmuir church [NT47L], 29 Phantassie, East Linton [NT57Y], 24 Meadowmill [NT47C] (28 last year), 21 Macmerry [NT47L] (24 last year), 19 Seton Sands [NT47C] (18 last year), c. 18 Pencraig Wood [NT57T] (48 in 1993), 16 Dirleton Main Road [NT58C] (52 in 1991), 12 Drem [NT57E] (19 last year, 33 in 1992), 12 Haddington memorial garden [NT57C], just 6 Amisfield Park, Haddington [NT57C] (22 last year, 21 in 2009); where no previous counts mentioned in this list there are none in database since 1991. Aiming to get complete 10km counts for NT47 and NT57 (expect both to top 400 nests) and assist Mark/Jim with theirs in NT48, NT58 (now 385) and NT68, then to compare to data from 1975 census.

Sunday - rookery trek round NT57 as per above additions, highlight was a female Merlin in fields between Seggarsdean and West Bearford, SE of Haddington. Also a great number of Buzzard including one in a full blown sky-diving display over Fernyness Wood by Gosford sawmill. Per BWP "Sky-dance display-flight of plunge-and-swoop type by male, sometimes while still holding object in feet. Bird: (1) sweeps up into wind with a few wing-beats and fast glide, (2) stalls as body becomes vertical, (3) tips forward and dives on closed or part-closed wings for up to 200 m before (4) checking on spread wings and (5) shooting up again; may loop-the-loop, at least occasionally. Sequence often repeated 12 or more times." I witnessed two consective steep plunges but was too far off (at Garleton monument) to see if it was playing the associated dropping and catching game.

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