Monday, 29 April 2013

Wknd 27-28 April

Showery with some SW wind on Sunday so I popped down to c/p 2 for a very brief look into the Forth early evening - there were many sheering birds moving west, most were Fulmars but also Manx Shearwaters, welcome back. View above of silhouetted Inchkeith, plus a shower mid-Forth. Welcome also to the local Sedge Warbler, was hoping this would be back after successful breeding last year and sure enough on arrival a subdued warbler was rattling through various species in a mimicry-laden song from hawthorn scrub (not many reeds yet).

Back in the village only 3 Willow Warblers seen along the burn left over from influx last weekend, still all silent. With them now both a male and female Blackcap, presumably just back as I have checked the area every day.

On Saturday went for the rookery recount of the great colony at Pishwanton near Gifford. Made it 525 full-sized nests this time, of which perhaps 450+ occupied (???) and a great cloud of birds swirling over. Breakdown by tree species was c. 68% scots pine, 12% larch, the rest in deciduous trees along burn ranked as alder, sycamore, oak and birch. This appears to be the largest colony in Lothian at present by some margin. Pics above from Longniddry rookery, now rather rearranged with now slightly fewer nests in main wood but a new batch at Longniddry farm.

Kevin provided a Tawny Owl from Roslin, seems to be an adult male (4+ cy), rufous morph; wing entirely adult, no retained juvenile feathers which can persist to 4th spring, but careful scrutiny of the wing shows s3 is rather worn - not all secondaries are replaced every year. The undertail also shows the very speckled patterning, much more defined bands on a juvenile. Sex by length of central claw (c. 15.0mm, <17.8mm = male), also wing length c. 260mm (female 275mm). Recovered not far from a road, so possibly hit by a car - or maybe old age given it was likely born in 2010 or earlier, thus must have lived through one of the very severe winters. Bad news for its family too, young Tawny's out since a while back in some parts of the country.

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