Monday, 20 May 2013

Wknd 18-19 May

Getting going on the Woodcock survey, at least the local version thereof where we are attempting to discover if the dire status revealed in the local atlas thus far is a fair picture or not. I started at Cuddie Wood where a roding bird reported for 2011 by local resident. Fortunately one was immediately apparent as I arrived, and perhaps same was heard later over Butterdean. I'd had roding birds are Butterdean and nearby Hodges at dawn in 2008 atlas visits. A single Tawny calling from Liberty Hall and 2 Barn Owls on way home made a good first excusion.

Less success on Sunday will pre-dawn visits to Harelaw by Longniddry, and Kilduff. Thereafter did BBS at Whitekirk/New Mains. The highlight was a pair of Lapwings on the "set-aside" S of main road by New Mains, anxious female and full display by male, what joy to see after eight barren years for this species here! Also Sedge Warbler continuing to expand in oilseed rape crops. Lowlight was a roe buck with its antlers tangled in an electric fence. Got a hold of it but very badly tangled so could not free it without tools. Clearly had been there some time, also had pulled most of the fence bases out so was in danger of getting free trailing the whole fence, or getting body tangled too, or injuring itself by wild thrashing. Decided no time to waste calling for help so went home for a knife and brought my son Michael to assist. Initially was still thrashing badly and got rear leg to knife to kick it off. Also now had a loop of the fence round neck and would not tolerate that being touched. Finally managed to hold him again by one antler and he allowed me to cut steadily through the 20 odd nylon cords, each with embedded wire mesh, without ever pushing back towards me. Once free, though still decorated with a bunch of orange twine, he hurtled away over nearby fence, but then in field beyond leaping with a kick and clearly very glad to be free. There is very useful guidance online on handling stranded deer and the dangers thereof, nevertheless I think confronted by a similar situation I'd do the same again as it could have ended much worse.

Evening at Blindwells Minewater Treatment Scheme (top) was impressed by the now matured reedbed, with at least one singing Sedge Warblers at each level (a few others outside) and several prs Reed Bunting. Perhaps still too wet for other waterbirds to nest but one Moorhen resident seen. En route a Yellowhammer in song from within Longniddry, in trees between A198 Main Street and Glassel Park Road. Also one Short-eared Owl seen over the top of Blindwells, wheeling to plunge on prey at frequent intervals, a wonderful sight (my first there). Finally at home while posting this blog, one Common Sand calling over 00:05hrs, then two screech calls from Barn Owl at 01:15hrs, (fourth record from the house) and then another Coot NW 02:05hrs.

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