Sunday, 27 October 2013

Wknd 26-27 October

Hmmm, rather similar topics to last week here, mainly swans and doves - Whoopers coming in now with at least 153 back at Prora/Chapel/Kingston on Sunday, including above bunch in stubble south of Kingston cottages. The majority were roosting in grass behind Prora, totally inaccessible for rings; Saturday at least got a breakdown of 19 juvs in 104 birds, 2xb5 and 4xb1, Sunday had 2xb2 including the two above.

Also at Prora 3 Ruff (m, 2f) still present, flying low over Whoopers on pools, presumed same as per Chapel on 13/10, probably from the 10 there on 22/9.

For atlas, mopped up Blackbird for NT58H, whilst looking for a nest at Dirleton found a Linnet nest like a fortress, so surrounded by dense hawthorn stem could not even reach into the cup to check lining.

Also crow in NT57Z. 8 Collared Doves in East Linton/Preston Mains included one juvenile. Also went back to Scoughall where was convinced I'd had a young bird in flight last week but had then hidden in trees towards dusk - this time 8 birds obligingly perched up and in their midst the youngster below (2nd from right). I never imagined atlas would still be "alive" this late in the season, and some may rightly ask whether these can be safe confirmed breeding records - without finding a nest it can't be proved of course but there seems little reason to doubt these are the resident birds which you can see there on any trip to Scoughall.

During the week also saw a Woodcock flying out SE from the wood at Meadowmill sports centre at dusk (18:30hrs) on Thursday, presumably to feed in fields. Other updates - Monday added Woodpigeon to NT37K, NT37Q but was eluded by the Collared Doves in NT47B; remedied latter on Tuesday, when also added Collared Dove, House Martin, Blackbird and Magpie to NT46J, Collared Dove to NT46P and Blackbird to NT36T on way to/from work; also found a used Linnet's nest in NT36T, Fordel Mains - had confirmed at Southfield via FL on 1/8; Thursday confirmed Woodpigeon in NT37V, also b9 Grey Partridge at Myles Farm - without too much effort have found several families this year so looks like they have profited from the better summer.

Summary of Collared Dove status mainly in East Lothian settlements in recent weeks:

  • Ballencrieff: 30+ (several juvs)
  • Tranent: 18 (1 juv); E: 8 Muirpark Road area (1 juv); W: 5 Lammermoor area; N: 3 Doocot Brae area, pr Bankpark
  • Penston: 10 (1 juv)
  • Longniddry: 9 (1 juv); SW: 5 Glassel Park Rd west (1 juv); NE: pr Community Centre area; pr Kitchener's Cres area
  • East Linton: 9 (1 juv); E: 5 Preston Mains; Centre: 4 (1 juv) library
  • Pencaitland: 8 (1 juv); Centre: 6 Doocot Way (UN); W: 2 Broomrigg (1 juv)
  • Gullane: 8 (1 juv), in north from Goose Green to Muirfield Park
  • Scoughall: 8 (1 juv), at farm
  • Port Seton: 7; East Links/Castle Road estate
  • Danderhall: 7 (2 juv); SE: Newton Church Rd/Campview Terr area
  • Prestonpans: 5 (1 juv); SE: Thorntree Cres/Gardiner Terr area
  • Seacliff: 5 (1 juv)
  • Lochhill: 3 (1 juv)
  • Highfield, Kingston: 3 (1 juv)
  • Wallyford: 4; E: Oliphant Gardens area
  • Athelstaneford: 1 ad by school
[Edinburgh - Lammermoor Terr, The Inch: 3 - no breeding season records!]

All minimum counts, but some may be close to current population in these settlements.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Wknd 19-20 October

Whoopers back near Rattlebags quarry, first spotted by Abbie on Friday. 19 adults feeding in stubble with a few thousand Pinkfeet, 12+ Barnacle Geese, no darvics or collars seen but one Whooper had a metal ring.

Atlassing - looked in a buckthorn bush at Linkhouse Wood, it contained a Woodpigeon nest as I hoped, so another gap filled, NT58H.

Ferny Ness at dusk held 450+ Golden Plover, flushed by a male Sparrowhawk.

Sunday - an adult white-phase Snow Goose with c. 4k Pinks in cereal and stubble north of Kingston Farm (above); also 39+ Barnacle Geese, Pinkfoot with silver collar TZI (Lintrathen Dec 07?), another Pinkfoot with dull orange legs (see below, otherwise entirely Pinkfoot, and similar to one seen Aberlady 29/9), one leucistic Pinkfoot (largely cream, some brown patches, see below - not the Snow Goose!) [see Dave Appleton's page for more examples of these three, especially the orange legs]; presumed same white Snow flew into Aberlady at dusk, c. 1k already there 17:50hrs, close to 4k arrived en masse just after 18:00hrs, whiffling into the roost.

More atlas: finally confirmed House Sparrow in NT58L, at Highfield (last gap in NT58), confirmed Woodpigeon in NT58S (first bush checked in Blackdykes strip) & NT58W (Gleghornie, where also c. 130 Mallard); walked Seacliff to Scoughall and found another 30+ Woodpigeon nests, for example at least 14 in < 100m buckthorn at the bank below gate above Car Rocks. At Seacliff confirmed Magpie (UN); at Scoughall confirmed Blackbird and Greenfinch for NT68B (UN), also Goldfinch nest found, but Collared Dove eluded me (6+ ads present); did confirm Collared Dove at Seacliff in NT68C, ad and 2 nice juvs (below). So Collared Dove still going strong but otherwise it is really just nests now, my rate of confirmations today only about 1 per hour, from averages of 3 or so in September, and 10 or so at peak in summer.

Final photos of coast from Chapel Brae - Scoughall to south and Bass Rock to north, now much more sparsely covered with Gannets.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Wknd 12-13 October

The Bass today, rather thinned out now and could only see about 10 young still on the rock, one wing flapping.

Birds catching updraft on south-east cliff above. A pair of Ravens were doing even better playing in the wind over the coastal cliffs, including tumbling drops.

Grey goose census (ICG) was more productive than last month with 370 Greylags at East Fortune, accompanied by 650 Pinks, 41 Canada Geese, just one Greylag x Canada hybrid, 4 white domestic geese and the "grey" goose, about half of the Greylags shown above, spot the white ones! Otherwise on WeBS, 3 Ruff remaining on Chapel farm resr, no Whoopers apparent anywhere.

Atlassing: confirmed Woodpigeon for NT58F (used nest by entrance track, driven past here every month for 6 years!), NT58X and NT68B. Also found a nice Blackcap nest hanging in trailing holly branches at Halfland Barns, pretty exposed from beneath but about 2m off the ground - photos below show its remarkable construction, how do they weave it and tie to stems?!) The only live addition of the day a family of young Collared Doves at Waughton (NT58Q); same confirmed in Danderhall (NT36E) on Monday, Prestonpans (NT37X) on Thursday, Longniddry Glassel Park Road (NT47H) on Friday (6th attempt, one juv amongst 5 resident individuals) - after 6 years of regularly passing through all of these! wish I'd been more alert to these earlier in atlas as many possible confirmations muct have been missed due to timing of standard fieldwork! Final shots below are last weekend's young juv Swallows which were still being fed on wires at Pressmennan farm.