Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Christmas and New Year

Happy New Year to all readers!

Blog somewhat neglected of late, still working on nests for atlas! Have logged 130+ tetrad-nest records since mid-Dec, 60 Woodpigeon, 49 Crow, 5 Magpie, 4 Buzzard, 2 Blackbird, singles of Song Thrush, Goldfinch and Swallow (many more individual nests seen). Of these 100+ are confirmations for atlas, mainly in southern West Lothian and down the A7. Amongst these got first confirmation for NT44R which we seem to have overlooked! Recounted several rookeries with just 4 dispersed sites now not covered: NT25W Moorfoot Farm, NT35N Sowburnrig, NT67R Woodhouse Dean, NT77G Thornton Glen (latter to be counted by Mark). Also picked up two groups of Bramblings whilst in West Lothian on Boxing Day, at Harwood (NT06B) and Newhouse (NS96V), both on beech mast.

Managed a few brief looks at the coast, failed to join the rarities feast but got one or two late additions for sadly neglected patch and year lists (patch map above, patchwork challenge rules): 235 Velvet Scoter Gosford 24/12 and imm m Peregrine W along shore (belatedly added Knot for patch); 185 Common Scoter Gullane Bay 25/12 (and confirmed Woodpigeon for NT48K/R), an exceptional 235+ Kittiwakes feeding mid-Forth 27/12 after gales (only one double-figure December count in Lothian 1991 to 2010, 15 Silverknowes on 3/12/06, but many in late December 2011, peak 50+ from Gullane Point; NB - a minority winter in the North Sea); on 31/12 at Prestonpans, the Black Guillemot (mainly breeding plumage, flying in from east late morning, definitely a sight for sore eyes and only my second in Lothian) and a Black-throated Diver, 2 Red-necked Grebe at Cockenzie harbour with 2 off Seton Burn, 2+5 Goldeneye in flight west (patch tick!), 2 ad + 5 juv Gannets, still a few Kittiwakes feeding offshore (mainly tarrocks), an adult graellsii Lesser Blackback (reminiscent of "Lucy") and a Great Northern Diver off Ferny Ness, the latter a late addition to both lists! The resident Mute Swans on the burn, below, they are fed there which ties them to the site thus effectively removing them from the wild breeding population, but that food together with seaweed diet certainly seems to keep them in good nick.

Finally at dusk on New Year's Eve, whilst confirming some nests around Dunbar, had a Raven cronking NW over Seafield pond, pic below, a surprisingly late addition to the year list. Final total for patch is a mere 122 species, 15 down on equivalent for 2012 with worst omissions being skuas (after so many in 2011!) and Purple Sandpiper, not seen in the harbour in recent visits. Lothian self-found also about 10 down on recent years at 148. Normal service should resume some time in 2014!

New Year's Day - brief trip out to the roost produced a single Med Gull out in the bay off Longniddry c/p 1 16:00hrs, more foul weather and very poor light by that stage.

Update 2 January - a final visit to NT36 and NT06/16/17 added 75 more nest-tetrad records, now 98 Woodpigeon, 72 Crow, 15 Magpie, 7 Buzzard, 3 Blackbird - altogether 100 confirmed additions. Updated Woodpigeon improvement, final season (click and toggle maps below). Still a few easy gaps but time for a rest from nests! A Raven at Clove Craig, Carlowrie (NT17M) was the best other sighting.

Crow improvement is less noticeable, but at least a good number of possibles now eliminated:

Sunday 5th - nothing new, but apparently same GND diving offshore N from Ferny Ness and a graellsii LBB amongst 2200 gulls on sea off Seton Sands by 16:00hrs, presumably same later on sea off harbour after a trawler came in.

No comments:

Post a Comment