Saturday, 18 January 2014

Wknd 18-19 January

Seems to be a theme developing here, with yet another great rarity reported from a local site that I feel is in "my area" if not patch - a Glossy Ibis in flight NE over Ballencrieff steading on Thursday! Mark tipped me off that it had been submitted on BirdTrack, I was able to discuss with observer who got a mobile phone photo - the flight profile is pretty distinctive but at only 20x10 pixels that alone won't be enough for SBRC! Got to the site Sat pm, a suitable muddy pond/flood by the resr there, would have been very nice for it; thereafter trawled usual areas NE, but no sign of course.

In same area wildfowl seen included - c. 110 Whoopers at Prora/Chapel, with 42 (4 juv) north of Fenton Barns (mixed in with 16 (5 juv) Mute Swans), pr b1 East Fenton, pr b2 upper Mill Burn (south of Dirleton), total c. 160 Whoopers; c. 500 Pinks Redside, 500+ Aberlady; pr RBM East Fenton, plus a drake on East Fortune resr; 3 drake + 1 female Goosander Chapel; 126 Teal East Fortune.

Also at Drem in cereal with corvids a single Nordic-type Jackdaw out of 50+, an obvious whitish neck stripe, some others with hints of pale stripes but falling short. Best was a female Merlin hunting fields at Brownrigg, a regular site for them in recent years.

Atlas confirmations for crow in NT58V and NT48Q, still failed to find one in NT58G. During week confirmed Magpie in NT37Q on Wallyford Bing, 3 nests there, also added a new rookery in elms on north of this site, remains of 9 nests (another breeding confirmation). Blackbird NT67J was an obvious gap in East Lothian, plugged by nest below in hawthorn by the inner bay path, many birders must have traipsed past this bush! Total now 147 confirmations since mid-Dec, plus another 10+ harvested from submissions to recorder (along with a lot of useful winter records).

On the coast late Saturday a few standard Velvet Scoters off Seton harbour; been looking at these birds for close on 10 years, but now lurking doubts - have I been checking them properly, could I have missed that nobbly "white-winged" Scoter bill?! (No expertise on these but I am persuaded by the Garner analysis). I did also check the Eider west of Fidra in late November when confirmed Woodpigeon for NT58D, looks like I did not scrutinise those carefully enough either :( Our sea duck are often pretty distant though, and it can be hard work trying to check each individual to ensure it is not some fabulous rarity - but with the recent spate of rares in Lothian looks like we need to!

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