Monday, 17 February 2014

Wknd 15-16 February

A din from the roof of the engineering labs announced the return of the breeding Oycs, they soon got down to work with mating (below) then had a nap.

Wknd activities mainly focused on last few nests - the last 10m at the top of the bank, Scoughall, held both Carrion Crow and Woodpigeon nest as hoped (confirms for NT68G), and the few trees at Cuthill held Woodpigeon and remains of 3 Magpie nests (former a confirmation for NT37S). Also got a few more nests in NT25/NT35 including a new Buzzard at Rosebery resr.

Saturday - c. 140 Whoopers spread between Fenton Barns, Prora and Dirleton - yellow-46I still.

Sunday - a Tawny perched over the road at Harperdean, fanciful to imagine it might have been the same one I once rescued off the road there (juv, May 2010)!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Wknd 8-9 February

Saturday at dusk on Seton Sands, old friend red-7P8 Med Gull was the only one I could spot, a narrow dark mask and no sign of summer plumage; all her movements characteristic, running back and forth in the roost to adjust her position and when stood constantly swinging her head from side to side looking around, as I have noted on so many previous occasions - indeed October this year will mark 10 full years since I first saw this bird on the shore here, not long after moving to Longniddry; she flew out onto the sea to roost at 17:25hrs. Several BHG now with hoods developing and one entirely complete and dark.

Earlier had finally confirmed Carrion Crow in NT58G and NT67D, couldn't find one in NT67E though Magpie was an addition there, indeed also a tetrad tick - two nests at Tyninghame village. Also spent some time looking for Jay nest in excellent habitat including many yews around Gilmerton House, one live Jay and plenty of pigeon nests and squirrel dreys but the real thing remained elusive. Crow map improved but still weak along Lammermuir edge and top of NT27 - Edinburgh:

[PS - during week did a quick tour through northern Edinburgh, no trouble to fill every remaining gap for Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow and Magpie, including the tiny fragments of land in NT26Y and NT36C; remaining tiny fragments to check at NT37S and NT68G, both will have Woodpigeon.]

Mainly Mute Swans at Fenton Barns, 19 ad + 6 juvs, just 3 ad Whoopers with them.

A male Peregrine was hunting at Ballencrieff castle, plunging down over the field at Corn Hill but failed to catch anything. Also a Peregrine at work (King's Buildings) recently, new office has a view east instead of west, flank of Arthur's Seat just visible, hopefully better for the likes of raptors if I ever have time to look out of the window!

During week Chaffinch in weak song Fernyness wood and King's Buildings.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Wknd 1-2 February

These dusk Whoopers at an unexpected location, at Whitelaw Farm on the north side of Whitelaw Hill north of Garvald (NT57R), not a place we found any during atlas, none really wintering south of the Tyne here. Five adults in oilseed rape, did not have time to see where they went to roost, nowhere obvious near there.

Otherwise mainly back on nests - a trip to the far west on Saturday morning added 30 breeding confirms, half Woodpigeon, also 7 crow, 7 Magpie and a Buzzard (NS96B). Pic above of a crow nest in NS86V, the only tiny bit of Lothian in NS86, c. 5 hectares of fields, Falkirk district (Upper Forth) beyond; the only confirmed breeder here, last atlas this was wooded and the only confirmation was Woodpigeon. Woodpigeon now pretty much complete even in the West, end of previous season and current maps (toggle):

Sunday went up to Mike's near Gifford and en route added another 6 crow tetrad breeding confirmations and found 3 Buzzard nests, also all breeding confirms and the one below indeed a tetrad tick for NT57W, won't get many more of those now! Also found another new rookery, 10 nests at Birks Plantation in NT57V, can't count these for our rookery survey as they could be from earlier years. Final shot is a crow nest in a huge beech also in NT57V north of Newmains, some of these need care to distinguish from Buzzard but a bit of wool is always a give-away.