Sunday, 22 June 2014

Wknd 21-22 June

WeBS ponds largely deserted on Sunday but old friend the drake Mandarin showed up again at East Fortune ponds a couple of years absence (previous records 18/7/10, 17/7+16/8/11). Wonder where it's been hanging out since? Seems there have been none in Lothian since late 2011 in Edinburgh, possibly same bird, with one in March 2010 at Haddington also possibly same? Gladhouse birds not reported since a pair in 2008, and female in 2009, perhaps they did not survive there beyond that date?

On owls it seems this is a bumper year for breeding locally and Long-eareds in particular seem to have produced lots of young. With thanks to various correspondents who have made efforts to look we've had birds at 10 sites in Lothian within last couple of weeks, of which now all 10 have had hunger-calling chicks with brood size up to 5! On Friday, after detecting 3 young birds in pines in hills near Edinburgh, Harry Dott and I were fortunate to watch a couple of young hunting over heather at c. 22:30hrs, remarkably still persistently hunger-calling while doing so. Also a Cuckoo dashing round the same site. Locally I've also had a couple of Barn Owls taking prey to young, and young Tawnys this week at Gosford north wood and Redcoll. However despite it apparently being a good Quail year, with lots of reports particularly in Scotland, some further north than usual, I have failed to find any in the hinterland behind Longniddry, locations I found them in both 2009 and 2011, still time yet though.

On the coast, not many gulls around but the black darvic young Danish GBB was again at Port Seton on Saturday. A ringed Kittiwake stood by the Seton Burn. Many auks feeding out in the Forth, 140+ Guillemot in Gosford Bay Sunday, with Razorbills and 2 Puffins, a Puffin setting off with fish offshore from Prestonpans last week, a long journey to the colonies from there. Also 70 Velvet Scoter and 100+ Common Scoter well out in Gosford Bay Sunday. Nice also to see first returning Goosander, 8 f/imm along the shore, fishing in shallows as they do in characteristic "head in the water" fashion. Also at Seton, 4 Turnstone at dusk on the longest day, which are either very early returning or young birds which never went north. Possibly the latter as none were in bright adult breeding plumage and post-breeding moult is supposed to start late June, and also per BWP "Age of first breeding, Finland, 2 years (Bergman 1946), but (circumstantially) 4 years, USSR (Bianki 1967)". Lots of Common Tern along the coast feeding, courtship feeding and heading west with fish, also 4 Sandwich Tern at Aberlady during the week. [Monday - 130 Common Scoter in bay and 2 Great Crested Grebe at Ferny Ness, also first juvenile Guillemot with parent].

Was also up at Pishwanton on Saturday where pleasing sight of a Spotted Flycatcher FF with large insect prey. Blindwells Mute Swans have 4 smallish cygnets. Finally, not a bird, but my first rabbit in Longniddry, a juvenile behind the play group hut outside the church, a long way - 300+m each way - from safety.

Not current, but of note, Shag red-TSZ here as a juvenile in 2009 subsequently seen in Norfolk (map).

1 comment:

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