Monday, 30 March 2015

Wknd 28-29 March

Some better pics of the Fenton Barns hybrid gull, presumed LBB x HG, first seen there last April but likely same as per other sightings in the area since 2009. For first time, long call was observed, with head vertically down initially coming up to 45 degrees during the brief (truncated) call, followed by mate behind; thus in contrast to the vertical upward angle shown by YLG and LBB. Red gonys spot clearly confined to lower mandible, also contra YLG. However the orbital is pretty reddish, thus closer to LBB. Probably not of direct relevance here, but this is an interesting blog on the yellow-legged LWHG in Finland - I think I would've overlooked the majority of the 1st-wins though, given their already huge variability.

Nearby at Kingston, another old friend, a leucistic Woodpigeon - perhaps the same as first seen near Waughton in May 2010, at East Fortune in May 2011 and more recently at Brownrigg; watched the bird feeding in crop for 5 minutes before it was flushed by a cyclist and alighted in trees at Kingston House 600m east; I then drove south to look at Whoopers and was amazed to again see a leucistic Woodpigeon perched on the railway lines at Betony Hill, presumably the same bird but it had flown 2.5km due south as I was driving down past Congalton! It then flew north to feed in the valley west of COngalton Gardens.

On swans, Whoopers cleared out as expected, with just 35 remaining, of which 20 juvs, these typically slowest to depart. So counts have declined as follows 256 (50+ juv) 28/12/14, 212 (44 juv) 2/1/15, 177 (37 juv) 17/1, 165 (40 juv) 1/2, 160 (29 juv) 8/3, 131 (17+ juv) 15/3, 80 22/3, 35 29/3. Soon the last will be gone.

On owls, yet another Barn Owl dead on A1 at Macmerry, the 14th since mid-Jan, yet there had been only two previous cases since last June, a bit of a puzzle though clearly the recent spate is evidence of many of last year's young dispersing (6-7 post mortems expected); Mike McD recovered an LEO beneath powerlines at Gifford, I may do a post on sex/age but this looks like a juv m to me.

On gulls, a big movement of BHG with 6k at Seton on 14/3 now much reduced, 480 on 21/3, 430 22/3, 200 28/3, 225 29/3, with 90% of those remaining being immatures, i.e. mainly 1st winters. The odd rosy pink individual as usual. Common Gull more stable with 1300 14/3, 1400 21/3, 1900 22/3, 1300 28/3, 1500 29/3. All numbers estimates, as per usual at gull roosts. Windy this weekend with birds sheltering behind pipe and remaining on shore long after sunset, typically they begin flying onto the sea around then. Despite the apparent spring movement, no other species of gull drawn in and last two Med Gulls were on 14/3.

Previous week - this beautiful Jackdaw with "brown" plumage aberration looking bronze, at Niddrie.