Sunday, 26 July 2015

Gosford Sands

With Blindwells harder to get into have been visiting Gosford Bay more, counting waders, etc. We get very slim pickings on northbound waders in comparison with Tyninghame (where hundreds of Ringed Plover and Dunlin late May), my paltry few were just 5 Dunlin on 16 May and 5 Sanderling 31 May; a couple of Grey Plover remained throughout the summer, non-breeding plumage so presumably first summer, joined by 4 smart adults on 26 July. Barwits dropped to 11 on 30 May, 8 on 13 June but started rising again with 21 on 26 June, 57 on 3 July, 67 on 4 July (at least 4 in red-brick breeding plumage, 8 others orange), 78 on 10 July, 114 on 16 July. 12 Dunlin back on 3 July, followed by 46 Knot on 18 July, 50 Sanderling on 26 July. Sandwich Terns suddenly picked up at the end of the month with 12 on 26 June, 37 on 30 June, 114 on 3 July; other terns very scarce just a couple of Arctic's on 8 June and a couple of Common's at Port Seton.

Up to 32 f/imm Goosander have been swarming along the shallows off Ferny Ness (above) and Long Craigs rocks, occasionally mixing with a few residual RBM's, but quite distinctive even by their behaviour. Offshore Eider numbers have been low, but 1600 apparently east of Gullane; likewise for scoter, with a massive moult flock of Common Scoter resident well offshore to the east, creating a great spectacle of perhaps 2k birds swirling in a single flock over the sea, viewed from Port Seton on 8 June. Only managed a photo of a splinter group which flew west:

A single Red-necked Grebe on 13 June had found a friend by the end of the month and was feeding within 50m of the point at Ferny Ness; 5 ad-sum just off Longniddry Bents c/p 2 on 10 July. First couple of Teal back on 12 July. Plenty of Puffins and other auks offshore, and the odd Manx Shearwater especially in poorer weather. Some views out to Inchkeith in the Forth here from the Seton Burn, often scenic.

A few more, first over Seton golf course top pond:

Some amazing sunsets at Gosford too, sometimes combining nicely with the rippled sands and attracting photographers to the Ferny Ness c/p (where a £2 day charge commences this month!).

Also, a sign of things to come - at least no charge for dawn/dusk in summer which will include most of my vismig visits:

Plenty of complaints all over about the parking charge, but what about all the anti-social behaviour and litter spread by visitors? Visit Ferny Ness first thing and there are mounds of chip packets, polystyrene plastic, cans and bottles, tents on occasion too, complete with all the contents which their owners have kindly left for someone else to deal with. I'm rarely out in East Lothian without coming home with a collection of plastic drinks bottles and cans. Last week 3 black sacks of beer cans and bottles, some smashed, down St Germains track to Blindwells, complete with a homemade CD of "Glen's music" and receipt from Port Seton co-op where they had bought some of it for cash served by Fiona at till 3 at 14:45hrs on 10 July! Personally I'd be glad to see the back of many local visitors who turn out their cars of takeaway trash along the main road as they head back to Edinburgh - if it keeps some of them away price worth paying IMHO...

Monday, 20 July 2015

Wknd 18-19 July

As usual, Blindwells grassland is thick with Ringlets and burnet moths, the latter are mainly Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Zygaena lonicerae which are increasing in southern Scotland but replaced by the Six-spot further north.

On mid-summer swan census and WeBS the main species apparent was Lapwing, with 240 milling over Drem then west, 45 at East Fortune, 20 at Chapel and 14 at Blindwells. The only other waders were a couple of Common Sandpipers at Chapel. Mute Swans were just a pair at Chapel and the Blindwells brood now reduced from five to four, though a further batch of Coots have hatched there (3rd brood of 3). Another notable success was 3 Tufted ducklings at Chapel Farm resr, remarkable considering it has next to no vegetation and the first breeding in NT58F, 3 more on East Fortune main pond.

Down at the coast 46 Knot were new on Saturday and a few Red-necked Grebes still present, no big numbers yet. On Sunday evening the lighting over Edinburgh and the Forth was amazing, photos don't really do justice to the atmosphere - of course accompanied by the noise of the terns and gulls.