Friday, 15 July 2016

2016 breeding season

Have been too busy to maintain this blog, and all recent birding very local, even struggling to do my WeBS sites these days - but a brief update with local 2016 breeders. Swans successful again from Blindwells minewater treatment scheme top tank, these photos from the middle tank. The soundtrack.

The cob:

Little Grebe, Coot, Moorhen and Mallard all fledged young here. Encouragingly, two pairs of Grey Partridge present on one date, another pair regular over the road in market garden fields around Seton East farm shop - just clinging on in these parts.

Seton shore - more unusual visitors in early June were Gull-billed Tern (right), 5 Greylags and pr Shelduck.

Gosford Sands has been hosting up to 20 common seals, and peak of 145 Sandwich Terns there on 4 June, but was devoid of waders on that date. By 12 June 32 Knot, 11 Barwit and 4 Dunlin had appeared, with Knot increasing to 49 by 14 June. On latter date, unusual sight of 2 ad-sum grebes well offshore from Craigielaw initially thought to be Slavs but 2 Red-necked Grebes much closer in on Sunday evening; also 2 Great Crested Grebes on same dates. Sandwich Terns continue, many mating or pairs courtship feeding, similar to previous years but every year there seem to be more - quite strange considering there are no significant colonies for many miles up the east coast, nothing I'm aware of between Farnes and Forvie (Isle of May just recolonised, by one pair, this year). One Sandwich in full winter plumage, black just at lower fringe of cap.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Garden target lists


After a year at the new house in Lothian the garden list reached 61 species (6/8/05); a neighbour had reached 83 so there are still some to get, including one or two easy ones; the following is a list of 25 possible species which would be needed to catch up, let's see if any are accurate predictions:

  1. (Mallard - Should be easy!) - a pair NE over east of village on 25 February 2007
  2. (Canada Goose - Another likely suspect - small flock of moult migrants N over on 5 June 2010
  3. (Barnacle Goose - Moves around with local Pinkfeet) - 4 over on 29 October 2005
  4. (Common Crossbill - Got this in Herts in the 2002 breakout - surely a likely candidate here near the coast) - 5 over on 9 October 2005
  5. (Common Chiffchaff - Likely in spring/autumn) - first to fall, calling bird on 3 September 2005
  6. (Sand Martin - A probable over spring 2005) - 4 over W on 15 April 2006
  7. (Stock Dove - Regular nearby) - 1 over on 12 August 2006
  8. (Jay - Possible in autumn) - 1 over on 2 October 2010
  9. (Mute Swan - Must fly over from time to time) - 5 over on 22 October 2005
  10. (Teal - fairly common in the area) - 3 over on 2 December 2010
  11. Reed Bunting - Possible in winter or on passage
  12. (Brambling - Perhaps in winter or on passage) - 1 over calling on vismig 30 October 2010
  13. (Lesser Redpoll - Possible over) - single in song over on 15 April 2006
  14. (Common Tern - Regular at coast nearby) - several over after dark on 24 August 2006, and other dates thereafter
  15. (Dunlin - Must fly over from time to time) - one over in rain just after midnight on 21 October 2006
  16. (Common Snipe - Must pass over now and again) - one in hard weather January 2018, seen twice on second occasion looking as if going to land in garden; deep snow lying
  17. (Common Sandpiper - Possible over) - heard over in rain at 23:44hrs 14 August 2007
  18. (Whimbrel - Possible over) - heard over in rain at 23:32hrs 14 August 2007
  19. (Common Whitethroat - Common in surrounding countryside - female in garden on 8 May 2010
  20. (Treecreeper - May pass through with tit flocks) - single alighted in tiny front garden on 11 September 2006
  21. Spotted Flycatcher - Seen nearby outside the village
  22. Garden Warbler - Seen in another garden in the village
  23. (Wigeon - Moves along coast) - 1+ over on 2 December 2010
  24. Gannet - Ought to be visible occasionally throo telescope high over sea 1km N
  25. Tree Pipit - Several heard over on migration on nearby coast
  26. Yellow Wagtail - not infrequent as a migrant in the area
Species added to the list which were not envisaged are:

  1. Grey Plover - single over at night on 5 September 2005
  2. Grasshopper Warbler - reeling bird audible in May-June 2006
  3. Common Redpoll - a small flock present over New Year 2007
  4. Ringed Plover - heard over to north at 23:55hrs on 14 May 2007; plenty on the coast at this time of year so should have been no surprise
  5. Quail - nocturnal migrant on 1 June 2007
  6. Bar-tailed Godwit - heard over in rain at 00:20hrs 15 August 2007
  7. Barn Owl - screech heard 02:08hrs 27 July 2008, quite a surprise within the village but also heard summer 2008 and since then sometimes daily, even seen flying over the garage!
  8. Black-tailed Godwit - heard over in rain at 00:18hrs 2 August 2010
  9. Coot - heard over in mist at 01:13hrs 7 August 2010
  10. Tree Sparrow - a couple on 30 October 2010 and several dates into winter, subsequently has become a regular in this part of the village
  11. Woodcock - 2 over in roding flight excursion on 8 May 2011; had thought more likely to get this species in autumn/winter as nearest regular breeding/roding area is a couple of miles NE
  12. Short-eared Owl - one during the bumper arrival in autumn 2011
  13. Osprey - holy grail finally on 1 July 2012, drizzle
  14. Fulmar - a long shot, given declined inland breeders, but one on 15 May 2013
  15. Little Egret - another unthinkable a few years ago but expanding so rapidly, finally seen on 9 August 2014
  16. Mediterranean Gull - a lot of effort expended looking for this predictable species, regular on coast and commuting to feed inland - finally added on 7 August 2015
  17. Nuthatch - when we moved here in 2004 this was still a rarity in Lothian, but has seen a huge expansion since including throughout the neighbouring Gosford Estate, and being seen on feeders regularly at the east end of the village - calls finally heard on 20 July 2016, species 100!
  18. Yellowhammer - common locally, but high sedentary, a presumed field hopping local migrant high SW on 12 December 2016, 1C
  19. Sedge Warbler - distant bird in song at coast, straining my ears, mid-May 2018
  20. Green Sandpiper - nocturnal migrant early August 2018


Visits home now very infrequent, but most obvious omissions are:

  1. Linnet - overhead
  2. Teal - most fly over occasionally
  3. Common Snipe - must fly over occasionally
  4. Chiffchaff - not common in the area though
  5. Hen Harrier - a probable once eluded me, seen nearby