Sunday, 17 May 2015

Transport - gardening

 Pictures of yesterday evening's Siskin in a gale...

Not much birding today, transport for girls required this morn and as we are currently down to one car no way of wriggling out of it. Anyway did manage to stop at the PDC, and then on the way home photograph an exceptionally good boat.


The Siskin was still present today and it was joined by two Chaffinches. In the evening there were three Tree Spugs. On The Shunan the Ruff was still there.

Otherwise lots of digging, peas are in, tomatoes potted up etc.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

The skua disaster

News that Poms and Long-tails were on the move got me out to Yesnaby to try for a view on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. The evening session was not too bad except the L-tS came by before I was very organised and a struggle with bins scope etc did not result in excellent views. The morning session was more of a disaster as I got to Yesnaby just a few minutes after four LTS had flown in off the sea and inland. Worse was to come as using my scope a flight of Poms managed to sneak below me and I just caught their retreating forms heading north. Elsewhere there were more seen later from Yesnaby and a whole pile from North Ron although the laid-back Papay crew failed to connect.... (if I'd been out there you's have been route-marched to the north end chaps). I did manage to see a few Iceland Gulls with two hanging around the junction pools at Yesnaby still and when I was working at Skara Brae on Thursday there was a different one there from the weekend.

Thursday evening did provide a bit of compensation tho, having replenished the bird food I noticed a Tree Spug below the feeders, with a bit more study four more revealed themselves, a record flock!

No aurora on Thursday evening but the sky was pretty good, these were taken after midnight.

 12:30 a.m.

Venus setting

Today there's plenty of poo going on the fields and plenty of gulls hanging around, including at least one intermedius, perhaps the hoped for patch Glaucous Gull will reveal itself? Rain shower has passed, better go and look at those gulls.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Redpolls and Iceland Gulls a few other bits and bats. Some nice migrants over the weekend as Swallows increased quite dramatically, Sand Martins were around their colonies and my first Common Sands and House Martins appeared.

These Meally Redpolls on the feeders were my favourite birds of the weekend though, they didn't stay long but I managed these pictures which I;m quite pleased with.

As well as the migrants there was plenty of breeding activity with gulls and waders much in evidence. The first branchers from the rookery and a fledged Blackbird were also seen.

Once the rain started I abandoned the gardening, {peas, parsnips and tatties are in) and headed out to look for migrants. Somehow though I got distracted and started looking at gulls. At Yesnaby there were three Iceland Gulls and a selection of interesting Lesser Black-backs including at least thee intermedius and a very dark bird with one tiny white mirror in the primaries (but perhaps not small or long enough to really be fuscus). On to Skaill and another Iceland Gull, a big thug of a thing that had me confused for a while as it was lying in the grass and hard to see properly.

Bosquoy burn

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Extra pictures

 More Hawfinch pix

 From the kitchen 

 The rookery

The Shunan

Monday, 4 May 2015

At the feeders

Struggling to remember what I did yesterday.... (oh yes, horsey stuff) however, today was pretty good. Started with a rather damp and cold walk around Birsay with a few migrants, Sand Martins, Wheatears, Robin, White Wagtail, Chiffchaff and a singing Sedge Warbler. Back home The Shunan was duck city but the hoped for Garganey has still not revealed itself. However, star bird appeared on cue, under the feeders just as I was getting ready to do a bit of painting (the walls, not some avant garde masterpiece).

Hawfinch female

In the afternoon the Sun came out, more horsey stuff to do but a bit of birding too included Arctic Tern at Howaback.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Papa Westray weekend

Pretty brilliant weekend, many thanks to JB and VB for the hospitality. A quick early post, more pictures to be posted later - the morn most likely.

Just out of the airport and straight on to this

Great weather, if a tad cool

First good find was a rather distant, but nevertheless pleasing 2cy Little Gull, an uncommon species here.

Loads of these guys around

Nesting gulls everywhere and the Sandwich terns were also back on territory

Out to the north end for a rather uneventful seawatch but there were plenty of Bonxies and Arctic Skuas too.

Plenty of Great Northern Divers on the sea and a Raven's nest

We were getting tired and cold but the wader flock near Loch of Ness popped up as we went by, and there were several hundred birds. Amongst the several hundred Purple Sands there were several colour ringed birds so I was searching through them trying to record the ring sequences. All of a sudden a small Dunlin like wader popped into the scope. There was a certain amount of disbelief at first but I managed a "What's this?" to JB who got on the bird at almost the same instant. From finding a Baird's a couple of year's or so back I remembered the flank markings feature of White-rumped Sand. I knew it wasn't a Baird's and we both came to the conclusion, the bird had shown it's rump in the picture above but I didn't see this picture until tonight, however, JB saw the rump when the bird flew and our ID was confirmed. Subsequently I spent a couple of happy hours trying to get better pictures. Nearly died of hypothermia....

To cap it all the redpoll on the Redpolls page (just posted) was found on the way back to base, it is a Mealy but it caused a bit more excitement...

Here are a few more pix...

 Sadly the autumn's transport is now a rather colourful, small shed...




 Long-tailed Duck

 Norse grave

Ocean Queen