Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Year in the square

Happy New Year!

I don't tend to go birding very much on New Year's Day and so a brief struggle out into the garden and down to The Shunan is all that I managed. Despite this lack of effort a new "from the garden" bird (actually from the garage where I was sheltering from the snow) was espied, Goosander. Three drakes were sailing across Loch of Bosquoy, not a common species on Orkney so a bonus for little effort. I'm putting the "seen in the home tetrad" species in the side panel this year.

Last Year's "from the garden" competition spurred me to keep a "from the garden" list, I prefer a tetrad and "in the garden" list usually. The total for the year was 95 which wasn't bad. Slightly frustrating were the few species that were on The Shunan but feeding in those tricky to see from the garden corners, this included quality like Pectoral Sandpiper and Little Stint as well as Whimbrel, a species that was surprisingly scarce. In the spring I had too distant to identify possible Pec Sand as well, a Green Sand also fell into that category and the autumn one was a brief flyby from The Shunan. Other frustrating misses were the Pomarine Skua that Louise had fly through the garden when I was at the bottom of the track in the car and the Little Egret that another birder saw fly across the Dounby road whilst we were in the house. There were also the species that were seen by others that should in theory have been visible from the house, both Gyr Falcon and Golden Eagle fall into this category being seen from The Ring of Brogdar. Common Crane must have flown past the house. In theory both Eider and Gannet should have been visible from the garden but heat haze prevented Gannet being seen and I couldn't figure out exactly where to look for the fresh water breeding Eiders on Loch of Harray. In addition Scaup on Loch of Harray defeated me by distance, I knew which flock of Tufted a drake was in I just couldn't do it at the distance. Kittiwake were seen on one occasion from the banks of Loch of Harray as well, despite lots of staring they were not recorded from the garden. So 95 out of a known possible 106. Going off island during October was a bad move and almost certainly meant I missed Goldcrest, Chiffchaff and possibly more exotic passerines.

In the garden last year included Waxwing, Greenshank, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, (and Pom if I count Louise's birds too), Red-throated Diver, Common Redpoll, Hen Harrier, Moorhen; all slightly odd garden birds (most of these were admittedly fly-overs, but all the same).

Goldfinch feeding in the garden at the end of last year


Stewart said...

Goosander was new on my garden list today too Alastair! I had a nice pair fly low west over my house this afternoon...All the best for 2011...

Alastair said...

Something going on in Goosander world maybe. Have a great birding and mothing New Year Stewart