Saturday, 17 March 2012

Sunny with showers

Here's some pictures now things are back to normal as I've finished my bit of the bird report and the bird race is done and dusted (I'll post about the bird race shortly). This morning found me checking the local tetrad, yesterday's ploughing had encouraged plenty of gulls, but no white wingers, however, 28 Lesser Black-backs was a good count. Best bird was a Black-tailed Godwit, the first of the year. Snipe was calling and Curlew were on territory.

The confiding Little Auk in Scapa Bay earlier today. 

Had a bit of a tour around after checking the local patch as I had some things to get in Kirkwall. On the way I noticed that there was a lot of gull activity at the fish cages just outside Hatston so I stopped and looked. I didn't have the new Nikon scope with me but all the same in good light the faithful Zeiss did the job and I spent a good time sifting through the distant flock, in the air and loafing on the cages and water. Most surprising was the lack of any white winged gulls and in the end I counted 280 Herring Gulls, at least a third of which were 2cys. I'd thought that there were more gulls further out but when I looked carefully found they were Eider and a bit of a scan towards the harbour found some more, in the end I counted 600 which is a fairly hefty flock here. I could check the closest males and they were all standard but the distant ones and the females needed more optical power, or a boat.

There was a single Iceland Gull, a 2cy on the PDC. Shopping done I headed to Scapa and after a brief hunt around one of the reported Little Auks was found close by the quay.

Louise had a female Hen Harrier at the end of the day and I tried coaxing a Shortie towards the garden but failed. Hen Harriers pretty regularly hunt in and around the garden but I've only once had a Shortie closer than this one, 100 m or so distant, and that was at night.

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