Lapwings heading west
Yesterday was a bit of a right off for birding, horrible blow, heavy showers of nasty haily stuff but managed a quick look at the PDC and then to Work (the place, not where I...) where I've been seeing big flocks of Eider and Long-tailed Duck over the last couple of months. Had to go to Kirkwall for decorating supplies as I'd run out of bright orange paint. However, not much at either. Returning home, checked The Shunan, kipping Shelduck. This is very early and a real good Foot it species, but I was in the car. However hungry I was, drove home, put on suitable element protection gear, rallied hound, and back down the hill by shanks. Fortunately it was still there. Also around and about were 6 Meadow Pipits, a Fieldfare and 5 Redwing, all uncommon, awkward to get usually (but already on the list), these hiding in the neap field.
Pink-foot called nice and clearly, although I still could not see it, but I've ticked this one, and the usual selection of quackers. Bumped into another birder who told me that I'd dipped on Snow Goose as they'd flown behind me and then gone on to The Shunan before lifting off and continuing west, darn! Heading back up home checked the neaps field where there were 8 Meadow Pipits a single Redwing, a Song Thrush and I heard Fieldfare. I was watching a hunting ringtail when another raptor was flushed from the gorse below it, big female Sparrowhawk, nice. That brings me to 61 which was last year's total and I've still two more weekends... 100% When I started this year I thought I would get nowhere near last year's total as in December the birds just did not seem to be about. There are plenty of chances to improve on the total too, I still could get: Black-headed Gull, Gadwall, Pintail, Goldfinch, Linnet, a redpoll of some description, maybe even Snow Goose which would be a patch tick (not a very exciting one as these birds are almost certainly from the German feral/Orkney feral population.
Late this afternoon I decided to go crow hunting and head for the roost. Two ringtails went to roost but way up the valley so I drove up further and found crow city in a field. In the end I counted 73 likely Hoodies, 4 possible Carrions and 3 certain hybrids. I should have taken the other scope as I might have been able to sort out the more subtle hybrids in the fading light.