Saturday, 9 January 2016

Scapa birding, but dipadidoo (no Brunnich's Guillemot for me)

The Brunnich's Guillemot was found yesterday (nice one KH) and showed really well, but I was in work all day. However, first thing this morn I was down at the home of the world's finest whisky, and there were loads of birds there. Information began suggesting there had been a bit of a clear out and there were fewer birds but over time it was noticeable there was a pretty big interchange between the Harbour and vicinity and ScapaFlow. Looked like it would be a waiting game. Trouble was it is a big place, fair bit of chop on the sea and there were far too many distractions.

 I'm pretty sure this has a red eye, certainly looks like it has pink feet, a true albino I reckon. Guillemot by the way (now changed my mind after a bit of research, bare part colours very like those of a Dunnock on BTO website, extreme end of leucism I think).

It is quite possible that I did see the Brunnich's early on, PH got on to a likely suspect, but it was just that bit too far away and instead of drifting closer that wee flock of auks flew after about 15 minutes.

All the auks were on view, and very close, even an out of season Puffin (no photo of that one). Little Auks were all over the shop.

 Little Auks




And now for some other things, nice views of Black-throated Diver, which I failed to photograph, there were loads of these though.


I was watching a Great Black-backed Gull hunting the Little Auks, down in one (not on this occasion), it was very interesting how it would spot a Little Auk on the water and then drift gently towards it, as it got closer it would lower its head and its body as much as possible and almost lie flat on the water and continue to paddle towards the chosen victim. Of course the Little Auks are not as dozy as they look, although one left it to the very last moment before going submarine. No luck Mr Geeb! Need to try and get some pictures of this behaviour tomorrow, batteries were flat by then.

Here's another interesting gull, called as a Kumlien's but I think it is most likely glaucoides as there is no contrast between the inner and outer primaries, also the primaries don't have those little dark hooks from the centre tips. The tail and wings seen in flight were pretty uniform. Additionally looks to me as if it has a pale iris.

2cy Iceland Gull or is it a 3cy, think those are grey feathers in the mantle so it has to be a 3cy, interesting beastie.

Here are some flight photos by Gerry Cannon

Three flight photos by Gerry Cannon

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