Tuesday, 30 March 2010
Any thoughts on the above would be most welcome! (feel free to email me if you prefer)
Monday, 29 March 2010
(Doing his best Arctic Redpoll impression!)
At midday, another wander produced this beautiful Black Redstart. So looks like we have migrants still arriving, even with cold Northerly winds and snow! This bird was very good at hide and seek, and refused to pose for the camera.
Do you think it's spotted me yet?
Sunday, 28 March 2010
The high winds and driving rain/hail were always going to make today a challenge at best. After being trapped at work for the last 5 days, and finding two migrant Wood Pigeons at dusk while waiting for the ferry home last night, meant I just had to get out today regardless... I had been hearing what the other birders up here had been finding during the last few days, so I was determined to find out what I'd been missing in Burravoe. As it turns out, not a lot!
Despite the atrocious conditions, I still managed 4 Knot feeding in a field with the local Turnstones, 2 poss 3 Male Chaffinches (inc 1 in my back garden) and a Redwing. Not earth shattering, but a good indication that at last birds were trickling through Yell as well. the conditions in the next few days are meant to improve (poss more snow as well! Oh joy!) so hopes are high in Burravoe for more 'hot migrant' action. Fingers crossed...
(Genuine Rock Dove too....., none of the feral crap here!)
Friday, 26 March 2010
Monday, 22 March 2010
Sunday, 21 March 2010
Good movement of Twite and Skylark today, with birds both singing and passing by over head. I also seen my first Meadow Pipit displaying (Yippee..). This might seem 'pants' to you?, but to me this is a good sign, as they completely vacate Burravoe in the Winter, as opposed to small numbers of Twite and Skylark still turning up now and again during the last few months. Looking at Birdguides and seeing things start to arrive down South, I just wish they would get a bloody move on, as it's been a long Winter up here, and I'm sure we could all do with an Alpine Swift, or even another Black Kite would do!
Saturday, 20 March 2010
Thursday, 18 March 2010
Friday, 12 March 2010
Put together a complete technophobe and a complicated subject such as Crossbill vocalisations, and it's a miracle that I got any recordings at all, but get recordings I did, and a few of them were good enough to id too...
Crossbills were only looked for in native Scots Pine forests, due to the fact that the cones should still be closed at this time of year, and only the larger billed birds (Parrot & Scottish) should be able to access the seeds. This fact seems to have escaped the attention of the birds themselves, as I recorded 'Common' Crossbills in all the woods checked!
The first sonogram shows what is commonly known as a Fc4 (or 4E's depending on the classification you follow). These birds were quite scarce in Britain until last Summer, when there was a large scale invasion. These vocal types were the most abundant birds I recorded in Shetland last year, and thus before then would have been a good find, but now they seem to be everywhere.
Also got a bit of a dodgy sonogram of what looks like an Fc1 (1A) If you squint carefully you can just about to see it...I recorded only two of these in the 2009 Shetland invasion! (Sorry about the poor quality)
But...These ones are slightly more interesting (to me at least!), They were described to me by Magnus Robb (of 'Sound Approach' fame) as a probable variant of the above Fc4. Typical eh. Just when you think you are getting a handle on things, someone shows you that you really don't know what the hell your talking about.
Well, just looks like I'm going to have go back to Speyside to try getting more recordings...Oh dam! (If I have too).
I hope this just goes to show all those people who have either Scottish or Parrot on there lists, based purely on habitat or time of year they seen the birds. May well be wrong! Without recordings, In my opinion, only large billed Parrots and small billed Commons can be confidently identified in the field. As the overlap in bill size between large Common and small Scottish, and large Scottish and small Parrot make sure things ain't all that easy! I'm surprised there ain't more people out there with recorders...
Any comments on the above sonograms are most welcome.
We were met by an old friend (Andy Carroll) and the Speyside birding began in earnest with a quick walk through Abernethy forest to try and catch up with as many Crossbills as possible for sound recording purposes (for any anoraks out there, there will be more later...You have been warned!) There were many more Crossbill recording walks, with varying success almost every day.
Much snow cover made sneaking up on wildlife almost impossible, as the crunching noise under foot was deafening, but we still managed to see a nice assortment of goodies.
The real excitement for me started on the 10th when Andy drove me on a 440 mile round trip, to give me a 'chance' of adding Goshawk to my life list! After a start at 0430hrs, we arrived on site to find a beautiful sunny day and -1 degrees. We didn't have to wait long though, as the first showed up after only 5 minutes. This one was a very large female but unfortunately it was only a fly past...
The next up was a Male, which thankfully flew into the trees and perched up for about 3 minutes! Through the scope, we could get fantastic views but I never brought along my digiscoping kit, so no gripping pics (typical eh!) We thought this was perfect weather and time of year for a display, but in the next two and a half hours no other Goshawks showed, oh well, you can't have it all. The drive up the road also produced Red Kite on the A9, so all in all, a Good day was had by all. (and massive thanks to AC)
A few birds we don't get very often in Yell also posed for me.
Thursday, 11 March 2010
Speyside has always been special to me, and now I have a good friend living there, looks like I have no excuse not to visit more often. As if you ever needed an excuse to go birding in Speyside!
A few photos from the trip are below, and I'll write a trip report as soon as the caffeine induced haze has cleared.
Tuesday, 2 March 2010
Alternative definition; fieldcraft n. Making yourself look more of a total tool than you already do (or is it just me?), while dressed up in camouflage gear and sporting optics....(it is just me, isn't it!) and letting your neighbours have a good laugh at the plonker that moved in next door!
And as for the Ringed Plover, I caught this photo just as he was about to fall over laughing...
Don't worry though, as I reckon all this 'fieldcraft' is just a fad, and it'll never catch on. After all, how many times have you seen birders using it?
For me though, it's back to work for a few days, then I'm on a special birding quest! with minimal fieldcraft required (thank god!), but it does involve a fair bit of technology (oh crap!), so I'm sure a complete technophobe like me is certain to balls it up! I'll post the results on my return...
Anyway, for those out there who were wondering about the word 'ejit' please see here; http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=ejit
Monday, 1 March 2010
So with nothing else to keep me off my DIY duties, it was back to Burravoe. Oh yes, and I took a couple of Greylag pics on my dog walk this afternoon. Not too bad either, as they are normally way too flighty for photos. For those interested, the flight shot was taken first, as the bird came into land (honest!!!)