On 25th it was reported that a female American Wigeon had been at the Loch for a week and its identity had just been confirmed. It is very similar 'our' resident Wigeon. The two differences are that the American one has a wider wing bat seen in flight and it has a whiter 'armpit' or Axiliaries. I have yet to see the bird or have it pointed out to me. Needless to say every time I have been to Strathbeg in the last few days many birdwatchers have been closely examining the armpits of female Wigeon.
On 26th a report came in that three Cranes had just landed into Strathbeg. Despite it being 20.43 I went to see them. Strathbeg is only minutes away from home. I met the volunteer warden who had reported them and he showed me where they were. It was 21.00 and getting dark. I could just make out the three grey shapes of the roosting Cranes in the distance.
|A much enhanced photo of the roosting Cranes|
James the volunteer warden left me to it as he thought he has seen a Glossy Ibis come in to land near the Tower Pool hide.
Earlier in the day I made a quick visit to Cairnbulg Harbour. You may recall that on the 11th April I saw my first Wheatear of the year but could not get a decent photo. At Cairnbulg I saw my first Wheatear on that site and got a photo'
|Wheatear with White Wagtail in the background|
On 27th It was reported that the Cranes had left the reserve in the morning going North. In the afternoon reports came in of the Great White Egret being seen on the Reserve again.
On 28th the Bonaparte's Gull that I saw on the Sunday was back, the Glossy Ibis had been located and that the three Cranes were still around and a Yellow-legged Gull was seen.
On 29th I went to Strathbeg and...no rare birds were reported but I did get two new birds for the list.. I did have a good morning there. I saw, and was able to photograph, Bearded Tit, Grey Heron, Little Gull, Common Tern, Marsh Harrier and a pair of Otters.
|Female Bearded Tit|
|Very Distant Marsh Harrier|
The two Otters (I am assuming they are the same ones) came closer for a photo
Mission accomplished, I went home to sort out the mornings photos and catch up with writing this blog but not before a couple of other pictures
Just after lunch Alex phoned. He was at Strathbeg and was looking at a Green-winged Teal and a Garganey. He also told me that there was a Glossy Ibis around as well as the Cranes and a Ruff. So I went back to Strathbeg. At the Visitors Centre I was told that the Ruff had not been seen for sometime. So I went off to the Tower Pool Hide where Alex was watching the two ducks.
I found the Green-winged Teal quite quickly. It was telescope distance away so the photo isn't great.
The Garganey could not be found until a mixed flock of ducks, mostly Teal and Wigeon flew in. The flock contained the male Garganey. This time it was too far for even a bad photo. I think it is somewhere in this cropped photo.
I tried to get a 'closer' shot using a 2x converter but either they aren't very good or I cannot use them very well. The photos were all totally 'unsharp'
|Cranes taken with a 400mm lens and 2x converter|
The Bonaparte's Gull came to the front of the Visitors Centre so I called Brain knowing that he wanted it for his year list. He came and got it ticked. Birders were looking at Female Wigeon armpits to try and find the American it was seen early on in the day but not by me, Brian or Alex. Two Marsh harriers were quartering the reed beds, two Great White Egrets were seen, a Glaucous Gull was on the reserve and later on in the afternoon when I had gone home a Little Ringed Plover was discovered.
All in all a fantastic day to be at Strathbeg.
Total on list 159