Sunday, 7 May 2017

Jimmy's Lucky 'Scope

Yesterday I took the opportunity to follow up on reports of a Spotted Redshank on the Ythan and went to have a look for myself.  When I got there three birders were just leaving.  One of them, Jimmy told me how to get close'ish to the bird.  And that was just as well because to reports description of its location was a little vague and I would have gone to the wrong place.  A bit like the hunt for the Great Grey Shrike (see the post 'Third or forth Time Lucky' on 4th March).

But this time I found the bird on my first attempt.  It was with Redshanks and was a good opportunity to see the differences not just in plumage but in overall shape and looks.  The Spotted Redshank was a longer legged bird more elegant in its behaviour but not a elegant as the Greenshank I saw latter that day from Waulkmill hide.
Spotted Redshank

Spotted Redshank in front of  Redshank.

The other observation of note was the presence of a flock of Pink-footed Geese.  I haven't seen any on my morning walks for a week or so and had presumed that they had all flown of to their Iceland breeding grounds.

Today, despite the strong North-Westerly wind to look for Divers in the Moray Firth.  Last month a boat trip to look for divers had been cancelled because of the weather and other trips along the coast had not been successful.  However the 'divers off the coast season is nearly at an end and they won't stay around waiting for me to see them on a calm day.  My first stop was at Portsoy.  A White-billed Diver had been been there yesterday.  Portsoy has a lovely little fishing harbour and holiday destination famous locally for its Ice Cream and which every year has tens of thousands of visitors flocking to the Boat Festival (24th and 25th June this year).

Portsoy Harbour

Portsoy Harbour
Today it was cold and windy.  I could not find a place of shelter that looked out over the sea.  After fifteen minutes of not seeing any birds I gave up the sea watching and took photos of the harbour that Jill had asked for.

The other report of a White-billed Diver that came in yesterday was from Cullen, a larger fishing and holiday town further along the coast famous for its fish soup, Cullen Skink.  In the village centre I met Jimmy a birder who was frustrated last year because his year list stood at 239 all December and he could not get it to the 240 mark.  Anyway we had a chat, a cup of coffee and he lent me his Optricon telescope to look for the divers off shore.  Jimmy's 'scope is a lot better than mine I was able to find Great Norther Divers and Black-throated Divers with Jimmy's scope mine didn't find anything at Portsoy.  Maybe if I had borrowed someones even more expensive 'scope I would have found a White-billed Diver as well.  I didn't so that will have to wait for another day when its calmer and brighter and in the not too distant future because they will be leaving soon.  The birds were a long way out to sea and a telescope was essential.  I could not even see a bird through the camera view finder.  I did take some general pot luck shots of the sea to see if they showed anything when zoomed in on the computer.  This is all I got. A pair of Eider and a something!


Pair of Eider
My big surprise of the trip was a Red-legged Partridge in the middle of Cullen as I went back to Jimmy's to return his 'scope. (It was so good that yesterday, even before I had tried out Jimmy's I ordered one, and a tripod to go with it.  It should arrive by the end of the week.)

Why did the Partridge Cross the Road?

Only the Partridge Knows

Total on list 172

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