Wednesday, 2 August 2017

I was asked why I hadn't done a blog recently

Someone asked me the other day why I had not done a blog for a few weeks.  I have to confess to being a bit flattered.  I didn't know my #My200BirdingYear would be missed.  
All the excuses I that sprang to mind seemed a little weak.  I had a cold at the beginning of July (no that was probably in June).  My sister and her partner visited ( not a good reason as we did some bird watching.  Jill's Buchan Birds and Beasts Studio was open to the public last week end and I was doing lots of work to help her prepare (not good enough - that week I saw a Green Sandpiper that was a new tick for the year list)
I think the real reason was that I had spent a lot of time going to places and not seeing the target bird (Green Sandpiper being the exception) so a blog would have been 'went there, didn't see a lot, came home' and quite boring.
So when I didn't have a cold at in the middle of the month I was going on my morning walks and seeing the usual sort of birds and wildlife 

Spotted Flycatcher


Female Bullfinch
Juv. Dunnock

When my sister visited we went to the Ythan and the Bullers of Buchan
Common Seal


Juv. Kittiwake
Arctic Tern
Sandwich Tern

During the month everyone seems to have been seeing Manx Sheerwaters off the coast so I have spent the odd half hour at Kinnaird Head looking out to sea through my telescope and not seeing any at all.  
The other bird I did not see in July was a Mediterranean Gull.  Word came out the Margaret had seen it at Cairnbulg Harbour.  I go there nearly every day when I go to get the daily paper and hadn't seen one.  I was making special trips to the harbour to find it on 'my patch'.  On one occasion it was to meet Margaret who had just seen it.  No luck no Gull.  Later it came through the internet that it had been seen just a couple of miles  (if that) down the coast at Inverallochy Golf Course.  I had a few more goes at finding the bird in both locations without success.  I gave up when a report came through that it had been sen at the Loch of Strathbeg Lagoon on the 27th.  No one has seen it since.  On one of the days I did get a good Arctic Skua photo
Arctic Skua
The other birding thing to report is that I found a few colour ringed birds at Cairnbulg.  One was a Sanderling - third bird from the left in this photo.


 I have reported the sighting and been told that it the white one with a little flag could be an American ring.  I haven't had any feedback yet.

I found two Black-headed Gulls with rings.  One was a juvenile the other an adult, with a long lens and a heavy crop it is possible to read the lettering on the ring. 
Ring on an Adult Black-headed Gull
I have had feedback:-
'This bird was ringed by Grampian RG as age at least 2 years, sex unknown on 17-Jul-2014 23:00:00 at Ythan Estuary, Newburgh, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, UK'

The one success has been the Green Sandpiper.  On 23rd (the same day I took the Arctic Skua photo) I got a message from Jimmy that there had been a 'possible' sighting of one at the Loch of Strathbeg.  When I got there the visitors centre was shut, I had to peep through the artistic screen to see what was on and around the Starnafin Pool.  Here is an image of the screen I took a long time ago.

Trying to find one of those cut-outs at the right height for a telescope is not easy.

Not long after I arrived Alex turned up.  He had got the same message from Jimmy.  It was staring to get gloomy.  A midst was coming down and we were not finding the Green Sandpiper.  From the scene there was one patch of ground that we could not see.  It would have been foolish if we had left and not tried to find a view point that covered that bit.  We did find such a place by skirting round the barn and trampling through the undergrowth to a fence that provided the vantage point we were looking for.  But the Green Sandpiper was not to be seen.  Visibility continued to deteriorate.  We were just on the point of calling it a 'lost cause' when Alex saw the bird fly into the very patch of ground we had moved to cover.  It was not there long enough for either of us to get a photograph.  It flew further away to one of the islands in the wet ground beyond Starnafin Pool.  That flight was enough to confirm that it was indeed the Green Sandpiper, its white rump and two tone body clearly visible.   Again it did not stop there long but flew even further away.  There it settled down and there we were able to get a photo albeit leaving a lot to be desired.

Green Sandpiper
 Alex and I were able to leave Starnafin with a bit of a smile on our faces.

As is the way of these things the following day several people went to Strathbeg to see the Green Sandpiper but were not successful.  And as id the way of such things over the next few days I saw the bird on three different days during my early morning walk round Lonmay.

Total on list 198


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