Showing posts from February, 2008

Lothian Coast

I'd arranged to meet up with an old birding friend, John Gilligan, who'd moved back up to Scotland having spent many years in Accrington. We met at his new home of South Queensferry and decided to head off to the coast south of Dunbar and work our way back,
First stop was around Torness Power Station - nothing there out of the ordinary - in fact the wind was keeping everything low. There were Rock Pipits, Stonechats and Skylarks in the fields as well as the usual wadres on the beach and Red-brested Mergansers on the sea.
We then made our way to Tyninghame where a Woodlark had been reported. We parked up and worked our way up the coast and fortunately met another birder (who'd been there for hours and not seen it) who knew where it had been reported from. We found a large flock of Linnets and Goldfinches as well as a few Skylarks. Then they all went up and a dumpy round-winged, short-tailed lark was in the air with the Skylarks - Woodlark - splendid. We got another prolonged …

Windy Glasgow

The weather has turned a little more inclement and family stuff has restriced the birding. I managed to get out to West Ferry and Balgray Reservoir but there was nothing unusual at either site - just very windy.

Today I got out in the morning to have a look at the Bean Geese near Slammanan - I found them OK but the rain was horizontal and I nearly got blown to Edinburgh! I eventually managed to find a track which afforded some shelter though still some considerable distance from the geese. However I was happy with th eviews of them (and a few pink-feet). Then it was off to Grangemouth to look for the Spotted Sandpiper - bad timing as the tide was out. Still lots of Redshank, a few Dunlin, one greenshank and two Scaup. I jacked it in as the next rain-shower threatened as I promised to go into Glasgow with the family.

Turnberry Point

Turnberry Lighthouse is just about the best place on this stretch of the Ayrshire coast for seabirds and, on a clear day, has some fantastic views. Yet another fine day meant a very crisp start - I checked Girvan harbour on the way and saw a female scaup with the usual crew. At Turnberry, the yellowhammers were singing (something I really miss in Lancashire now) as well as Chaffinches, Dunnocks and Wrens.
I parked the car and walked up the lighthouse road. As I reached the lighthouse (not a golfer in sight!) I was immediately drawn to a large blob on the sea - a lovely Great Northern Diver. this was accoumpanied by a few red-throats, red-breasted mergansers and goldeneye. A couple of Guillemots landed on the sea and a razorbill flew past.
Then I picked up some activity on the sea behind the divers - three Little auks whirred around!
A couple of Gannets passed overhead as did a few more guillemots and then a line of Puffins lead by another Little Auk flew south at about half a mile distan…

Loch Ryan 18th Feb

I called in at Lendalfoot en-route to Loch Ryan to chalk up red and black-throated divers again and then on to Ballantrae. There was nothing unusual there so I continued onto Loch Ryan stopping off at Cairnryan initially.

The weather was fine and sunny again and it was high tide. The south end of the loch was covered in birds. Hundreds of Scaup and Goldeneye, several Slavonian Grebes, three Black Guillemots and lots of gulls and waders.
In amongst the gulls there was an immature Iceland Gull.
Later on we visited Culzean - ravens were displaying overhead and Fulmars zoomed around the cliffs below the castle.

Girvan 17th Feb

We're up in Girvan for a week over half term - time to get some good winter birding in. The weather has been beautiful but very cold so I was wrapped up well as I saw in the dawn at Grivan harbour. The usual suspects were around - several eider, red-breasted merganser, goldeneye and a few gulls. Not much in the way of waders except for the usual turnstone, redshanks and ringed plovers.
Off the end of breakwater I picked up a group of Red-throated Divers one of which was calling! A single, early Gannet flew over but otherwise it was rather quiet.

On to Maidens and nice views of Rock Pipits, two of which were having a bit of a territorial dispute. There was a good selection of birds here, a couple of hundred Golden Plover on the beach were flushed before I could complete a scan of them and seven pale-bellied Brent Geese were on the far side of the bay.

Later on that day I visited Lendalfoot to search through the gull roost. There were no unusual gulls there but seven red-throated diver…

It's about time I uploaded something!

After a busy year in 2007 I think it's time to add something to the blog I started before my Peruvian trip in 2006. So let's start with some lovely local birds.
East Lancashire has certainly done well for Great Grey Shrikes this winter and though I've not manageed to get any images, I've at least managed to see all three! A Slavonian Grebe has taken up residence on nearby Barrow Lodge, making a nice diversion on the way to Clitheroe.
I've started on the BTO survey work for the new nationwide Atlas (if you're a birder, you really should do at least one tetrad a year). Local Dippers and Kingfishers were certainly a highlight as well as the good numbers of Siskins this winter.My garden has certainly been attracting all sorts of finches - Chaffich, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Bullfinch (up to 4), Siskin, Redpoll but still no sign of adding that elusive Brambling to the garden list. Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Jays visit daily as do the local Sparrowhawks.A trip to Burnl…