Easter break

Another quick trip to visit friends and family in Ayrshire this weekend. Before we left, there were new Lesser Redpolls on the feeders - several males compared to mainly females and juveniles previously.

The trip up was uneventful - dipped the White Stork at Sawley (probably one of the Harewood birds anyway) but the diversion meant that we escaped a two hour delay on the M6. Girvan was beautifully sunny and spring-like when we arrived and, though there was a cool breeze on Sunday, we managed to successfully tidy up the garden. At Maidens, the six Pale-bellied Brents were still in the harbour but not much else out of the ordinary. Even out to sea today and yesterday, there's just been a few sea-birds. Guillemots, Razorbills and Gannets are just offshore from the house and I had a couple of Black Guillemots from the harbour wall this morning. A single Great Northern Diver was in Woodlands Bay. There's not been much migrant activity - just a few loose parties of Meadow Pipits heading north.

The rain was very heavy last night and the rivers are extremely swollen. We took a trip over to friends at Newton Stewart driving alongside the Rivers Stinchar and Cree both of which were threatening to spill over. A flock of around 80 Siskins in the trees outside our friends house was a nice sight (and sound).
The rain had abated by the time we got back to Girvan but the wind was strengthening so I just had to go to Turnberry Point for an hour or so's sea-watching. There were plenty of auks offshore - mainly Razorbills including the ones above being tossed in the breakers.

I got queasy just watching a fishing boat as it fought the swell, pitching side to side but my thought for the unfortunate incumbents were cut short as a few Manx Shearwaters zipped by. It always amazes me to see them fly (nearly) as quickly into the wind as with it behind them. There weren't all that many Gannets though but a few Fulmars and Kittiwakes at around two miles distance, joined the Shearwaters. Also seen were a couple of Black Guillemots, single Red-throated and Great Northern Divers (both attaining some summer plumage) and several Eider.

Gannet against a raging sea
A couple of Swallows hawked over Turnberry pool but I was really pleased to see a pair of Grey Partridges nearby. However there was no sign of any other migrants - everything was keeping its head down in the gale force winds.

Turnberry Lighthouse


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