Saturday, August 26, 2006

One good tern deserves another

An enjoyable early autumn day today. First Black Tern of the year was a juvenile on the tideline this morning, with a juvenile Roseate sitting just a few yards away! Offshore a couple of manxies and a Bonxie (Great Skua) drifted past, while there was a couple of Greenshank and a smart Black-tailed Godwit in the burn near the car park.

Wader numbers are certainly building up, with 540 Oystercatcher, 460 Lapwing, 440 Curlew and 250 Grey Plover on the incoming tide this afternoon.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The wind terns westerly

Back to normality after the excitement of last weekend! Few small waders around today (although it was low tide), but numbers of Lapwings have built up to 650+ now. Helpful if the long-awaited Osprey should fly over...

Do I look nervous?

Offshore this morning, large numbers of terns , mainly Common & Arctic, feeding in a stiff westerly breeze; also distant glimpses of a couple of Arctic Skuas and Manx Shearwaters. Otherwise, not much else, but the next few weeks are often the most interesting of the year.

Or am I being overly optimistic?!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A little twitchy!

Went down the coast this morning, to the beautiful surroundings of Torness Nuclear Power Station to try to catch up with some of the stuff found yesterday. Wet & misty and a bit too many birders wandering about, but I did eventually get good views of Barred Warbler & Wryneck as well as a couple of Pied Flycatchers.

Then, back to the Reserve in a bid to try to get photos of yesterday's Broad-billed Sandpiper, which had been seen this morning. Sadly, it was not to be. The sight of 60+ birders wandering about all over the mudflats and saltmarsh perhaps scared it away. Try again tomorrow!

But, that's two days decent birding in a row. Wow!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Bird of the year!!!

Yesterday I got a report of a strange looking wader on the Reserve (I was at Edinburgh Zoo!), that sounded, from the description, interesting to say the least! Last night was dominated by easterly gales and pouring rain, so I was reasonably confident that it would still be around...

So at 9am I headed on out to look. Not a small wader in sight!

So I wandered off down the saltmarsh, at which point, a small dark wader with a call I hadn't heard before flew past and landed out of sight ahead of me. Looked promising! But then, as I approached, about 300m away, it flew off, accompanied by a small group of Dunlin & Ringos, and they headed out across the mudflats. Bugger!

So off I went, and spent 21/2 hours looking before being on the verge of giving up. A quick look at a small group of waders feeding on the tideline, and there it was. A rather nice juvenile Broad-billed Sandpiper!!! It was very flighty and a bit elusive at times, but fortunately, it hung around the reserve for the rest of the afternoon, allowing the arriving birders I'd informed to get decent views of it.

This is the first on the Reserve for 21 years, and a Lothian & Scotland lifer for me. So, a good day at last. Tomorrow, we'll see if it's still there, and I'll also try and catch up with some of the other goodies found down the coast today eg Wryneck & Icterine Warbler. Things are looking up, at last!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Got another one back...

After missing out on the best week of the year here, with being away in Majorca in May, I finally managed to catch up with a Wood Sandpiper, one of several decent birds that decided to appear in my absence!

This one was a little unexpected, not in timing, but in location. Rather than poking about in some muddy pool, this one was in with Sanderling and Dunlin on the mudflats, before it took off and flew about high overhead. 152 up! Also today, a Greenshank, a Whimbrel, 246 Grey Plover (many still in smart summer plumage), a young male Peregrine trying in vain to catch a Lapwing, and a nice dark-phase Arctic Skua chasing terns offshore. Not a bad day!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Moving house!!

First, let me apologise for being a bit quiet recently. I've just moved house and I hope you understand that things have been a little shambolic! I have managed to fit in a bit of birding, between packing/unpacking cardboard boxes, putting furniture together etc, but frankly, the standard of things seen hasn't really meritted much comment. The only recent highlight in fact has been a Green Woodpecker on the Reserve, the first I've seen here for about 8 years, bringing us up to a less than impressive 151 for the year.

Still, autumn migration is starting, wader numbers are increasing, and the weather is cooler, so there is hope that something might happen soon. Promise I'll be a bit more regular from now on!
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