Well… It’s been a while, but hopefully the gift of a new laptop will get me back blogging more frequently as it’s much easier than doing it on my phone, and the browser on our desktop is so old…
You’ve missed a lot over the past however-many months, so I’ll try to briefly summarise it all!
Going back… at least a month, I’d just added Tawny Owl to my year list with that nestling that I found on the ground (check previous post). The next year tick I got was also a lifer and a patch tick! I knew that Lesser Whitethroats were known to be on my patch but I’d never heard or seen one myself. Then, one day when I took a strange route home I heard one. But didn’t see it… Until the next day when it flitted up from the gorse for me. A good tick! But no pic…
Next up was Razorbill and Kittiwake, both seen off the seawall at Musselburgh. The two Razorbills were quite close in actually, and I caught up with the two Kittiwakes at the River Esk Mouth later on 🙂
Those were both lifers too, whereas Shag wasn’t, but it was an easy year tick which had been a bit of a glaring omission until then.
More seaside birds now, waders this time. And also my first successful twitch (that damned Wryneck at Barns Ness lived up to it’s reputation). I first knew of the two birds when James tweeted me and Geoff Morgan (morgithology) to say they were there. Luckily Geoff offered to give me a lift and we got there in time to see two Red-necked Phalaropes at Musselburgh. They stuck around for a bit and then flew off east. Really nice birds, and quite special to have two show up at once.
More seabirds!!! Finally managed to see Puffins with James, thanks to somebody I met at Musselburgh on the day I added Kittiwake and Razorbill, who said to go to Yellowcraig CP and have a look out to Fidra. Not cracking views but certainly Puffins!
An unexpected lifer also from that day at Yellowcraig. And quite a funny story to go with it!
We (James and I) were wandering back up the beach after successfully adding Puffin to both our lists (yes, both of us) and discussing what our next bogey bird should be. I mentioned Grasshopper Warbler, and James pointed out that they will be pretty tricky to find now as they wont be singing much. I agreed and had another think about what we could go looking for. My thoughts were interrupted by a sound, a sort of high-pitched humming, a reeling sound maybe… “Is it just me or can I hear one now?” I asked James, who sort of hesitantly nodded. I wasn’t sure if it was a pram ahead that I was hearing, but nope. It was a Grasshopper Warbler reeling just next to the path on to the beach giving brilliant views. Probably one of my best birding stories. No pics though as it made a hasty retreat into the Marram Grass.
Next lifer came a week later out in some woodland near Gladhouse Reservoir. This woodland had already produced breeding Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher and Great Spotted Woodpecker, and it was the right time of year for… CUCKOOS! Got three of them at the end of the woodland, and then had a further 2 flyovers on that day. 5 Cuckoos in a day and I’d never seen one before?!
So, that was a nice lifer/year tick for that day… but that wasn’t it… As I walked back down the road towards Gladhouse Reservoir to check up on a local pair of raptors, a Goldfinch landed on the telephone wire by the road. I got my bins on it and as soon a I did that I realised it wasn’t a Goldfinch, it was in fact my first Whinchat. How easy was that? Another two showed well further down the road.
And now on to this past weekend… Another lifer! This time in some coniferous woodland near Gladhouse, which I now call Redpoll Woods, as that is what I ticked in there (Lesser Redpoll) with James whilst looking for Crossbills, which also showed up as well! So that was 2 year ticks, and a Jay flew past the woodland and disappeared into the thick Douglas-firs, Larches, Norway Spruces and Sitka Spruces. So that was 3 year ticks in one woodland! Think I’ll be revisiting Redpoll Woods…
And now finally we’re on to yesterday. Guess what? Another 2 lifers! Waders this time. James took me out to Kinneil in Upper Forth, just by Grangemouth. We were sort of hoping for Reed Warbler but that didn’t show. However, the Black-tailed Godwits did and that was an easy tick. Lots of them snoozing on one of the shallow lagoons, but my camera didn’t like them so all my photos of them are terrible.
But before seeing the BTGs, just about the third bird I looked at I said, “Is that a Whimbrel?” And sure enough it was. Obvious lateral crown stripes and median crown stripe and bill was the correct length. Nice.
And that’s it so far this year. I’m on 128 for my year list and 143 for my life list, according to my written list, which should be correct!
Plenty more done and seen over the past month or so but I really couldn’t post it all on here. I’ll do a post on some special cones I got sent to add to my cone collection, which I am very grateful for! Just need to go and take pictures of all of them first… I’ll post that in a bit!
Oh and just before I go… I also life ticked Long-eared Owl in Lothian at an undisclosed location, for obvious reasons!