Monday, 10 September 2012

Fin Whale at Cape Cod

After yesterday's Long-finned Pilot Whales off East Lothian, I thought I would post some pictures of the biggest animal that I have seen to date - an incredibly impressive Fin Whale seen at near touching distance on a whale watching trip from P-town, Cape Cod. This animal literally brought tears to my eyes such was the excitement of this unexpected close encounter. One of those real highlight moments that occur occasionally in many years of wildlife watching.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Pilot Whales in the Forth

The first twitch I have been on this autumn was for mammals rather than birds. The remnants of the pod of Pilot Whales that had made the news recently by beaching in Fife last weekend had spent the week in the Forth - swimming so far West that it seemed likely that none of the group would survive. Luckily they had turned East and managed to get out past the bridges again.

This morning news broke that they were off Cockenzie harbour, so with little delay mum and I headed down to find several others already watching them. We enjoyed prolonged distant views, and managed to count at least 15, although apparently there are 20 in the group. Clearly a variety of different sizes in the pod, it was not clear whether the animals were feeding but at one point they appeared to be circling a buoy for a while. Not a new species for me after seeing a large group off Porthgwara in Cornwall about 20 years ago, this is the first time I have seen them and known what I was looking at at the time...

The round head and very low blow are visible on the animal on the right. The dorsal fins show quite a lot of variation, some clearly longer and more stepped at the front than this individual.

It was nice to bump into Stephen as well - his local patch is having a really god run at the moment.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Piping Plovers

I haven't had the time to go birding recently with work and other commitments filling my time. I did manage an hour in the garden today and enjoyed lifting the year's crop of onions in the sun. As I had finished brushing the soil from the last a piping 'clooee' call from above drew my eye to a Ringed Plover flying S strongly overhead. It veered toward Alnwickhill, but now the water treatment works is dry there was little hope it was going to pitch down there.  This is the 78th species on the garden list but only the fourth wader (Curlew, Snipe, Whimbrel and Ringed Plover) - Lapwing is long overdue!

The photographs here are not of that species, but of Piping Plovers photographed at Cape Cod earlier in the summer.