Thursday, 28 March 2013

Lesser Black-backed Gull aggression

These two Lesser Black-backed Gulls were fighting this morning on St Margaret's Loch in Edinburgh. Preceded by some very noisy calling and bowing movements this aggression is not uncommon for this species.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Waxwings bring sunshine and a smile

Happy waxwings today in Liberton
While we have not had the terrible weather experienced by other parts of the country over the last few weeks it was still a bit of a shock to see some blue sky and sun. And what could be better than a flock of 20 Waxwings from the car on the way to work in the morning, than a flock of nine in the back garden when I got home. Once again I have some shots of them sitting in the top of the neighbour's birch tree at the end of the garden.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Little Gull off Seafield

I have seen Little Gulls off Seafield a couple of times before at this time of year, but they have always been out at the sewage outfall a mile offshore. This morning, with the strong onshore winds whipping the spray over the seawall, there was one close in feeding with the Black-headed Gulls in the surf. Sadly it did not stay long but headed East along the coast battling against the wind.

A real beauty in my opinion... with a nice rosy tint coming through on the breast.

The initial view - the Little Gull being smaller, and flickering in flight with pale upperparts and dark underwings.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Yellowish-legged Herring Gull

Gull highlights at Seafield today were at least a dozen Kittiwakes feeding off the outfall, a lovely rosy pink Black-headed Gull, and a yellowish-legged Herring Gull. The latter was close by as I sheltered in my car from a downpour so I took the opportunity to get a few shots.

The yellowish legs seemed considerably more vivid in real life than in some of these shots. The comparative shots show that the yellow tint is nothing like the colour of the legs of a Lesser Black-backed Gull but look really quite yellow when alongside a more typical pink-legged Herring Gull.
Whether this bird is from the yellow-legged population of Herring Gulls in the Baltic is unknown.

The flight shot shows that this bird has a complete black band on P6, but an unmarked P5.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Back garden Bramblings

Male Brambling with Goldfinch through the double glazing
A trip down to the coast was cut short due to the cold persistent rain this morning. While I had noted a male Gadwall and single Goosander at Figgate, I was unable to find anything unusual at Seafield so I headed home for coffee and brunch. Birding through the window turned out to be a better option and I was pleased to see that 4 Bramblings were still hanging on in amongst the other finches coming to the feeders. Great birds anywhere, but particularly pleasing just outside my back door!

Female Chaffinch (l) and Brambling (r) on the lawn

Sunday, 3 March 2013

High Dip for Hedwig

Ptarmigan thinking it can hide
Well after my run of form (err, popping along the A1 to peek at Common Crane and Egyptian Goose) I was clearly feeling a little overconfident! Tempted by the chance of a lifer Snowy Owl in stunning winter scenery I headed up the A9 early to try to maximise time up in the 'tick zone'. No easy trip this, 8 hours of walking in outstanding (but fairly invisible, as it turned out) scenery, with the added bonus of the excitement of ensuring personal survival on the Ben Macdui plateau as well. Full winter kit, crampons, map, compass, all proved essential - in fact navigating off the plateau had to be done in zero visibility - great for brushing up on winter skills - not great for spotting a white owl in cloud on a snow blanket! Think the tops may have cleared just as I was descending...

ex-Ptarmigan... only signs I saw of a Snowy Owl on Ben Macdui today (assuming that's what killed it?...)
Looking forward to connecting with Snowy Owl sometime soon...