Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Pine Marten, Kindrogan, June 2013

I had never really considered that good daytime views of Pine Marten were a possibility, but I was lucky enough to experience them this week. I was on a work trip to Kindrogan Field Studies Centre in Perthshire, and had already enjoyed some evening views of a Marten coming to peanuts at around 9pm. This was exciting enough and the views in the dusky simmer dim were the best that I assumed I would get.

Not so the following afternoon when I was tipped off that cat-like noises had been coming from the scrub and Pine Marten was considered a possibility. When I followed this up I could hear noises that sounded like aggressive calls coming from one of the spruce plantations. I went in and found two Pine Martens leaping around in the upper branches of the tall trees. Looking like dark oversized squirrels they could move nimbly along surprisingly thin branches and would occasionally make a leap from one branch to that of a neighbouring tree.

They did not seem to be overly concerned about my presence far below at ground level and I enjoyed over 30 minutes of entertainment. After securing a couple of record shots I returned to the centre and after a coffee with colleagues we headed back to the site. Despite the odds the Pine Martens were still there and showed well moving from tree to tree, up and down trunks and even close by on the ground very briefly. Despite this I managed no decent photographs other than those shown here - the habitat, light levels and animals movements all combined to make photography difficult - not that I am bothered!...

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Aerial interaction between Red-footed Falcon and Hobby

Red-footed Falcon (bottom left) and Hobby (top right)
Not great shots, but a record of a brief spat between the 2cy Red-footed Falcon and a Hobby at Ouse Fen on Sunday.

Compared with the Red-foot, the Hobby on the right shows longer wings and more rounded tail
Another Hobby overhead later in the morning. Massively long outmost primaries give the wings this classic silhouette.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Red-footed Falcon, Ouse Fen, 9 June 2013

A family wedding in Cambridge gave a great opportunity to stay chez Richard B and family this weekend. Rich had told me that his local patch, Ouse Fen, was good, but I still was not really expecting a female Red-footed Falcon - a species I hadn't seen since the Blacktoft Sands bird of 1987 (on the same day that I first met Richard B...).

I was very pleased that today's bird was much more cooperative than the one 26 years ago and made frequent sallies over our heads. Thanks Rich et al... yes, these are the best shots...

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Ne'er cast a clout 'til May is out

Unless you are a Gadwall that is... This male, one of two drakes at Duddingston Loch on 27 May was already beginning its moult out of its smart breeding plumage into its more dowdy eclipse plumage. Certainly the weather since then seems to have been distinctly summer-like, so maybe it had the right idea.

Note the fine comb like structre at the side of the beak - presumably a filter for dabbling.

Monday, 3 June 2013

White-winged gulls in Orkney and Edinburgh, May 2013

Some great gulling last month with three different white-wingers...

Adult summer Glaucous Gull (on right), Egilsay, 16 May 2013 (with 3cy Herring Gull)

Third calendar year Iceland Gull (on right), Westray, 22 May 2013 (with adult Great Black-backed Gull, Hooded Crow and adult Herring Gull)
Adult type feathers in the back of this 3CY Iceland Gull more obvious in this shot

Isabel dilution mutant Herring Gull (centre), Seafield, Edinburgh, 29 May 2013 (with Herring Gulls)