Saturday, 31 March 2012

Snow Bunting and Fulmar: 2 garden ticks today!

Full of the cold, I decided to spend the morning in bed and then spend the afternoon on 'light duties' in the garden. I was expecting some raptors, and sure enough Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and even Peregrine obliged (I missed the Osprey that may have passed over en route to Duddingston today). I was not expecting to extend the garden list, last added to in August with a nocturnal fly-over Whimbrel, although it would be fair to say that there is always hope.

As it happens it was double whammy today, with flyover Snow Bunting and Fulmar (species nos 76 and 77).

The former was ID'd on call only - despite searching I couldn't pick it/them up as they passed over North.

The latter passed over fairly low while I was 'resting' with my eyes fixed upwards - it took a few moments to realise that the funny Fulmar-like gull was in fact a Fulmar! The quick record shot has to rank as one of the worst Fulmar pics ever loaded onto the web I would guess. I think that my excitement has reduced the image to a blur, which is surprising given that this was possibly one of the most-likely additions to the garden list (the Crags are not too far away - I had even considered trying for those birds through the scope from the garden at some point - something that will not be required now...).

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Escaped Eastern Rosella

A colleague told me that his neighbour had photographed a parrot in his garden in Swanston, Edinburgh, yesterday. I was keen to see the pics and here they are. Looks like an Eastern Rosella to me, although I have no experience of these antipodean beauties, so maybe someone else will correct me if I am wrong.

It would be a nice surprise to see one of these in Edinburgh, although I would imagine that the owner might not share that thought. And maybe the bird wouldn't be too pleased about its new circumstances depending upon how conditioned it was to cage or aviary life.

I suppose that escaped parrots are seen every year or so in Edinburgh. I have managed to see a couple of Cockateils in Edinburgh over the years although neither has hung around for long - especially the one that was sitting on my window ledge one morning when I opened the curtains... Below is a composite image of one that I saw at Musselburgh heading North across the Forth in August 2010.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Spring has arrived

A Chiffchaff was singing in the back garden first thing yesterday morning. Maybe the haar was so thick it couldn't really tell where it was but it moved on pretty sharpish!

Today was beautifully sunny and I spent some time in the garden in the afternoon. It has been all work recently but even still I felt a little guilty lying down for a spot of skywatching. Hoping for an early Osprey or a white-winged gull but not really expecting to see anything of note I hadn't even bothered to fetch the camera. Of course I wish I had now as a cracking Merlin motored north at about 5:30pm. The third I've seen from the garden, this one flew North along a route that was an almost perfect repeat of the bird I saw in equally hot and clear weather on 10 April 2011 - I wonder if it was the same bird? A great sighting and really makes up for the absence of Lothian birding for me over the last few weeks.

Only other recent notable sightings were on a work trip up to the Glenshee area last weekend. Some fantastic white Ptarmigan moulting into their summer plumage along with plenty of Mountain Hares, looking similarly out of place.