Saturday, 23 November 2013

Harried Harris Hawk

Carrion Crows and CarrionxHooded hybrids hassling the Harris Hawk

A couple of brief trips to Seafield so far this weekend have produced a couple of interesting sightings. Yesterday an adult Mediterranean Gull was offshore with the Common Gulls at the outfall. Only a brief and distant sighting sadly. Today's unexpected bird was another view of the falconer's Harris Hawk on top of one of the buildings. The gulls seemed to be slightly worried. The corvids on the other hand were flocking in droves to get a good look at this tropical species.

CarrionxHooded Crow hybrid showing off its giveaway darker scapular and vent feathering. Taken on the 4 Nov - which clearly was a sunny day!
There were a couple of regular hybrid crows joining in this attempt at mass bullying. Earlier I had seen what could have been a pure hoodie over Duddingston but of course it is far more likely to have been a hybrid. Here is a nearly-pure Hooded Crow hybrid on Seafield shore earlier in the month.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

River Otter off Musselburgh

I arrived at Musselburgh sea wall today just at the right time today. Another observer had just found an Otter offshore. We scoped it as it headed in the general direction towards Fisherrow Harbour. Distant views for me - but enough to get good looks at its head tail and body out of the water each time it surfaced and dived. We rushed around towards the harbour by car but sadly could not relocate it.

My best River Otter sighting of the year is shown above - an amazing, prolonged close view of an individual feeding at very close range in a river in Andalucia in July. A few minutes later I also saw my first ever Black Stork!

Steel grey Scandinavian Herring Gull

I can't be sure without a colour ring, but I think that this Herring Gull has crossed the North Sea for its winter break in Musselburgh. The steel-like grey upperpart tone combined with reduced black in their outer primaries are pointers to the identification of Scandinavian Herring Gulls. Another bird at Seafield this morning was darker grey and had thayeri-like wingtip pattern - that's a classic combination for a northern argentatus. This one is slightly trickier on both counts, so maybe its origins are slightly less far north?