Sunday, 31 August 2014

Ruffed up in Motherwell

I had the most epic day at Baron's Haugh last week. We'd headed out to Motherwell to have a shot at ringing the second year red breasted goose that has been kicking around - but no dice. So we decided to nip five minutes up the road to see if it was at Carburns.

Parking at the RSPB reserve, I did my usual routine of pestering the first person with bins for info. No sign of the goose at Carburns, but the little reserve was hoaching! Along with the usual wildfowl and waders there were 2 ruff, a reeve, 5 black tailed godwit, 2 juvenile rail, 1 knot, 3 green sandpipers, a kingfisher, a dunlin, and about 3 goldcrest. If that's not a sign autumn's on the way, I don't know what is! Enjoy the snaps (the second one is my favourite)!

Black Tailed Godwit

Rail, Knot, Ruff, Green Sand.... YAY!

Sneaka, sneaka, sneaka... Can't see me...


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

New bird for my Cumbrae list!

Got back to the island yesterday after the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress in Glasgow. Pulled onto the drive, at three, unpacked the food shopping, and slept for 16 hours. When I finally woke this morning, I debated sleeping for another 16, but it was sunny. I decided to get out with the camera and headed through Millport, stopping for a coffee at Phil and Fionna's then hit the coast.

There was the biggest flock of linnets I'd seen this year, just shy of 25, feeding in the meadow by the sewage works. They were thoroughly flighty, but I stuck it out; however just as they settled at a decent distance, they were flushed by another birder, visiting the island for the day. I gave up and moved down the shore, the westerly wind bringing the gannets and manxies in close. The sun had brought the butterflies out, and stunning, fresh peacocks were everywhere.

Feeding peacock

As I got to the point, I could see a mix of waders on the exposed mud. It was a struggle not to flush them from the path on the bank, however, I managed to hunker down behind an eroded granite wall.

There was the usual mob of waders, gulls and eclipse eider hanging around. I heard a whimbrel, but couldn't find it amongst the boulders. I didn't dare move from such a prime blind, so I spent my time playing with camera settings, snapping the dunlin feeding in the pools on the upper shore. When I finally did leave, half the flock left with me, wheeling round to the south. I headed back toward the road.

This was one of two really confiding juv dunlin

Left or right? Left is a 3 hour walk, right is 30 mins....

Left. Diving gannets, willow warbler, buzza---no... osprey! Leaving the reservoirs with a fish slung low; making a determined path for Bute. It called once as it flew, and was soon a speck in the distance.

This was the first osprey I'd seen on island. I decided to take it as a win, turned back, and headed for home!

I believe this is one of the trout stocked at the ponds....