Thursday, 26 March 2009

Tail end of our Scottish adventure

Continuing our Scottish adventure, at Stairhaven Oystercatchers, Pied Wagtail & a Rock Pipit on the beach, a Grey Heron flew overhead to settle on the southside of the rocky bay.

Onto Portpatrick via Glenluce, in the harbour Cormorant & Guillemot. A cursory wander up to the cliffs overlooking the bay, Herring Gull, Great Black Backed Gull & Kittiwakes perched. Then off to the Crown on the harbour front for an early tea, through the window we witnessed Crows looting the condiment pot.

Following day, stopped off at Rockcliffe for tea & cake, sat in the tea garden & watched Chaffinch collect lichen for nesting material, whilst other Chaffinch, Dunnock & Robin hung around for crumbs but we were hungry and the cake was far too delicious.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Buzzard Bonanza

On our Dumfries & Galloway adventure, exploring the coastline, we stopped at Port William for provisions. Having driven this coastal road before we recalled observing birds soaring above the escarpment. Heading northwards on the A747, seawards we spotted Shellduck, Oystercatchers, Turnstones & Gulls & sure enough above the highland we caught sight of 2 Buzzards. That was pretty exciting, we're used to seeing the Red Kites around Leeds, so it was great to see the how different they are in terms of shape and in flight.

On another occasion, leaving New Abbey, approaching the bridge, a Buzzard descended onto the bridge side, just 3 metres from the car, obviously that was the one moment I didn't have my camera within reach. Anyway it flew off to sit in a nearby tree.

And no sooner had it settled, it was off.

On the way to Auchtenbrain 2 Buzzards perched on telephone posts, and once they spotted us they didn't hang around for long.

Our final Buzzard sighting on the way out of Rockcliffe, as the light was failing.

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Sunday, 22 March 2009

Pipits a plenty

At the Isle of Whithorn, situated on the southernmost tip of South West Scotland, Pipits hopped amongst the stoney outcrops. Pipits in pics 1,4 & 5 are Meadow Pipits 2,3,6 & 7 are Rock Pipits. Thanks to my Dad(City Birding) & Brian Bullough for help with identification.

Amongst the grassland, a couple of small cap & stem Fungi, the caps are roughly the size of a 5p piece.Down by the harbour, a couple of House Sparrows enjoyed the sunshine.

Galloway Goose Chase

Earlier in the week we spent a few days up in Galloway, South West Scotland. We stayed in a lovely B&B near Wigtown, Croft House, & despite a bad cold and camera malfunctions we made the best of fine weather to explore the beautiful coastline & observe the wildlife on the way. Huge numbers of geese overwinter in the area. Our first port of call was the hide at Wigtown Nature Reserve, an estuary with large areas of saltmarsh and mudflats where we saw 250+ geese, Barnacles & Pink Footed on the marshland, gradually moving in flocks to settle in neighbouring fields.

Later in the week, near to Mersehead RSPB we spotted over 500+ geese on the banks of the estuary, it was a misty morning so its not too clear but the area of dots between the waterline & treetops is in fact 150+ geese.
At the RSPB centre, flocks of geese take to the sky.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

What Kitey Did Next

Took a trip to Harewood to observe the Red Kites. They're huge birds, with a wingspan of 1.5m, a distinctive deeply forked tail, and are fascinating to watch. The Yorkshire Red Kite Project started at the Harewood Estate, 1999 - 2003, over which time 68 birds were released resulting in a total of over 400 young raised in Yorkshire.

More info about the Yorkshire Red Kites:

Between us we managed to get a few good pics, here you go.

Ive included the following 3 blurred pics because they tag is visible on the left wing (it looks reddish to me). Ive seen a list of tag colours somewhere that indicate when & where a bird was released so I'll check & get back with more info.

And just to show that its not all about the big birds, a Treecreeper on a conifer.

I'm especially interested in the Red Kites because a similar programme in the North East has led to everyday sightings around Rowlands Gill, where I grew up. My Auntie Ann & Uncle Lon regularly watch the Red Kites from their front room. And to top that, the local bus is now emblazoned with the Red Kite.

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