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Mfuwe's Year.

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Now back to the Highlands for a final week in the Great Glen where sadly the weather persisted in putting a dampener on matters at regular intervals. Perhaps we could award marks for photos showing blue sky? It certainly affected our seeking out some rare (to me) Butterflies and Dragonflies. However we did get yet another breeding rarity in the bird world so life can still spring some pleasant surprises and I still had a mountain to climb for that elusive target species as that EBC just won't cut it for me.

Speaking of which:-



133. Greenshank. The best I could do. Loch Sunart.



00. Ringed Plover chicks. don't count but who can ignore them?



00. Another no score but a breeding pair of Black-throated Diver was not to be ignored. There is a chick.

OK. Back to the scoring birds.



134. Dipper. River Garry. It was just as wet outside the river as in.



135. Goosander (f) River Lochy.



136. Eider. One of her 5 ducklings at her feet. Rhum. That IS blue sky reflecting on the loch.


137. Common Scoter. There are less than 50  pairs breeding in Scotland. Two pairs on this Loch.



138. Grey Heron. Ballachulish Quarry.



139. Ptarmigan (f) Now I can count it. One down one to go.




140. Snow Bunting. Right on the top at 4,084 feet. We found it perched on the weather station. I have seen many in winter but never in his breeding plumage and this was the purpose of my exercise. Note the grey sky but it is still one heck of a view!



141. Pied Wagtail. (f) Technically now "White Wagtail" as our Black and White bird (yarelli )is deemed just a race. Appin.



142. Red-breasted Merganser. and family. Appin.

That rounds of Scotland for now but we still have a long drive home.


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In a break from the norm I am going to present my offerings in more or less A-Z order of family. This is because I grouped them thus in order to select the 'best', not the first seen, having to wade t

I have been quiet, too quiet some may say but whilst awaiting some autumn and winter visitors I went south.   I had programmed my Garmin to find birds and this is what "Gladys" came up with:

So now we leave Kwando and head for the Okavango and the lovely Mahango NP where we will seek Roan and Sable Antelope plus usal mammals and a few special birds. After swift progress and booking i

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Wildcat ?    @Galana now I really am jealous!!!   We have been lucky enough to see Pine Martens,once in daylight, and of course stayed at cottages where they come and visit in return for peanut butter, jam eggs and even, just in the interests of research, a Mr Kiplings fruit pie, But never have we seen Wildcats. The pine martens would take the eggs away and we would find the shells about a quarter of a mile away over heathery moorland in Wester Ross -they can have a big territory. the Red necked pharolope and Snow buntings in summer plumage are very fine

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Well done with the Ptarmigan and the Snow Bunting - beautiful.

The merganser with chicks is also lovely!

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@TonyQ Thanks. It was certainly a case of if at first you don't succeed......(I missed the male Ptarmigan as I was so engrossed in having my fill with the Bunting that I missed my wife pointing madly and only just got the female.Phew).


@Towlersonsafari Beware. Pine Martens are on the march and may be closer than you think. Recent records in West Midlands and North Yorks. Do you follow/support the Vinson Trust.  Morvern and Ardnamuchan is wildcat central. The whole area has been 'sanitised' and feral hybrids neutered to maintain purity. Where I stay in Morvern has suspected true Wildcats coming for Sardine sarnies and the owners "do not encourage Martens!" That does not stop them and I have had several 'moments' with them. Not boasting but how about one coming and putting its paws up on my knee and making eye contact as I sat reading in the sun? Then lay down under my bench as I almost put my back out to get a photo before going to lie down under my car. Two years ago and I remember it as yesterday.

Last year my camera trap got a nice wildcat and this year I was even luckier and got a clear sighting in daylight but this is a Big Year for birders so I can say no more other than despite the rain we are booked in again next year.

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Oh no not boasting at all @Galana

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On the final run home we stayed overnight near Ken Dee marshes in Galloway in a Farmhouse B&B that had Red Kites and Buzzards overhead but my BIF shots are even worse than static ones.

However we called at RSPB Mersehead and RSPB Leighton Moss on the drive south and picked up a few extras:-



143. Yellow Hammer. Mersehead feeder.



00-61B. Greenfinch. Mersehead.



144. Reed Bunting. Mersehead.



145. Marsh Tit.  Leighton Moss.



146. Bullfinch. Leighton Moss.




147. Eurasian Nuthatch.   Leighton Moss.



148. Black-tailed Godwit. Leighton Moss.



149. Little Egret. Leighton Moss.




150. Pied Avocet with chicks. Leighton Moss.



00.124B. Sheldduck. Leighton Moss.

Finally to end with a teaser. Anybody care to tell me what kind of wader this is?




I did see Coots and Moorhens but won't use the photos yet in the hope I get better ones.


That's me home for a while but if anyone sees me out snapping at hum drum birds that I usually ignore you know who to blame!

Now where is that House Sparrow again?


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Finally to end with a teaser. Anybody care to tell me what kind of wader this is?


No idea - maybe a Knot? (Not that I have ever seen one...)

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@michael-ibk  Knot a Knot and I have seen them.  Anybody else?


Back home on my rock in the Irish sea and this thread has made me aware of how many local birds we tend to ignore so here are a few to partially bridge that gap.

It was a hot afternoon on Saturday so I went to the local bathing pool.



151. Linnets were cooling off.




152. Starlings too. these are juveniles of course.



153. Black-headed Gull. Now losing their 'black' heads for the winter.



154. Herring Gulls.




155. Greater Black-backed Gull.




00.72B. I know I saw these in Scotland but these are "mine" and I never can resist them.

Edited by Galana
Corrected spelling.
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Dave Williams

A trip report and Big Year rolled in to one. Great stuff and I'm motivated as a result,Scotland here I come.

Agree 100%, we tend to ignore what's on the doorstep and it's the lack of progress versus other ST contributors B.Y. 17 threads that galvanises us into action to go and look for some! 

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More than excellent sightings! Love the Snow Buntings. Is the teaser a Red Phalarope perhaps ?

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In the water ... it is a wader. Short bill ... a plover. Greyish legs ... Grey Plover juvenile. ???? 

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2 minutes ago, xelas said:

Grey Plover juvenile. ????

Sorry! Not a Grey Plover. good try. Photo taken in Lancashire, England!:rolleyes:

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Dave Williams

@Galana I think it's possibly a Ruff in transformation mode and which looks a lot different from those in breeding plumage.

Edited by Dave Williams
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3 hours ago, Dave Williams said:

I think it's possibly a Ruff in transformation mode

Sorry Dave. Knot a Ruff either. I would have thought you would have seen through this. It took me ages for the penny to drop which is why I wasted electrons on taking the photo in the first pace.


Now for some more catching up on locals yesterday,

First a 'no score' but fulfilled a promise earlier of a better photo.


00. European Blackbird. Juv.



156. House Sparrow. Not easy to find these days.



157. Feral Pigeon.  Columba livia feral .



158. Common Moorhen.




159. Eurasian Coot. Thirty years ago these were rare here but now plentiful.




160. Mallard. Eclipsed male. Or immature.




161. Mute Swan. That was my total for that pond.

Some local Corvids.



162. Rook.




163. Hooded Crow. (Western Race) I hope folks can see the blue skies of a normal day here!!




164. Eurasian Jackdaw.



165. Carrion Crow.  These do occur here in small numbers and hybridise with Hoodies. No idea why this photo should be blurred as it was bang to rights on the road. Might it be heat haze? Anyway EBC as I might not get another.


Still some locals to go but I think I may have missed the summer visitors such as Blackcap and House Martin and Swifts.  Auks are back at sea too.



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Dave Williams

@Galana Oops missed the obvious clue which was my other guess knot that it matters. The red fading away post breeding plumage was what caught the eye but as Ruff have been mentioned a few times I took a punt and like most of my punts. Wrong!

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Or just a juvenile Black-headed Gull.........

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49 minutes ago, PeterHG said:

Or just a juvenile Black-headed Gull

Got it at the 2nd try. Which was a heck of a lot quicker than three of us did in a hide at Leighton Moss despite being nearly deafened by many adult birds on a nearby nest site. Thanks to all the willing players.;)


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Dave Williams
On 10/08/2017 at 0:35 AM, Galana said:





I never feel shame about getting an ID wrong which is just as well with my limited knowledge, I don't claim to be anything of an expert however I do shout "Foul" on this one. My first thoughts were exactly Black-headed Gull but you had ruled that out by saying it was a wader.

In to the sin bin with you :D:D  and don't reappear until you have another entry to add to your Big Year :ph34r:

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Dave Williams
1 minute ago, Dave Williams said:

@Galana I never feel shame about getting an ID wrong which is just as well with my limited knowledge and frequent errors , I don't claim to be anything of an expert however I do shout "Foul" on this one. My first thoughts were exactly Black-headed Gull but you had ruled that out by saying it was a wader.

In to the sin bin with you :D:D  and don't reappear until you have another entry to add to your Big Year :ph34r:


B••••• messed that up too!

Edited by Dave Williams
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4 hours ago, Dave Williams said:

but you had ruled that out by saying it was a wader.

It was only a bit of fun Dave and it was wading. ^_^ No fowl but a bit off side so you can have a free kick.

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Dave Williams
1 hour ago, Galana said:

It was only a bit of fun Dave and it was wading. ^_^ No fowl but a bit off side so you can have a free kick.

That what's it's all about!

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One I overlooked from Scotland, two new ones today and an improvement on one I put up earlier.




00/69  Red-billed Chough.   Maughold Broughs. A place I can see from my lounge window.



166. Northern Shoveller.  North Uist.




167. Northern Raven. Maughold Head. IOM.




168. Rock Pipit.  Port Mooar. IOM.


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I thought I would be too late in the year for this but a pair have decided to raise a late brood on Mfuwe Towers which was kind of them.




169. Northern House Martin.


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