Jump to content

OK, let's see what turns up - BY 2021


Recommended Posts

Soukous
31 minutes ago, michael-ibk said:

It's a pity I was on holiday in Scotland before I became a Birder! 

 

well that is easily fixed - just go back again

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 486
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Soukous

    222

  • Galana

    81

  • PeterHG

    30

  • Kitsafari

    22

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

It seems like an age since I last posted here. Family obligations managed to eat up the last part of August and the first 10 days of September. What with a wedding in Germany and then recovering

One of the things that my research did turn up is that Gotland is one of the very best places to see White-tailed Eagles and Golden Eagles. Apparently there are 55 pairs of Golden Eagles and 45 pairs

Anyway, enough of that, time to get back on track with a very stuttering BY.   This next one is definitely a record for me. Not a record I particularly wanted but a record nonetheless.

Posted Images

Soukous

Having been 'allowed' onto the ferry it was now time ot go in search of Fred (@Galana) and Elizabeth. I had expected to see them in the car parking area before boarding the boat but as I was late I'd missed that opportunity.

Finding them right at the front of the boat in the observation lounge did not come as a surprise.

While Fred kept watch from the window I returned to the rear of the boat where I could be out on the open deck where I did not have to wear a mask.

There were a few seabirds about but most were a bit distant for decent photos.

 

I did get one addition though

 

# 114 - Great Skua (Bonxie) - Stercorarius skua

between Skye & North Uist. July 2021

 

Great Skua

 

Great Skua

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Soukous
Posted (edited)

Whereas Fred is a regular visitor to North Uist, this was my first time so I was full of anticipation. So much so that as soon as I'd taken my bags and food supplies into the cottage I set off to explore a bit.

N-Uist.jpg.c42640cdde7eac3bb62dd74b02014310.jpg

 

The 2 orange dots mark the places where I was staying and where Fred was staying. I was further north.

 

Needless to say, that after saying a temporary goodbye after we got off the ferry it was a dead cert that we would meet again, more than once, as we traversed the island in search of birds.

The violet dot marks RSPB Balranald, the best known of the RSPB sites on the island.

 

No new birds, but the first of what was to be many Short-eared Owls. North Uist is renowned for the number of Short-eared Owls on the island.

 

Short-eared Owl

 

Short-eared Owl

 

Edited by Soukous
Link to post
Share on other sites
Soukous
Posted (edited)

are we counting different variants?

 

if yes, then I'll add this Dunlin as it is a different variant to the one we get in the East of England. Ours come from Norway, whilst this one comes from Iceland

 

#115 Dunlin - Calidris alpina schinzii

Balranald, North Uist. July 2021

 

Dunlin

 

I could not believe the stink coming from the seaweed on many places along the coast. Worse than that, as I tried to inch a bit closer it was not as firm as it looked underfoot and my foot sank in up to the knee. I thought I might lose my shoe, but eventually pulled it - and the foot it was attached to - free.

Edited by Soukous
Link to post
Share on other sites
Kitsafari

wow stunning shots of the owl. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Soukous

One of the things you have to get used to on North Uist is that in summer it never gets properly dark, so, with light streamingin through the windows, I made an early start.

 

For me, the obvious place to start was Balranald, and when I arrived there was not a car in sight, so I drove past the visitor centre down to the beach, passing this on the way. Very Hitchcock.

 

tractor.jpg.32936a836828bb41dc03c553d5eed8e5.jpg

 

A couple of hours walking around brought me a couple of new species (maybe 3) - one is already posted above, the other was these Eiders. It seems that while the males stay out at sea to have fun the females come into more sheltered waters to rear their young.

 

#116 - Eider - Somateria mollissima

Balranald, North Uist. July 2021

 

Eiders

 

The Oystercatchers looked particularly striking against the sea and sand

Oystercatcher

 

But my best sighting of the morning came as I was leaving.

Just opposite the visitor centre is a field of wildflowers and as I drove past there were som every strange noises coming from amongst the flowers.

It took me a moment to realise that it was not my car that was making the noise but one of the islands most iconic species.

 

#117 - Corncrake - Crex crex

North Uist. July 2021

 

Corncrake

 

Corncrake

 

Corncrake

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
michael-ibk

Fantastic! Among the best Corncrake photos I've ever seen. While I've heard them a couple of times moving grass was my only visual of them. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Soukous
5 minutes ago, michael-ibk said:

Fantastic! Among the best Corncrake photos I've ever seen. While I've heard them a couple of times moving grass was my only visual of them. 

 

Too kind. I was very lucky to be there at the right time. :D

Link to post
Share on other sites
Dave Williams

The middle Corncrake is a stunner Martin.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
xelas

Absolutely mesmerizing photography from Scotland! And congratulationbs on reaching (and passing by) #100.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Galana

Another member now passed the 100 mark. Well done.

I have to agree on the Corncrake shots. Very hard to get all the bird in the same frame and so clear of weeds too.

We WERE a week or so late in the season and I share your views on avoiding being so late. both for the birds breeding, cover, and the great British Public enjoying 'the wilderness' of Aviemore High Street.

https://www.visitaviemore.com/activities/  Stir in the result of no 'foreign trips' due to covid and the result was overhelmingly missable. 

I was interested in your Slavonians keeping their horns retracted. This caused me confusion too.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Soukous
8 hours ago, Galana said:

I was interested in your Slavonians keeping their horns retracted. This caused me confusion too.

 

Yes, disappointing from a photographic point of view. A local bird guide told me that it is because in order to reduce their buoyancy and be able to dive for longer they tightly compress their feathers, which hides the horns.

He also said that Slavonian Grebes 'eat' their own feathers which then act as a filter against swallowing fish bones. I don't think he was winding me up.

Link to post
Share on other sites
TonyQ

A brilliant Corncrake sighting, and superb photos.

Great Owl photos as well!

I think Great Crested Grebes also eat feathers. I read that they help keep bones in the stomach longer so that they are digested by the stomach acid. (But this was just a theory!)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Soukous

One of the big problems I have when I get somewhere new is that I want to explore everywhere - so that means driving down every road and track, just to see what is at the end.

It does mean I travel far more miles than I need to, and many of those places are "seen it twice - first time and last time" - but it helps me get a feel for the geography.

So, while others were content to sit and wait for the Corncrake to reappear I went in search of something new.

I'd been told that Loch Euphort was a place I might see some eagles, so I went for a look.

No eagles, but I did find this family of Mergansers in a small pool close the the road.

 

#118 - Red-breasted Merganser - Mergus serrator

North Uist, Scotland. July 2021

 

Merganser with chicks

 

Merganser with chicks

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Soukous

The days are - very - long in summer, so there were still plenty of hours left, and this was just my first day.

 

I headed up to Berneray, the small island between North Uist and Harris, where there should be some Arctic Terns.

 

Sure enough they were there.

I had forgotten how aggressive these little birds can be. On the Farne Islands, where you are walking a path between their nests it is not a surprise to find them swooping at your head. Here though, I kept what I thought was a reasonable distance and stayed on the opposite side of the road to where they were nesting in furrows amongst what looked like Oilseed Rape flowers.

This was still too close for them to feel comfortable and they let me know it.

The challenge I set myself was to try and capture photos of them as they attacked me.

Easier said than done, the come in fast and the instinct to duck is very strong indeed.

 

#119 - Arctic Tern - Sterna paradisaea

North Uist, Scotland. July 2021

 

Arctic Tern

 

Arctic Tern

 

a mouthful of sand eel was no deterrent to dive bombing me

Arctic Tern

 

Arctic Tern

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
PeterHG

Stunning photos of the Corncrake! Never seen or even heard one. Also great pictures of the Owl and the dive-bombing Arctic Terns. And a very enjoyable read as well, so keep going!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Zim Girl

Great sightings of the BT Divers and Slavonian grebes (we missed both of those).  

Love the pictures of the SE Owl and fantastic shots of the Corncrake!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Zim Girl
On 7/14/2021 at 10:51 AM, Dave Williams said:

 

Perhaps you were looking in the wrong place? Although I saw a couple in the water near the harbour, the nesting sites are on the promenade directly in front of the long stay car park.

We had been told exactly where to find them but they just weren't there.  Another birder was walking around looking, he said he had found them here the week before and had come back that day to get better pictures so confirmed we were looking in the right place.  A bit annoying because it means they were probably there on the day we took the ferry over but we didn't know to look then.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Soukous
1 minute ago, Zim Girl said:

We had been told exactly where to find them but they just weren't there.

 

I know how you feel. 

I had been told exactly where to find Red-throated Divers, firstly by a couple I met and then it was confirmed by Fred. I went there 3 times, to both sites in fact, and didn't see or hear them. :(

Link to post
Share on other sites
Galana
6 hours ago, Soukous said:

He also said that Slavonian Grebes 'eat' their own feathers which then act as a filter against swallowing fish bones. I don't think he was winding me up.

Really? Some  Scots can have a wry sense of Youma.

Most creatures ingest shed parts to recycle energy. I cannot imagine anything sitting in the stomach juices of some birds surviving intact long enough to have any other function. Raptors throw out pellets and having seen what some waterfowl do I can't see fishbones worrying them. But I am no expert on digestions processes as you realise.

Empty sites are a worry and it does happen quite often. Viz our visits to the Phalaropes. Blink and you miss em. Me? I just lose the bloody SD card, after the shot.

The luck is needed and I have a reputation for rolling dice.

Edited by Galana
added text.
Link to post
Share on other sites
Soukous

Plenty of youngsters about, some even keeping formation

 

Swan & cygnets

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Soukous

I was more interested in a different Swan, one we rarely see in East Anglia

 

#120 - Whooper Swan - Cygnus cygnus

North Uist, July 2021

 

The small lochen that I found them on had a lot of red coloured weed or algae so it is probable that this is the cause of their staining.

 

Whooper Swan

 

Whooper Swan

 

Whooper Swans

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

You need to widen your search area @Soukous reliably at welney and the rest of the Ouse washes over winter….

Link to post
Share on other sites
Soukous
15 hours ago, Tdgraves said:

You need to widen your search area @Soukous reliably at welney and the rest of the Ouse washes over winter….

 

Noted, thank you

Link to post
Share on other sites
Galana
7 minutes ago, Soukous said:

Noted, thank you

Go north young man.

A certain farmhouse in Galloway, reserved for the cognoscenti in mid November has 1000s of them in the garden along with 10,000 Barnacle Geese in the next field.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy