Tuesday, July 31, 2012

White-rumped Sand reported Brownsea

Twitches to Brownsea now involve 2 boats for me, which makes it a bit of a pain.
Here we are on the first one (more of a Ferry really) waiting for Mungo to go through.

Despite the hold ups, managed to make my connecting boat to Brownsea.
Shaun was also aboard and we were soon discussing how straightforward it was to identify White-rumped Sandpipers!
We were soon scanning the waders and came across an odd looking one.
As with a lot of Brownsea waders it was some distance away. What we saw was clearly not a Dunlin but not clearly a White-rumped Sandpiper. In most respects it looked like a WRS however the primaries appeared not to extend beyond the tail. 

Further scrutinisation came up with more questions than answers. Many features were pointing to WRS, the overall plumage, size, feeding action etc etc but no matter what angle we looked at, it just didnt have long enough primaries. We also couldnt see any flank markings which one would expect on an adult WRS, this however could have been down to the distance we were viewing it rather than the definite absence of markings. 
I managed to get a few shite photos whilst we prayed for it to get up and start flying around so we could see the rump.

 We never got any closer views than this and very brief flight views were inconclusive.  As it looked very close to WRS, we discussed the possibility of it being in primary moult but after looking it up, found out they dont start their moult until the winter quarters. We left the island not knowing what we had seen.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Somewhere in Southern England

Marbled White

Two male Honeys about today. These are the best shots I could muster of one of them

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Scotland (part 4)

With the indifferent weather, we had put off going up to the top of Cairn Gorm. Luckily on the last morning we woke to brilliant sunshine.

View from the carriage. Not sure if the Reindeer has paid. Which reminds me of something which made me laugh out loud. Whilst queueing for a ticket there were a couple at the kiosk with a dog. They asked for tickets for them and the dog but were told that they couldnt take the dog up, only bring it back down!! Classic!

View from the top

Still a bit of snow on Ben Macdui. Apparently there is a woman who has skied here on every day of the year so far! Completely bonkers!

Ptarmigan showing well

Couldnt find any Dotterels however

We were now out of time and had to head home.
On the way back we began to get perilously low on fuel so we checked the trusty Tom Tom for the nearest garage. After going out of our way for a couple of miles to get there, this is what we were greeted with.

Did eventually get to another garage on the vapour.

Our continued journey south was brightened by one of the local buses. I saw this bus on 'Mock The Week' apparently it looks like Dara O Briain!

Not very inspiring!

Early morning somewhere in southern Northumberland

Black Grouse country near Langdon Beck, Upper Teesdale

A few poor digiscoped pics

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunny Scotland (part 3)

Headed east the next morning in the general direction of Speyside. On the way decided to look in at Glen Affric.
A mistake really as the long dead end road doesnt get anywhere near any of the decent areas. Its more of a walkers place really and I didnt fancy a days walk, particularly as Speyside is much more accessible.

Nice place though

Dipper showing well in a much more convenient place to get to, ie by the roadside!

Arrived at Speyside late afternoon. Enough time for a quick visit to Loch Garten.

Very zoomed in version. 

An early morning wander about in the area didnt produce any Capercaillie, although hopes werent high.
What was unexpected though was the complete lack of any birds around here. Not a sniff of Crested Tit or Scottish Crossbill.  The next few hours were much more exciting however as we spent them watching the local highland games

The idea here is to twirl your mace about then swing it over the banner to catch it again. 

Wayne Rooney and Andy Murray were there. 

Red Grouse hiding in the heather just down the road from Tomintoul

Early morning visit to a highly recommended site for Caper. 

I knew it wasnt going to be easy to see one in July. Nearly all views at this time of year are of some sort of large shape crashing through the tops of the trees after you have disturbed it. And to make it that much harder I also needed a photo for the photo yearlist!
Ended up just walking around with the camera infront of me, trigger finger poised!

What was that noise!  False alarm, Wood Pigeon.

Apart from a few more Woodies flushed, nothing doing.
A tit flock moved through which contained a couple of Crested Tits but couldnt get any photos.

I had another Caper site lined up, one where up to 6 males had been seen in April. Although obviously this was July!

On arrival things didnt look good with some very fresh tracks into the forest

"We've just ripped out a load of trees but take care not to disturb the Capers"!

Heard Scottish Crossbill on a few occasions whilst in the woods but no photos.
On the track out, bumped into another roving tit flock containing Crested Tits, this time they hung around long enough to get at least one usable shot!

This next place was near Carrbridge. Turned out to be a good place for Scottish Crossbill with a few birds in twos and threes going over every now and again.

Never got onto any feeding birds but did get a flight shot of one bird

Not really knowing when I was beat, I tried one more site for Capercaillie, unfortunately with the same results as before. 

According to the sign this place is unsuitable for vehicles! No shit!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sunny Scotland (part 2)

View from campsite next morning

Was a bit surprised to see two six foot middle aged blokes emerge from this tiny tent!

At last some sun! View from the Skye bridge looking toward Kyle of Lochalsh.

Stopped in the town to get some supplies. 
You have to get down and beg to get money out of cash machines here.

Still sunny

Chance to dry boots out

Followed the coast road up and came across this very picturesque village of Plockton, (shame about the name though) where we had a most enjoyable cup of coffee! Clouds didnt take long to come back.

 No time for such frivolous things as relaxing on this trip though! We had to keep moving! 

We were now heading for Beinn Eighe. At the bottom right of this photo you can just see a couple of Swans on the small island

Closer inspection reveals them to be Mooper Swans! Check out those bills!

This one with two heads must be a Mutant Swan.

A bit further along the valley there was another loch. This time with breeding Black-throated Divers.

 Two juvs

Anxious parent. Only saw the one.

Distant Golden Eagle flying away, or is it a speck of dirt on the lens?

Same photo, somewhat cropped. The bird mobbing it was some sort of bop but didnt have time to look at it.

Onwards towards the coast again and to better weather. This is the Isle of Ewe seen from the coast road. No particular species in mind here but in the past I have seen summering Great Northern Diver on the lochs.

Decided we had done enough driving for one day so doubled back to Gairloch.

Charlestown harbour. with a boat from Poole amongst the locals.
Also one from Castlebay, Barra. Quite interesting these boat codes! Might start a list!

Great view from campsite