Sunday, September 14, 2008

13th September, 2008.

Back in harness after an enforced step out!! Decided to spend a day covering the whole of the recording area (see May for details) as little seems to have been reported on recently!
The day started with a count of 117 Meadow Pipits on the telephone wires outside, an apt reminder of them being an iconic September migrant. Sea passage was slow and routine with no exceptional sightings or numbers.
Numbers of adult Red-throated Divers were on Loch Indaal, plus two well grown immatures no doubt transferred from nearby breeding lochans.The first Black-throated Divers of the winter seen, as were several Slavonian Grebes consorting with Eiders. Later, numbers of them also do this with the Scaup flock, seemingly not yet arrived.

And then a surprise! A party of Barnacle Geese flying up the loch and cutting northwards overland. Certainly the first I've seen and quite early. A few Light-bellied Brent Geese were new but were then seen to fly off heading towards Ireland.Duck numbers,and variety,are begining to improve with Wigeon, Pintail and Common Scoter present as were numbers of Red-breasted Merganser and Eider.

Grey lag Geese deserve a mention (barely!!) given the amount of time devoted to them. An intention to complete another full count saw the total nigh on a thousand fewer than last time. I've no doubt that,somewhere, there were other birds, but where? This isn't new, just frustrating!! When the final baling of barley straw is being completed they move somewhere, it possibly even varies, and take time out. As it was a few hundred birds were on Loch Gorm, but not the entire total, and there was none on Bridgend Merse. Having moaned about that scenario, observations of three small groups coming in from the south, high over Loch Indaal, were intriguing and added yet another twist to a convoluted story!!

A good variety of waders around, but all common species. Numbers of Herring Gulls are noticeable at various places but, strangely, no numbers seen moving through.

Finally,the second brood of Swallows(4) from the barn at home fledged and joined(?) their siblings (3) on the wires outside. The numbers add up but I didn't realise this happened as I'd presumed the first brood "went independent". Given the dreadful weather recently I'm actually surprised the parents managed to feed them!!

Another Wheatear appeared locally and made me wonder if these are Icelandic birds. Ours have been gone for some time now, we then get an early September "flush" of birds and then a few of the obviously larger Greenland birds slightly later. very often these occur along the west and north west coasts too. Of common species,Pied Wagtail numbers have reduced slightly, Robins appear to be everywhere ,have obviously arrived in numbers and are present in some pretty whacky bits of cover, some good Linnet flocks are in evidence suggesting a successful breeding season.

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