Monday, January 3, 2011

Miscellaneous jottings! 2.1.2011.

In reality what I saw to day, as far as species were concerned, was a repeat of yesterday , with even the odd species missing! However, a few observations lent weight to the thought that things are still happening and changing.

As always occurs at the beginning of the year, Common Gull numbers begin to increase quite markedly, as do those of Herring Gull. Fields where mucking out has occurred had noticeable assemblages of gulls,along with Rooks and Jackdaws and Starlings. At several points along the southern Rinns parties of Grey lag Geese were present, including two flocks of around a hundred. In the past few days I've had an occasional distant group of high flying,unidentified geese moving north across from the house suggesting the possibility that birds were moving back after vacating the island in the bad weather. Whilst the forthcoming counts will prove the point I still have a feeling that, overall, numbers of Barnacle Geese in particular are reduced, despite odd larger groupings being in evidence.

Sadly the Greater Scaup flock numbers appears to be at a low ebb with a little less than 400 hundred present. However, as the flock sometimes splits up and is difficult to locate, there may still be room for optimism. Numbers have gradually gone down over successive recent winters with, from memory, the flock reaching 860/900 last winter. It's always worth going through the flock as other species sometimes accompany them, notably Slavonian Grebe ( and rarer species, remember last January!! ). I was intrigued to see successive little groups of Light-bellied Brent Geese join them way out on the Inner Loch , but to immediately be working their way through the confines of the flock and repeatedly "chivvying" birds in their way. I've always thought our Brents were a rather placid species!

A single sighting of a Greenfinch at home brought as much joy and excitement as any other species given I can't remember when last I recorded one. Disease has decimated their ranks and certainly it is no longer the common species it was, both here on Islay and elsewhere too.

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