Sunday, March 27, 2011

Departure of winter visitors.

Whilst the whole morning and early afternoon were taken up with an appointment I had an opportunity to have a general look around on my way home. I sometimes think that our reportage of birds is a little unsystematic in several senses , particularly that associated with the departure of our migrants and more local winter visitors. For example, the excellent concentration of Whooper Swans on Loch Skerrols this winter is now reduced to two birds only, with the vast majority having commenced their journeys north to their breeding grounds as sightings of passage birds over the past ten days or so has shown. The numbers of Wigeon that were similarly congregated on the loch have also diminished almost to nil, as has most of the numbers of this species which remained faithful to Loch Indaal.

The Common Coot which have been present during the winter also appear to have departed. It's a fascinating species with many of our wintering birds emanating from North west Europe and substantially swelling our mainly sedentary population of breeding birds. Ringing records have assisted in interpreting what Coots are up to, but they are not the easiest bird to catch and their movements all appear to happen at night, so sightings of birds "on the move" are virtually non existent.

Weather of late has been beneficial to night migrants with clear skies and light winds, some of which have been southerly thereby assisting both northward departing migrants and those arriving from the south. A party of Northern Wheatear near Machir Bay had obviously just arrived, although no others appeared evident on the Rinns.

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