Saturday, May 1, 2010

30th April,2010.

After the inevitable couple of days attending to paperwork and domestic duties the opportunity arrived to have a good look at the recording area after an absence of a week. The first obvious impression was of the number of Swallow and linnet that had arrived during the period. Goldfinches are continuing to go through, the overall numbers of which must be quite high.

A nominal hour's seawatching saw plenty of activity ( Gannet, Manx Shearwater, Kittiwake, Fulmar, Shag, and auks ) but nothing outside of the usual constituents "presence" due, in part, to a fog bank out to sea. A flock of 12 Whimbrel flew over Loch Indaal, a further nine was at Loch Gorm and, later,a flock of forty + flew north over Outer loch Indaal suggesting the now fine and calm conditions was encouraging passage. Sedge Warblers were at several sites ,but not yet present at all the small locations normally occupied and several places had two or three Northern Wheatears, which from their plumage and size were not "Greenland" race birds.Two single House Martins showed them too to be arriving and the odd Cuckoo appeared at a couple of places.

Evidence the season was already advancing came in the form of young Lapwing chicks being frantically escorted across a road by a parent and two broods of Mallard at Gruinart. A count of Grey lag Geese in the Loch Gorm area showed at least 60 to be around, many of which were pairs, a fact that possibly heralds yet a further increase in the population.

At Gruinart a fine array of birds of different species was on offer. A group of at least 12 Black-tailed Godwits added to a party of five seen previously near Loch Gorm. A male Garganey, a female Goldeneye and a pair of both Tufted Duck and Red-breasted Merganser added variety to the Mallard, Teal, Shoveler, Wigeon and Gadwall present, but the Pintail now appear to have departed. Of interest was a small group of Greenland White-fronted Geese which was later supplemented by a further flock of around forty . A similar "appearance" was made by around 50 Barnacle Geese that may have come from somewhere local or being passage birds. With some of these species having left around three weeks ago it's a matter of conjecture whether these late birds will benefit from arriving in better weather in the Artic or lose out if the short season within which they have to complete their breeding activities prematurely closes in. As ever wader activity was at its frenetic best around the whole site with Lapwing, Redshank and Curlew in evidence. A single Greenshank, feeding quietly, was doubtless a migrant stoking up before the next leg of its journey.

Back at Loch Indaal at least two Arctic Terns was present, the remnant flock of around 50 Greater Scaup bobbed around offshore and various Great Northern Divers were dotted around. Such was a drastic contrast between a species that had already travelled thousands of miles from its wintering quarters in the southern hemisphere ( the terns ) and those which had not yet set off on their journeys northwards.

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