Tuesday, December 22, 2020

πŸ“– Pre Xmas Update 08/12/20 ~ 22/12/20

πŸŽ„Since my previous post, I've spent my time birding the Aberdeenshire coastline beginning just south of Stonehaven at RSPB Fowlsheugh and as far north as RSPB Loch of Strathsbeg, where I managed an unexpected year-tick Green-winged Teal yesterday afternoon (Mon 21st). Along the Ythan Estuary, all the usual common waders can be found and out to sea things are pretty settled with little movement currently apart from the odd passing Red-throated Diver, plenty of Guillemots bobbing around and the usual selection of Eider Ducks. I'm still logging small groups of Bottlenose Dolphin and plenty of Seals, both Common & Grey. During one visit to Girdleness, a Weasel ran out in front of me while driving towards the lighthouse, but thankfully I managed to avoid it.

Fulmar at Collieston Harbour 

☃️The most fascinating thing I've noticed during this period has been just how quickly things can change here along the coastline. For example, just a week ago the cliffs were almost deserted but over the past several days, there's been a large influx of Fulmars, which despite the time of year and being mostly pelagic during non-breeding months have already begun to stake out the cliff face. In fact, since moving here permanently in October, you could count the number of Fulmars I've logged during my coastal visits on one hand. 

On water, they’re buoyant and sit very upright, while on land they cannot stand or walk, managing at best an ungainly shuffle.

πŸŽ…Suffice to say I've spent many hours since in the company of these fascinating birds watching them hunt just barely above the waves, seemingly with little effort using their characteristic stiff wing beats. What has also been interesting has been observing the interaction between birds at rest with their throaty chuckling and cackling rising and diminishes in volume, sounding alarmed one second and companionable the next. Apparently, these birds also remain largely loyal both to partner and nesting sites and can often live up to fifty years, they are fast becoming one of my favourite sea birds!

A very confiding Snow Bunting right in front of the car was a pleasant surprise!

❄️On Saturday Dazza and I had to travel to Fraserburgh to pick up a few things for Christmas and while here stopped just outside the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses to enjoy a takeaway coffee & to watch the many Shags heading off to roost. There are good views of the sea from here while sitting in the comfort of the car. However, while enjoying our coffee a slight movement in the gravel took the eye and turned out to be a Snow Bunting, a wonderful find and completely unexpected. Good job I carry my camera everywhere I go!

A Few More Images of the amazing Fulmars...

Just holding in the wind above Slains Castle, Cruden Bay.

The cliff-face at RSPB Fowlsheugh near Stonehaven.

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