Thursday, 28 February 2013

Bohemian like me

In case you didn't know, the title is a song by The Dandy Warhols, but the only bohemian thing about my morning was a single Bohemian Waxwing I stumbled across in the freezing fog on the way to work. Fortunately because of their distinctive call they're easy to locate if your ears are working OK.

I also managed to come across Bullfinches gorging themselves on emerging buds again this morning, but sadly though I had the camera I didn't have the wonderful sunshine I saw them in a couple of days ago. One day all these planets will align and a good shot will be had.Also saw a Song Thrush heading into some trees with a snail. I could hear it breaking the snail on the anvil but I was disappointed not to be able to see it.

Probably added a few more or less inconsequential ticks to some OS squares, but I haven't swung by Birdtrack yet this morning.

VERY foggy morning (& cold)

A single Waxwing - odd sight this winter

Confiding but quick - LT Tit

Look at me!

Nom nom nom nom

Duloch Park bike "transect"

Wednesday, 27 February 2013


Reached 2000 Birdtrack records for 2013 at lunchtime with a crow at Inverkeithing harbour. Pending review of a photo of a distant possible Tufted Duck, nothing else of listy note though.

Foggy morning

While looking at the forecast for today last night I saw that we were expecting a sunny day all day today. Curious then that a football match a couple of miles along the road was being abandoned because of fog. And there it was waiting for me this morning when I peeked out of  the curtains.

At -2.5 degrees it took me a while to clear the frost from the car before heading for Cullaloe, where I hoped the fog was less. Briefly I saw the sun through a hole in the fog, but it wasn't to last, and the rest of the morning was spent in fog. Cullaloe, Inverkeithing, and finally a quick walk near my work, which at least allowed me to add a couple of new species there as well as bumping into a Roe Deer - they're everywhere.

Foggy sheep

Foggy Wigeon

Not so foggy Great Tit

Foggy Inverkeithing

Foggy Oystercatcher

Foggy Masterton Road

Quite bold Dunnock

In this fog? Are you serious?

Deer <100m from my office

Tuesday, 26 February 2013


Phinally a Pheasant at Hill of Beath this morning, and not the only success of a slow cycle to work. Covering the Winter Thrush survey area at walking pace I managed to log a Pheasant (#57 for HOB) for my patch challenge, a couple of northbound Mipits for trek (, four singing Song Thrush and a flock of Fieldfare for my Winter Thrush records and discovered a new park I never noticed before - two singing Reed Buntings in the shadow of Tesco.

Add to that a GS Woodpecker and some gorgeous Bullfinch in the early sunlight and it was a great start to the day. Next time I think I'll be able to carry my camera too.

+Pheasant => 57, 81% of target

Not a big un' so I'll throw this onto the end - 12 Common Scoter in Inverkeithing Bay at lunchtime were my first February record. If they hang on a couple of days they'll be my first March record too.

Monday, 25 February 2013

LBB Gulls

Even the small drainage pond next to my work is pulling in decent numbers of LBBs now. Seven at lunchtime. The most unpromising of patches, I'm going to keep an eye on it just because it's there. It does have a very good overlook to the south though - all the way to my Inverkeithing patch!

Increasing LBBs in spring(ish) sunshine and 8 degrees

Stone Marine (2.5km away) and the Forth

Coot Wars

Cast a brief eye over Dalbeath Marsh LNR this morning, where Coot testosterone levels were running pretty high. Tufties reached a new peak of 14. Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer were both singing. After a cold night the pond remains about one third covered with ice.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Beath 80

Stepped out of the house this morning to the silvery twitterings of a flock of Waxwing - 43 I make it from the photo. They were a bit flighty and it was still dull and snowing a bit. But this is still the biggest "Waxwing event" I remember in the local area. The third flock that has been seen here in 2013, there's a fair chance that all of these are different birds, with a lot of mobility around the UK and even Europe evidenced from recent colour ringing in Aberdeen.

But the bigger (yes, even bigger!) news of the morning was the arrival of 20 Teal on the Keirsbeath drainage pond, meaning that I have already met my target of lifting the Hill of Beath list to 80 before even the end of February. Who knows what the end result of this will be. The year list also goes to 56 and makes the target of 70 look fairly pessimistic. Based on the fact that both Inverkeithing and Cullaloe, which are quite known quantities, are both on 54% of target this means that the year total could end up more like 100. If that does prove to be the case then some very interesting records are in store!

Teal finally show to make 80 for the Hill

Do they ever get boring? Not for me

The M90 northbound

Part of a flock of c.170

Tufties 13 at Dalbeath Marsh: making some interesting sounds

Bread. Give me bread now!

Not a flycatcher

Friday, 22 February 2013

Lunchtime bonus ball

After noticing a couple of LBB hanging out on a lamp-post near my office I dropped in to check out the small pond. There was a surprisingly nice small collection in what is basically a housing drainage pond, and I also discovered that not all "birds" are created equal ...

More Common Gulls. I like Common Gulls!

Cooty lovin'

Boeing C-17 Globemaster!

all the way over

Cullaloe steps up

Dropped into Cullaloe at lunchtime and on arrival noticed a flock of c.100 Lapwing flying over the reserve. Half of them went eastwards and half west, eventually settling on a feld beside the reserve. The field across the road was in the process of being ploughed, but they looked to prefer the pasture anyway. Gulls on the other hand were happy to be in the ploughed field and the first LBB of the year flew over the reserve from the group.These two new additions prompted a list update which also uncovered the absence of previously seen Little Grebe (also present today) and Greenfinch (yesterday), both of which will probably breed in any case.

So +4 for Cullaloe takes the total to a semi-respectable 54, and 54% of target. Remarkably, this is the exact same percentage that inverkeithing is sitting on:

Lapwings at last

Pretty gull - they actually feel "common" at the moment

Wigeon flight

These two characters still hanging out with the Tufties

I'm no expert, but I'm thinking Mink scat

Sparrowhawk on the board at last

45 minutes at Inverkeithing this morning finally managed to tag a Sparrowhawk, taking Inverkeithing to 67 species. Some hint of finch migration again but nothing solid. Then again with friends like these ...

Lesser Black-backed Gull numbers are starting to rise. I'll have to look at last year's records to see what the annual pattern is. Maybe they're on the rise, maybe they're just passing through. I think this year will see me spend a bit of time on gulls. About this time last year Inverkeithing saw an Iceland Gull, and I could use a Med even for Inverkeithing. Anyway, there's not much else happening, so why not gulls?

(Update: In 2012 numbers LBBs rose to around 30 by mid-March, copulation was observed in April and fledged juveniles were being fed in the harbour in late July)

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Teal Time

Nice early start allowed me to drop into both Cullaloe and Inverkeithing this morning, where Teal were the main feature of the day. The normally skulky collection of Teal at Cullaloe were instead out in full view on the pond and uber-active. Some seemed to have paired off already and stood apart from the crowd, while unpaired males swarmed around available females and displayed. Their head display is so quick that it's hard to catch in a photo, pushing their head forward and up before whipping it backwards, all in a fraction of a second. One female At Cullaloe paddled round in circles as drakes flew in front of one another to get her attention. This scene was also playing out at Inverkeithing when I arrived there.

Nothing appeared to be actively migrating especially, an a Dunlin count of 40-odd was as good as it got. While some gulls loafed around there wasn't anything of note.

Loafing Herring Gulls

Common Gulls

Black-headed Gulls and Dunlin


Teal in typical Inverkeithing setting

Look at me! Look at me!

Another suitor

Unusually approachable Redshank

Domestic exotica