Thursday, 31 October 2013

Quiet morning

After yesterday's stormer I couldn't expect anything else except a quiet morning. Sky was clear and a chill wind was blowing from SSW. Migration was pitiful with 6 Mistle Thrush the highlight of the morning.

I decided to head up high and check for Woodies. View was spectacular, but not a flock of Woodpigeon was to be ad anywhere - just a ball of Ferals going north. Here's the Binn transmitter above Burntisland, Inverkeithing to Benarty Hill (above Vane Farm RSPB), a lovely couple of Bullfinches and our new aircraft carrier under construction.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013


Maybe the most curious thing is that Birdtrack thinks 91 is a reasonable number of Mistle Thrushes

Mistle Thrush Madness!

Went out looking for one thing this morning - Mistle Thrushes. After 30 minutes I almost headed up the road to Cullaloe when only 6 had gone past and precious little else. At that moment a flock of 35 went over, which would have made the second highest Inverkeithing count by itself. It made the total a new site record 41. As they kept adding up I started dreaming of 100+ and the last 20 minutes I was hoping for that elusive 9, but they didn't come (while I was still there). Maybe I can top up at lunchtime. You never know, but it's got to be worth a try. It is already the UK record on trektellen as you can see above. The previous UK record from Spurn was over SEVEN hours!

Another stunning moment was when 6 Ravens passed over together. I couldn't believe it until they were calling directly overhead. A late Swallow also put in an appearance.

Then the most controversial moment of the day - a finch heading straight towards me looked a bit odd, and as it went directly overhead I looked up to see what appeared to be a huge metallic grey bill with an enormously wide base.

In the end I decided to submit the record and see what happens. It's bang in the middle of Hawfinch mig time and others were seen further south a bit later


Total counts:

As to the late Swallow, this Campion also seemed to be confused about which season it's in

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

and more Thrushes

Very Thrushy morning at Cullaloe with c.400 in 40 minutes of Redwing, Fieldfare, Mistle and Song Thrush. Also a couple of Snipe were nice. Moved down to Inverkeithing where it was fairly quiet apart from the record 38 Mistle Thrush in 45 minutes. Wonder what that would have been if I'd been there the whole time? Never mind - Cullaloe was nicer and busier.

Cullaloe Thrush pic'n'mix

Monday, 28 October 2013


A decent thrush day again, but stayed in bed expecting adverse weather. Fortunately I still managed at least some time, but it was tailing off when i left, with some of the thrushes appearing to be coming off the fields north of the watchpoint. They did all head SW ultimately though, and some came from due east. No unusual species, although a count of c60 Gannets at this time of year is quite unusual

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Clear Blue Skies - Canadas and Whoopers at the Divit

Nice day in the Divit with westerlies blowing and cloud 2/8, making the finches visible but high and tricky. Steady stream of finches but the biggies of the day were ... big. Four Canada Geese south was a nice surprise addition to the year list and then near the end 2 Whooper Swans became the second addition of the day - a species I missed totally here last year. 35 Mistle Thrush was also a site record (and this in only 60 minutes), and I hope to top that up at lunch time. A flock of 90 Fieldfare was nice and a steady but small movement of Redwings, with a surprising 22 Meadow Pipit - pretty late for that many, but they were moving throughout the hour. A solo Crossbill was hopefully a sign of more to come, but I'm not getting my hopes up on that one.Two new additions takes the year list to 110, and even 120 still looks a long way away.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Rained off

Lots of rain this morning so stayed in ed and found a clear 15 mins before work at Dalbeath Marsh LNR, where stickers have appeared about "core paths"


Clocked up 20 species in 15 minutes, which isn't bad for the reserve, including 16 Redwing southwest and 40 Fieldfare which appeared to be static, Also still one LBB, which I am kind of assuming is always the same one. Also Tufties have started to re-appear, with two there today.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Some recent snaps

A decent enough morning again this morning, although the light is closing in on me these days. At least when the clocks change I'll get another hour back in exchange for the black nights.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Decent Divit Day

at last. Nice day with mild weather, slight NW breeze and a decent collection of birds, including some slightly unusual ones for here - 2 Goldcrest, a Reed Bunt, decent flock of Mizzle Thrush etc (see below). No decent pics though sadly.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Dalbeath Marsh LNR

Ventured out for an hour and added Grey Wag and Redwing to the NT1590 list, taking it to 69. 2 Grey Wags on the base of the trees west end of the pond while the Redwings flew over north.

Redwings also took my Hill of Beath list to 82 for the year. I'm concerned about how the field at NT1390 will play out this winter. Usually good for something, with Whoopers there last year, it has been dug out and drainage pipes installed before being ploughed over. Still managed a Wheatear last week, so you never know. Might not be enough cover for passing Golden Plovers though.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Divit lunchtime

Took a quick check of the Divit given the easterlies. Can't believe I had forgotten about October Kittiwakes. Every October Inverkeithing (first noticed from Dalgety Bay) witnesses mass movements of Kittiwakes, usually later int he day. Today there were a few on the water, and a nice cloud which broke into two high up towards the bridge. mazing how easy it is to lose 1000 high Kittiwakes against a grey sky! Also 4 Little Grebe in the harbour, and a few Teal and Gannet about. Didn't see much else of note though.

Cold, grey

Have a cold this morning, so heading for the Divit in a NE wind under a leaden sky I was not the most optimistic. A few birds seemed content to move - PF Geese heading SW to my north, a handful of Chaffinch and the first Redwing of the year. The Redwing made it worth the half hour of freezing, but not worth more than that, so I headed to Cullaloe where I got stuck in roadwork traffic lights and saw nothing new. Oh well. Redwings and a nice roll with Lorne sausage isn't a bad start to the day. Still going to sleep in tomorrow though. Maybe.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Divit Dreaming

Bright, clear and cold morning this morning was good for geese and quality species, and predictably terrible for catching overflying finch spp.

Got off to a great start with a Little Egret west at 7:25, but only noticed it when directly overhead so pictures are painfully bad as it flew off west.I've been waiting for this species for a while, fairly confident that one day it would come (before it becomes daily, I mean...)

A local Raven flitted about, and later a Kingfisher on the rocks, but also managed to snag my first Divit GS Woodpecker of the year and a record (yes, record) 17 Skylark in two groups. A fine morning.

Typical goose weather

Little Egret - best I could do :(

Swallow - getting close to last?

Local Kingfisher

First GSW at last

Wednesday, 9 October 2013


Apparently today was this year's PFG day at Inverkeithing. Some directly overhead, but the biggest numbers SW over Edinburgh. Here's some over Arthur's Seat and the Royal Observatory:

Remarkable how consistent they have been judging by this:

Almost the same numbers, almost the same dates. Wonder how that day would have been when they all went over Carnoustie? Wonder if they would have missed Inverkeithing.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

If Cullaloe's going to make 100 ...

... what needs to happen? Some of the autumn migrant species are becoming very long odds now (e.g. Spot Fly, Whinchat, early waders), so probably we're looking at missed residents and winter species.

Whooper Swan - fair chance, not < 50/50
An odd goose?  Long shot, but possible
Goldeneye - maybe
Goshawk - prime time has passed, but you never know
Kestrel - surely?
Golden Plover - long shot
Jack Snipe - previously a gimme, will have to search untried areas
A.N.Other wader - had Pec Sand, so pushing my luck, but surely one more? Greenshank?
Kingfisher - the dispersal time ha maybe passed, but you never know
Green Woodpecker - occasional visitor; once again you never know
Redwing - fair chance
Mistle Thrush - fair chance
Waxwing - long shot
Tree sparrow - sure, why not?
Brambling - long shot

There's 15 and I need 14. I would bet I'm not going to make it. 95 would be a good result.

Divit mig

Unspectacular day in quite strong winds. Force 5 or maybe more. Couple of Sparrowhawk and 4 Greylags maybe the highlights amidst a smattering of finches, Mips and Wagtails (one flock of Albas 16 was quite nice). Had to move into the quarry because of rain early on and maybe it cost me, since when I moved to the smaller patch near Stone Marine in the last ten minutes I had marginally better results.

Still no GSW, and I see from trek graphing that they are down on average and way down on last year, mirroring my own experience.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Monday morning

Beautiful sunrise, but birds poor

Weekend 4-5 October - a corker!

Started early on Saturday morning with a slightly late alarm and a romp to Carnoustie, arriving to meet Clive in a field not horribly long after sunup. In the next three hours over 10,000 birds went past before I left for home, an even more before Clive did. We didn't even count them all, of course. Numbers are here:

Late afternoon I managed to sneak out again and pick up a Shoveler at Cullaloe, which I thought had got away from me for the year list. Only 14 to go to reach 100, which is still a big ask (more on this later).

Yesterday was a decent morning at Inverkeithing with my morning Alba Wag record, but the actual record was for the evening. Visiting family graciously all headed out leaving about an hour until sundown, so I made the most of it and headed back to the Divit. How glad I am that I did! Wagtails were piling over, with several flocks of 50 or more, and finally the session closed out at 418. If I had started earlier I have no doubt that it would have been higher, as they were constantly passing on my arrival. Still, with 126 in the morning my day total of 546 birds smashed the previous day record of  168 from almost exactly two years ago. Noteworthy is the fact that on the day of the previous record I only managed 16 in the morning!

I even managed to sneak in a new species of plant to the Cullaloe list (Herb Robert, happily flowering away around the moss-covered wall in the depths of the woods)

Some Carnoustie pics:

part of c1200 single wave

Linnet torpedoes

Birds of (nearly) a feather ...

Wigeon tagalongs

Wheatear drop-in
And the "best" from last night's Wagtail rush

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Spatulate Saturday

Great morning of movement at Carnoustie with Clive saw >10,000 birds go past, followed by a late afternoon foray to Cullaloe to check for Pec Sand, which was reported as absent yesterday. Still seems to be, and the water has risen. Still, clocking up a nice duck Shoveler made it worth the trip - species 86 for the year and another tiny step towards the target of 100 (which could still take some doing). More on the morning's vig in the weekend roundup on Monday.

Species #86 of 2013

Friday, 4 October 2013


Somewhere in the last week or so I went over 10,000 Birdtrack records for the year - one of my targets when the year started. Obviously I overdid it, given the quarter of the year that remains.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Cullaloe comes up trumps!

After a long hiatus Cullaloe came off the ropes with a Pectoral Sandpiper. Longish yellow legs, nice super, prominent tramlines, and of course a bib - it skittered about between the Teal and the Snipe in the closing darkness and miserable rain as I watched from underneath a makeshift backpack umbrella. The first one was a shock in 2010, but maybe it's becoming a bit of a habit.

About to turn the corner


Might as well look there. Nowt up here.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Birding in the dark

When you can look at the sun with binoculars you know it's dark. Grim this morning with only passerines heading the "wrong" way and only a couple of Ravens and a peculiar but beautiful sunrise saving the first period. No sign of much interesting over the river - one Gannet and a handful of BH Gulls. Cullaloe was nice after that, but without providing anything new in terms of birds.

A half hour after sunrise