Archive - February 2016

28th February 

Pow Burn

The weather looked fine throughout the central belt so it was West today to help balance the books as it were. The breakfast at Asda in Kilmarnock was just 'ok' but will remain unmarked. Suffice to say the whole experience was almost surreal!  We headed off to Pow Burn looking forward to our first visit since June 2015. There were loads of Wigeon and Teal on the burn, along with Redshanks, Oystercatchers and Curlew. All were very flighty and getting close was going to be difficult. We would get a few shots in and they would be off again, but we followed them round and got some more. On one occasion I shot what I thought was a Redshank flying away below us but it turned out, on closer inspection, to be a Snipe. Hard enough to spot and I was very lucky getting one in the air. A nice Song Thrush presented itself while we were following the Wigeon up the burn, as did a Lesser_Redpoll a little later. As we reached the headland I spotted our first wildflower of the season. a nice Coltsfoot. On the headland itself there was some passerine activity in the bushes by a couple of Stonechats. The male was displaying and the female was happily following him around. We were quite close but they seemed to have other things on their mind. A pleasant walk back to the car for a cup of tea and a bun while watching light aircraft landing at Prestwick was a pleasant end to a pleasant day!

Teal Oystercatcher Curlew
Snipe Coltsfoot Song Thrush
Lesser_Redpoll Female Stonechat Male Stonechat

21st February 2016

Musselburgh, Joppa

Well, the weather has pushed us east again. A cracking breakfast at Morrisons in Dalkeith before we set off to Musselburgh. We parked at the scrapes to walk the promenade anti-clockwise then back to finish at the scrapes. We were looking for the Surf Scoter, but not holding out much hope. It had been sighted here but also at Portobello.
I caught this Cormorant fishing very successfully close to the sea wall. This was the first of many.
There were quite a few flocks of Goldeneye around but quite far off. Occasionally some flew close enough for a photograph. A passing Long-tailed Duck came quite close to the sea wall and I managed a decent shot. Back by the sea wall again and on to the scrapes. A lovely Pied Wagtail caught our eye cavorting in the puddles.
The scrapes were very busy with Curlew, Shelduck, Oystercatchers, Redshanks, Teal, Wigeon and Godwits. Off to Joppa now and perhaps the Surf Scoter. If it was there, it was too far out to spot. Our cup of tea and a bun was interrupted by some Black-headed Gulls who came quite close to feast on some discarded bread. The weather stayed reasonable all day and we managed a good few decent shots.

Female Goldeneye Long Tailed Duck Pied Wagtail
Curlew Male Teal Female Teal
  Black Headed Gull  

14th February 2016

Stevenston, Irvine Harbour

Heading west at last. The forecast is sunny, dry but cold. Breakfast at Morrisons in Stevenston was a clear '9'. Down to the headland as usual to see what was showing. A little quiet, although the Eider were there as usual. A couple of men arrived and began launching their jet-skis so time to move on. The beach, further south, didn't provide much in the way of birds either so we decided to head to the pond, otherwise known as Ardeer Quarry. A nice House Sparrow posed for us as we parked the car. The usual suspects were on the pond and, unusually, a couple of Cormorants. We headed up to the woodland area hoping to sight the deer, which were plentiful this time last year, but only managed a nice Robin here. A local lad intimated that the deer had been culled. Whether it was an official cull or not we're not sure. Down to Irvine Harbour for a cup of tea and a bun. Quite busy, people wise, taking advantage of the sun I expect. A couple of Shags in the harbour were the highlight of the day. Glad to get west today but a little disappointed overall.

Eider House Sparrow Cormorant
Robin Herring Gull Shag

7th February 2016

Spott, Skateraw, Belhaven Bay

On my own again today as John has his good lady's birthday tea to organise. East again! Rain was due to hit the west coast and move east, so I decided that east was best, again. After a short attempt at trying to cope with the howling gales around Barns Ness I decided it might be calmer inland so went for a drive around Spott. Sometimes there are geese there but I didn't see any. I did manage to spot some Red-legged Partridge though. Satisfied with this I decided to drive down a little to Skateraw and see what was showing. I saw some Pink-footed geese in a field but unfortunately I spooked them before I could get a decent shot. Finally I called in at Belhaven Bay. It's a lovely place to sit and have a cup of tea. Before heading home I took a walk to the pond and the sea wall for a look see. I was surprised to see a Little Egret in the pond area and managed a few nice shots. A handful of Wigeon at the sea wall were also a nice surprise. Some nice shots to end the day.

Red - legged Partridge Wigeon
Little Egret Curlew
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