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Old Friday 7th October 2016, 12:02   #51
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Another Owl Encounter

After yesterdays owl encounter, there was very little activity. A few Starlings came through and a Blackcap was reported to me. Great Black-backed Gulls are here in force. 760+ counted yesterday, and looks about the same number today. With that many gulls about, you learn to walk quickly and with your mouth shut!

This morning, before sunrise, I headed back to the area under the platform where I had spotted the S-E owl yesterday. As I turned the corner I'd turned yesterday, the owl (I assume the same bird) flew past me again. This time however, I managed to track its flight out in the dark, then back into another area of the deck level I was on. Known as a Cellar Deck, this deck is a maze of steel structure, pipework, cable runs, ducting, vessels and grating walkways, all suspended under the main platform structure. I crept forwards, and after a few minutes, located my bird perched on a handrail.

Later, I returned with a camera. The bird had moved, but I soon found it on some nearby pipework and managed to get a few good shots. At about the same time, a warbler appeared near by. I managed to get a few poor shots of it at range, so will let you know once ID made.

Just before lunch time, I came across another Blackcap in one of the upper areas, although I suspect it is the same bird reported to me yesterday.

I'll try and work out a way of posting the Owl pictures from out here. If not, I'll post them when I get home.
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Old Saturday 8th October 2016, 08:03   #52
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Owl Photos

No sign of the owl since yesterday afternoon. Should be in Scotland by now. Worked out the photos, so enjoy.
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Old Tuesday 11th October 2016, 12:33   #53
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Frustration

A very frustrating couple of days. Lots of small birds coming through, but all I'm getting is a glimpse of movement as they disappear around the nearest corner or solid object.

Wind is from the East and forecast to continue from the same direction, so hopefully, something will arrive that sits still long enough to ID. Numbers of Great Black-Backed Gulls peaked at an all time record of 1185 during the week, and there are increasing numbers of Starlings hanging about.
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Old Tuesday 11th October 2016, 12:39   #54
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GBBGs

A couple of head shots.
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Old Wednesday 12th October 2016, 06:44   #55
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Managed to get a better look at some of the birds passing through yesterday afternoon. Quite a few Blackcaps evident and a Robin.

Reports from other parts of the platform of small greenish yellow birds with white wing bars. Not come across them yet myself.
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Old Wednesday 12th October 2016, 07:39   #56
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Managed to get a better look at some of the birds passing through yesterday afternoon. Quite a few Blackcaps evident and a Robin.

Reports from other parts of the platform of small greenish yellow birds with white wing bars. Not come across them yet myself.
Yellow-browed Warblers I would guess.

Worth keeping your ears open for any reports of owls on platforms given the massing of Hawk Owls in Scandinavia
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Old Wednesday 12th October 2016, 11:05   #57
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Worth keeping your ears open for any reports of owls on platforms given the massing of Hawk Owls in Scandinavia
I'll do that.
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Old Wednesday 12th October 2016, 11:08   #58
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Thrush Rush

First Redwing of the season spotted today. Then the second with a Song Thrush. High winds from the East forecast for Saturday, so I'm expecting a big influx.
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Old Wednesday 12th October 2016, 18:36   #59
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Little Bunting & Brambling

Sadly, I found the body of a Little Bunting this morning. If accepted as one, it will only be the second ever recorded by the NSBC in 30 years. My day did improve though as a flock of Brambling arrived this morning (managed to get some good shots and will put some up tomorrow. A Meadow Pipit was also visible with the Brambling.

These are my first ever Brambling, so very please. A Northern Wheatear appeared this afternoon, and a Robin was present with a few more Starling. Reports came in from all over the platform of unidentified birds. Sounds like a lot of them were Goldcrests.

With heavy weather moving in from the East, I suspect that many of these birds are trying to push ahead of it.
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Old Thursday 13th October 2016, 10:45   #60
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Redwing Alert

Woke up to hundreds of Redwing passing through this morning. Spotted a couple of Blackcaps, a couple of Starling and a Goldcrest during the morning. Higher winds are whipping a lot of small birds past before I can ID. No Fieldfare yet, but they won't be far behind the Redwing.

Attached a couple of photos of yesterday's Brambling.
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Old Thursday 13th October 2016, 12:13   #61
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Nice pics , what camera are you using
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Old Thursday 13th October 2016, 17:17   #62
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Nice pics , what camera are you using
Fuji Finepix S1
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Old Friday 14th October 2016, 07:57   #63
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Long-eared Owl

I received some photos yesterday of a L-E Owl photographed on the platform by someone else back in the Spring.

I've attached the best shot.
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Old Friday 14th October 2016, 08:29   #64
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I received some photos yesterday of a L-E Owl photographed on the platform by someone else back in the Spring.

I've attached the best shot.
Nice shot - one of these days it will be a Hawk Owl!
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Old Friday 14th October 2016, 12:34   #65
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Last week's Pink-footed Geese

Very slow today. High winds, heavy seas and dark skies seem to have pretty much killed my bird supply for now. A couple of Redwing around at dawn are the sum of today's migrants so far. Herring Gull numbers increasing gradually. Still a couple of hundred or so GBBG.

Still no Hawk Owl! What's wrong with these Hawk Owls? Don't they know I have to go home on Wednesday?

Photo of last week's P-F Geese attached.
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Old Friday 14th October 2016, 16:18   #66
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Enjoy reading this thread, thanks for taking the time to do it Gander.
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Old Friday 14th October 2016, 17:24   #67
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Enjoy reading this thread, thanks for taking the time to do it Gander.
Indeed
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Old Friday 14th October 2016, 19:08   #68
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Enjoy reading this thread, thanks for taking the time to do it Gander.
Likewise, fascinating local patch to have! Expect the unexpected!
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Old Saturday 15th October 2016, 05:49   #69
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Day of the Ducks

With poor weather yesterday, it was a bit quiet. A couple of Redwing in the morning was the highlight until just before sun down. I was having a quick count of the gulls sitting in a large raft on the leeward side of the platform, when I noticed a black object on the water a little off the raft. Thought it would be the nose of a Grey Seal at first, but the Monocular revealed my first Velvet Duck. Hurried away and got a camera, then as I was taking shots, a Long-tailed Duck appeared in frame with the Scoter. You guessed it,; my first L-t Duck

My thanks to the guys on the Identification pages of these forums for the pointer on the L-t Duck.
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Old Saturday 15th October 2016, 12:04   #70
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More Geese.

Lots of Redwing around this morning. Most getting whipped by the platform by the 40kn winds from the East, but a few on the Cellar Deck. Hard to photograph because the light is not good down there, but I'll try and put up a record shot later.

I also noticed a small flock of the Redwings seemingly being pursued by one of our resident Great Black-backed Gulls. A few mornings ago in the early morning half darkness, I'm sure I saw a GBBG knock a Redwing out of the air, then pounce on it in the water. Is this a known behaviour? We have several hundred gulls here at the moment, so it seems like only occasional behaviour as most ignore the flocks.

This morning, I am pleased to report that the Velvet Scoter and accompanying Long-tailed Duck are still in close attendance to the platform. I am also please to report another offshore first as 10 Barnacle Geese flew by. They briefly landed among the large raft of gulls on the leeward side, but a PA announcement seemed to startle them and they headed off again, flying low over the waves, battling into the teeth of the East wind. Not sure where they are heading, although I believe Holland gets some wintering flocks, so maybe they will turn South when they hit the Norwegian coast.

Lastly, just before lunch, I had a migration casualty reported to me. I arrived on the scene to find a sadly deceased Jack Snipe.
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Old Saturday 15th October 2016, 20:54   #71
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Bless My Barnacles.

As reported in post #70 at lunchtime, we had a passing visit from 10 Barnacle Geese. Returning from lunch down the external stairways of the platform, what do I find,but a bunch of 11 more Barnacle Geese sitting just off the platform on a turbulent North Sea. Dashing away for a camera, I managed to get a few half decent shots before the attentions of the local gulls drove the geese away, again, as their earlier kindred, heading East.

Showing the photos (see attached) to my friend who had spotted the 16-20 unidentified geese fly past (see post #50) earlier this month, he confirmed that those birds were also Barnacles.

That makes up to 41 Barnacle Geese this last few weeks, but hey, you can't have too many Barnacle Geese!

And just to top off the day, a few more Brambling arrived late in the afternoon.
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Old Sunday 16th October 2016, 08:30   #72
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I also noticed a small flock of the Redwings seemingly being pursued by one of our resident Great Black-backed Gulls. A few mornings ago in the early morning half darkness, I'm sure I saw a GBBG knock a Redwing out of the air, then pounce on it in the water. Is this a known behaviour? We have several hundred gulls here at the moment, so it seems like only occasional behaviour as most ignore the flocks.
It is well-known in the literature. I have seen it myself, though mainly with Herring Gulls just offshore, when they were seen to actively pursue thrushes and wheatears coming in off the North Sea on the East Lothian coast during a major fall. The advantage for them then was that some birds were even more exhausted having almost completed the crossing. I didn't actually see a successful attack ever, but I 've no doubt they happened out of sight.
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Old Sunday 16th October 2016, 17:25   #73
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Redwing

Not a great shot, but best I could manage so far. These are one of our most skitterish visitors.
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Old Sunday 16th October 2016, 17:31   #74
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Blackcap Sunday

Hundreds of Redwing passing by this morning, but sightings on the platform dominated by Blackcaps. A few Brambling around, a Song Thrush and half a dozen Starlings.

Spotted an Anser type goose on the water, but too far away for certain ID.

Photos attached of a couple of female Blackcaps. Do I get extra points for cuteness?
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Old Sunday 16th October 2016, 17:37   #75
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Photos attached of a couple of female Blackcaps. Do I get extra points for cuteness?
Oh quite definitely Paul!!!! I'd like to see you beat that one!!
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