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Old Thursday 10th December 2009, 09:42   #26
ring ouzel
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Headed back via Tesco in Inverness and there is a pretty good Starling roost that I will come back to photograph on a quieter day.

Yeah, right! Good luck with that Marcus! Tesco's, especially at this time of year wont be quiet until about, oh, late January. I have often seen the roost but never any raptors in attendance, I presume there must be some.

Nice tick seeing red kite south of the Firth, saw one last week at Craig Phadraig but usually they are on the proper side of the Firth towards Tore. We have them regularly over our house.

I am off work tomorrow so hoping to get out somewhere, probably the Black Isle.
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Old Thursday 10th December 2009, 10:34   #27
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In my experience the premier Blackisle site for Red Kite has to be Kilmuir :http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?x...uir,+Highland+[City/Town/Village]&searchp=ids.srf&mapp=map.srf

At this time of year Kites from all over the area congragate in woods to the north of the church ruins, forming quite a sizeable winter roost. I've regularly counted 35+ individuals on many visits but I think the record stands at about 75! It's well worth a visit anytime between 3pm and dusk to get views of the Kites circling over the roost site, and to watch birds comming in from every direction. It can be quite spectacular and a fair challenge tring to count the birds as they wheel in and out of view over the trees...

If anyone decides on a visit let me know how many Kites you see, I bet you get more that 20....
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Old Thursday 10th December 2009, 13:26   #28
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Hi Marcus

Welcome to Inverness! We have 2 clubs here, the RSPB and the SOC. If you like sea birds go here, there's also a kingfisher here and my friend phoned me yesterday to tell me she had watched it for about 20 minutes fishing!

As others have said Culbin forest is great, we had crossbills (jury is out on what kind) follow us as we walked round, but, next time we went they were no where to be seen!! Charleston west of north kessock has a small parking area close to an inlet that has lots of geese, teal, dunlin, godwits....

We are newish to birding but if i can help let me know

Regards

Alison

p.s should really read to the end of a thread! just saw you had been to culbin, HH said about merkinch and you found the SOC!!
Marcus

Been a member of the SOC in the Lothians (while living in Edinburgh)



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Old Thursday 10th December 2009, 17:26   #29
Marcus Conway - ebirder
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Today I had to cross the border again to take my OH to a meeting in Elgin. I took the chance to visit Burghead and drift back along Moray coast.

I parked up and immediately a corking female Sparrowhawk came over and disturbed the Turnstone and Redshank. Didn't stick to have its photo taken unfortunately. I headed along the shore and noted a good number (maybe 30) Long Tailed Duck in just a few minutes. I settled down to do some scanning and pick out a distant Diver sp and a Common Scoter. Other than that it was loads of Long Tailed Duck and Eider.

After about two hours the King Eider came into view, albeit a bit distantly. It slowly drifted towards me over the next few hours but never close enough for frame fillers. I did get some nice Squaws (must over 200 in that bay, including some flocks of 15 or more) so it was time well spent. I was trying to get them in flight - they are very quick. After a while I pretty much worked out anything flying fast that was black and white was a Long Tail so I just started taking shots. Then got onto one whirring past at distance and what do you know? It's a corking Little Auk. Grabbed a record shot and went back to the car and tried to warm up.

Came back via Findhorn and found a nice tree with some Redwings grabbed some shots and then headed to Tesco. I naughtily parked the Landy across two spaces and got some shots of the Starlings whilst the shoppers looked on

Off to Speyside and the Cairns tomorrow I think. Fancy some white Ptarms - is there anywhere closer to Inverness?

I'll try and upload some images later

Last edited by Marcus Conway - ebirder : Thursday 10th December 2009 at 21:15.
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Old Thursday 10th December 2009, 21:56   #30
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Ben Eighe (the Mountain Trail) has ptarmigan and is closer than the 'Gorms. Ben Wyvis might have some too.
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Old Friday 11th December 2009, 21:08   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Conway - ebirder View Post
Today I had to cross the border again to take my OH to a meeting in Elgin. I took the chance to visit Burghead and drift back along Moray coast.

I parked up and immediately a corking female Sparrowhawk came over and disturbed the Turnstone and Redshank. Didn't stick to have its photo taken unfortunately. I headed along the shore and noted a good number (maybe 30) Long Tailed Duck in just a few minutes. I settled down to do some scanning and pick out a distant Diver sp and a Common Scoter. Other than that it was loads of Long Tailed Duck and Eider.

After about two hours the King Eider came into view, albeit a bit distantly. It slowly drifted towards me over the next few hours but never close enough for frame fillers. I did get some nice Squaws (must over 200 in that bay, including some flocks of 15 or more) so it was time well spent. I was trying to get them in flight - they are very quick. After a while I pretty much worked out anything flying fast that was black and white was a Long Tail so I just started taking shots. Then got onto one whirring past at distance and what do you know? It's a corking Little Auk. Grabbed a record shot and went back to the car and tried to warm up.

Came back via Findhorn and found a nice tree with some Redwings grabbed some shots and then headed to Tesco. I naughtily parked the Landy across two spaces and got some shots of the Starlings whilst the shoppers looked on

Off to Speyside and the Cairns tomorrow I think. Fancy some white Ptarms - is there anywhere closer to Inverness?

I'll try and upload some images later
Congratulations Marcus, some brilliant birds and a great day out. Burghead sounds like quite a tempting location to go and see some nice birds before the end of the year.
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Old Friday 11th December 2009, 21:31   #32
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I went up into the Cairngorms today. Carried all my kit for miles on on the icy slopes, and couldn't find the Ptarmigans. I heard them recthing a couple of times, but couldn't see them.

A mountain hare, a red grouse and the snow buntings were some compensation.
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Old Friday 11th December 2009, 21:36   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Conway - ebirder View Post
I went up into the Cairngorms today. Carried all my kit for miles on on the icy slopes, and couldn't find the Ptarmigans. I heard them recthing a couple of times, but couldn't see them.

A mountain hare, a red grouse and the snow buntings were some compensation.
Should be plenty in Coire an Lochan. Usually a few groups around the boulders. Certainly were a few weeks ago.
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Old Friday 11th December 2009, 21:37   #34
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Should be plenty in Coire an Lochan. Usually a few groups around the boulders. Certainly were a few weeks ago.
That's where I went. Been there to photograph them before. Chap coming down said he had twenty white ones, but I couldn't find them at all
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Old Friday 11th December 2009, 21:53   #35
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That's where I went. Been there to photograph them before. Chap coming down said he had twenty white ones, but I couldn't find them at all
Yeah I think I've met the "chap coming down" many times up there too That guarantees you will see 0. Best avoid him! He's always just seen a stunning Caper when you meet him in the woods too!
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Old Friday 11th December 2009, 21:59   #36
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Noticed there were quite a few thrushes and Robins about today around Inverness. Get the impression a second wave of birds is coming in, perhaps ahead of the very cold weather which is moving west. Also had a Coal Tit calling near the canal which am pretty sure was a continental type bird. Picked them up by call in Strathspey in winter, hard to describe, but it's quite different from local birds. Also up to 5 Jays have been seen in Strathspey this week, again, seems a big movement of birds out of the continent perhaps.
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Old Sunday 13th December 2009, 11:59   #37
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I've noticed lots of thrushes too.

I headed to Abriachan Forest yesterday where there were plenty of Crossbills. Also a Great Spot, and a couple of Treecreepers. Headed to Blackfold where there were more Crossbills and Cresties. A couple of Stonechats were on show too.

Earlier I had a disappearing large Accipiter (sp). Maybe just a fem sparrowhawk...
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Old Sunday 13th December 2009, 19:23   #38
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Some shots

Crested Tit
Crested Tit
Long Tailed Duck
King Eider
Little Auk (record shot)
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Old Sunday 13th December 2009, 19:33   #39
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Speaking as an ex-Highlander.........ask Santa for Midge repellant!

The wildlife is spectacular... but not when it's crawling in your hair.. and nibbling at you eye lids!
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Old Monday 14th December 2009, 10:53   #40
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Some shots

Crested Tit
Crested Tit
Long Tailed Duck
King Eider
Little Auk (record shot)
Brilliant shots, I love them all.
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Old Monday 14th December 2009, 10:58   #41
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I've got my first trip to Mull booked for June next year which I'm really looking forward too. Can't wait to see if it lives up to the wonderful photographs and footage I've seen recently.

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It will exceed all your expectations, Di, believe me!
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Old Monday 14th December 2009, 11:49   #42
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This is a page I put together to help visitors to Mull.

Enjoy!

http://ebirder.net/mullgen.aspx

(There is no gen regarding nesting birds. Please contact me if you feel there are any locations that should be removed form the map and with other suggestions of improvements.)
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Old Monday 14th December 2009, 17:30   #43
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Some shots

Crested Tit
Crested Tit
Long Tailed Duck
King Eider
Little Auk (record shot)
The first photo of the Crested Tit is just amazing. Love it!

TS
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Old Monday 14th December 2009, 20:17   #44
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Speaking as an ex-Highlander.........ask Santa for Midge repellant!

The wildlife is spectacular... but not when it's crawling in your hair.. and nibbling at you eye lids!
Must say they do seem to be getting even worse! They are hell, nothing works to repel them at all (forget the wives tales and fancy toiletries) THEY DON'T WORK! I've tried and tested the lot. At best they work for a short while, but unless you can carry a few gallon drums of the stuff with you....a waste of money.

Only answer is either stay in or cover up.

Last edited by jpoyner : Monday 14th December 2009 at 20:19.
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Old Wednesday 16th December 2009, 18:07   #45
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Been mainly around Inverness for the last few days, with trip to Chanonry for high tide today. All the usual stuff around. Party of 11 Ringed Plover came quite close mingled with 50 or so Dunlin. Long Tailed Duck, Goosander, Merganser, Goldeneye etc.

Have been checking gulls a lot but nothing of note.

A freshly plucked carcass outside the house this morning was interesting.
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Old Saturday 19th December 2009, 15:36   #46
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Spent a few hours in the Findhorn Valley yesterday. Passerines oddly provided the main interest. A couple of Stonechat in the snow, a flock of about 15 Redpoll (all looked like Lesser), and then most impressive a flock of some 50 Snow Bunting near the raptor watch car park. I put some seed down, but they just moved on after a kestrel came over.

Plenty of Ravens and Buzzards, and a very distant Golden Eagle.
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Old Tuesday 22nd December 2009, 15:48   #47
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Knocking about with the chaffinches, greenfinches and goldfinches at our bird table today were several bramblings and a single, male yellowhammer. This was in Muir of Ord.
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Old Saturday 26th December 2009, 22:38   #48
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Very severe freeze currently inland around Strathspey. Currently down to -16C in Nethy as I write, with 37cm of lying snow! Has not been above freezing at all for over a week now, pretty severe even for here (interesting media has got bored of the cold snap since it warmed up a bit down south )

Already a noticeable impact on birds, with tits and finches very few and far between. Also heard reports from local farmer of pretty desperate looking Buzzards being seen. I even saw Greylag Geese today coming to a local cattle feeder along with corvids. Cannot possibly see anywhere else they could be feeding and most along with all other waterfowl have moved out. Apart from the Spey (which is beginning to ice over), there is no free-standing fresh water at all now in the area.

I imagine the Eagles will be doing well with a few deer carcasses to find no doubt.

Current forecast is for snow again Monday with even colder (!) air moving in from the north by Tuesday, then further snow later in the week. My car is currently stuck fast on the farm track until I dig it out, lucky the shops are closed anyway! That's winter in the Highlands! Nice white Christmas though............15cm of the stuff fell!
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Old Saturday 26th December 2009, 22:53   #49
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Hope you enjoyed your Christmas John.

It's freezing but not quite that cold here. I think it was sometime in the '80s that the temperatures went down that much, isn't it? We had foot long icicles hanging off the eaves!

D
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Old Saturday 26th December 2009, 23:00   #50
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Hope you enjoyed your Christmas John.

It's freezing but not quite that cold here. I think it was sometime in the '80s that the temperatures went down that much, isn't it? We had foot long icicles hanging off the eaves!

D
Hope you had a great Christmas too! Its heading for the coldest for several decades at least I think. I would say tonight could easily hit -20C (I am now at -17), unless it clouds over. It is looking like a bad one, certainly no thaw in sight until after New Year at least from what I can see. If the birds have any sense they will have cleared off south, which I suspect many have.
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