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Old Tuesday 18th October 2016, 12:38   #76
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Quiet.

Last couple of days have been very quiet. Just the odd Redwing, Blackcap and Brambling. Wind has changed to being a Southerly, so probably explains the sudden lack of migratories. The Long-tailed Duck had departed two days ago. The Velvet Scoter hung around for another day, but was gone by yesterday.

I'll be departing for three weeks tomorrow. Hoping some of those migratories will still be hanging around in Fife.
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Old Tuesday 18th October 2016, 16:41   #77
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Return of the Geese

One of my colleagues has just reported being chased by an angry Barnacle Goose!

We have also had a visit from a Pink-Footed Goose. This one I managed to get on camera.

Also, a few small migratory birds turned up. I got a few glimpses of a small greenish bird, with distinct white wing bars, but not enough to ID them. I did find a Chiffchaff, but sadly, it was going no further. A few more Starlings drifting through and a report of "lots of little birds" visiting the helideck, but I missed them. The wind, what little there is, has now swung completely around and is coming from the North. Who knows what it will bring.
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Old Wednesday 19th October 2016, 12:04   #78
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Trip Over

Well, that is my trip over.

Only a Meadow Pipit this morning and the P-F goose had roosted overnight. The area I'd first found it in yesterday was not the safest for it, so after the photos were taken, I'd ushered it away to the edge of the deck, where it then took off through the handrail and flew away strongly. Half an hour later I received a report of a Goose at another area of the platform. I turned up to find it was the same bird. This time it had landed on a little used mezzanine, right next to a large heater. As it was safe there, and seemed to be enjoying the warmth, I let it stay. There it remained overnight and was still there at first light. Again, I decided to shepherd it off the platform, as birds that stay too long here don't get any stronger. It took off and headed South, again flying strongly. Job done I thought, but an hour later it was reported to me that there was a goose on the Skid Deck. It was back. Locating it again, I decided to just let it be. It seemed strong, healthy and happy, so it could make its own mind up when to leave. Lunchtime, it was gone from the Skid Deck, and hopefully, it hasn't just relocated on the platform, but has headed off to its Winter destination.

The bird spotting out here has been prolific over the last few weeks. I'll be back and reporting in another three weeks, just catching the back end of the migration season, so I look forward to revealing further North Sea travelers in the near future.
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Old Wednesday 19th October 2016, 22:51   #79
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Nice one Gander, enjoy your time on shore, I look forward to following the thread when you return. Stunning Barnie shots by the way.
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Old Wednesday 9th November 2016, 18:04   #80
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New trip

Back on duty for the next three weeks. First walk outside and there was a Goldcrest popping about. Big numbers of GBBG and Herring Gull, but I won't make my first count until tomorrow.
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Old Thursday 10th November 2016, 08:00   #81
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Hawks

Attached are photos taken recently by a friend on another platform. They had six Kestrels and a Peregrine, all at the same time.
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Old Friday 11th November 2016, 11:55   #82
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Migration continues.

Definitely much quieter here than last month, but still a few migratory birds coming through. Eight Starlings yesterday, with five seen today (may be overnighters though). Then this morning I had my first offshore Fieldfare of this calendar year. Saw many hundreds last year, but I think with the way my rota has fallen, I missed the main FF transit over the last three weeks. Also, present this morning were a couple of Blackbirds.

On the seabird front, we have a flock of over 300 Herring Gulls that have moved in, sitting on the sea to the lee of the platform. These in addition to the 50+ resident GBBGs. Single Gannet also noted flying by.
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Old Sunday 13th November 2016, 18:56   #83
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Winter Cometh

Very little on the move out here. An owl was remorted to me yesterday, but no exact ID made (probable S-EO) and I did not get a sighting. Still a few Starling and Blackbird around, but it looks like Winter's grip is tightening.

Large flock of gulls on the water tonight. Mainly Herring Gull from what little I can see through the dark.
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Old Monday 14th November 2016, 11:52   #84
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White Beaks

School of White Beaked Dolphins made close swim by about an hour ago.
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Old Sunday 20th November 2016, 09:03   #85
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No migratory activity now. Large flock of gulls gathering at the platform each night, then mostly dispersing at first light. Carried out a count this morning, as although dark, they were close in to the lights. Estimate 600+ Herring Gulls with 100+ GBBs.
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Old Monday 21st November 2016, 14:21   #86
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Gull Menu

And here is why we are so popular with gulls of late.
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Old Saturday 26th November 2016, 15:26   #87
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Nothing but Herring and GBB Gulls over the last week. That was until today when three Kittiwakes turned up. Might not sound like much, but we don't get too many Kittiwakes.

Picture of one attached
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Old Wednesday 30th November 2016, 16:38   #88
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Herring Gull Raft

Trip just about over. Home on Friday, with finding Snow Bunting in Fife on the agenda. Just carried out a Herring Gull count of a large raft of birds alongside the platform. Well over one thousand present, and that with the raft disappearing into the darkness.
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Old Friday 2nd December 2016, 12:29   #89
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Five thirty this morning, with the wind down to 12 knots, and the sea around the platform was carpeted in Herring Gulls. Tried to count, but far too many moving birds. Conservative estimate wass more than 1,400 birds. Went back out at sunrise, and hardly a bird to be seen.

Now just waiting on a flight out of here.
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Old Thursday 22nd December 2016, 10:57   #90
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Common Scoter

Back offshore for the next three weeks. Was not expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised this morning by being greeted by four Common Scoter. First time recorded at this platform, so quite chuffed.

Pictures are not great, but it was all I could do to stand up in the 50mph + wind, no mater hold the camera steady.
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Old Thursday 22nd December 2016, 11:14   #91
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Oooh!! What a great Christmas present for you Paul. Sorry, though, to hear you're away from your family for the whole holiday.

I hope you have as great a time as you can while working.
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Old Friday 23rd December 2016, 05:57   #92
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Iceland Gull

Following yesterday's four Common Scoter, a little later in the day, we had my first ever Iceland Gull. This first winter bird was swooping around with a bunch of Kittiwake in the high winds. It did land on the water once, but was gone by the time I was able to return with a camera.

There is still a significant Herring Gull presence here. Sixty plus yesterday, and plenty still around this morning. Hopefully the IG will hang around also to allow further viewings.

The Common Scoter were still with us as darkness fell. I am informed that they have been here for at least four days prior to my arrival.
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Old Saturday 24th December 2016, 08:31   #93
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Storm Barbara

The four Common Scoter were still present yesterday morning. They were sitting there in the teeth of storm Barbara like Mallards on the village pond. 80mph + winds and 6 metre waves don't seem to have phased them in the slightest. They seem to avoid the gulls by staying upwind of the platform.

Downwind of the platform, over 120 Herring Gulls were sitting in the slightly calmer water. There were a few GBBGs mixed in, and unusually, especially for this time of year, what looks like a LBBG.

About 8 Kittiwakes counted soaring about on the disrupted air currents downwind of the platform, but no sign of the Iceland Gull seen the day before.

A single Gannet also noted passing by.
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Old Saturday 24th December 2016, 15:20   #94
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Storm Barbara.

Winds now gusting to over 90 mph, but three of the Common Scoter still present, and still looking very comfortable on stormy waters.
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Old Sunday 25th December 2016, 09:35   #95
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Christmas Day.

Christmas day count now completed. Still two Scoter present along with the more usual fifty plus Herring Gulls, five GBBG and six Kittiwakes. Wind and wave has died down a bit, but Storm Conor heading our way tomorrow.

Happy Christmas to you all.
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Old Sunday 25th December 2016, 09:52   #96
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Happy Christmas to you Paul.

A little breeze here, but the clouds are moving very fast. It's awful dark too.
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Old Monday 26th December 2016, 11:07   #97
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Extreme bird watching - Storm Conor

Currently winds up to 100 mph with 40+ ft waves, but there are still birds out there, including two Common Scoter. The flock of Herring Gulls have moved on, leaving only 3 stragglers. 5 GBBGs counted. 3 Gannets seen sitting it out on the surface, but 7 Kittiwakes still in the air - They are incredible flyers! One moment they look like paper tissues being turned upside down and inside out by the wind. The next moment they come charging past like little jet fighters. Could Kittiwakes be the best flyers in the bird world?
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Old Monday 26th December 2016, 11:23   #98
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Well I've always admired them Paul. It'd be a toss-up for me between them and Fulmars though.

We have snow here this morning - whether it is in Fife or not, I don't know.

Hope you enjoyed the day yesterday and got lots of nice pressies.
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Old Monday 26th December 2016, 13:03   #99
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Well I've always admired them Paul. It'd be a toss-up for me between them and Fulmars though.

We have snow here this morning - whether it is in Fife or not, I don't know.

Hope you enjoyed the day yesterday and got lots of nice pressies.
The Fulmars are up there with the Kittiwakes in flying terms (no pun intended). We had a large flock resident last Spring and they were amazing to watch.

A little snow back in Fife I am told, but we generally don't get much where we are unless it's an East wind that brings it. Pressies all opened prior to leaving - I couldn't wait till the middle of January. Hope you had a good one.
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Old Tuesday 27th December 2016, 05:48   #100
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Turnstone turn up.

I had to revise yesterday's Herring Gull count from three to forty plus. I spotted the flock from a higher vantage point a bit further out than usual.

It was while counting the gulls, that a Turnstone flew into view. This is a very scarce visitor offshore, and my platforms first record. A little bit sad in a way. The poor thing was battling away in the high winds and was a long way from where it was supposed to be. I can only imagining that the strong gales from the West have picked it up on the Scottish coast and blown it offshore.
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