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Old Saturday 29th September 2007, 19:05   #51
Andrew Whitehouse
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What time were you there Phil? I'm surprised I missed you!

Today's rare bird map makes for 'interesting' viewing for those of us in northeast Scotland: the land that rarities forgot. I have the feeling it's all a bit too pleasant here - blue skies and light winds most of the day. But I reckon there's still something 'out there'. Not that I found it today mind you.

Here's stuff I did see. I set out fairly early for Girdle Ness, as a few flocks of Pink-feet, a Skylark 'moving' and a Grey Wagtail headed over. The allotments, 'the tree' and the Battery were given a good seeing to, to rather little effect. Lots of Robins and rather a lot of Dunnocks too but nowt else. A Goldcrest was calling and a Song Thrush was flushed at the Battery but that was the princely sum of my endeavours. I met some folks who'd seen a Lesser Whitethroat in the burnt gorse but even that eluded. I was almost jealous.

Well, hopefully it would all be happening on the sea. And to be fair it was okay at first but did tail off to some extent. I positioned myself on 'the chair' today, from 10:50 to 12:35. Lots of stuff was going through but once again it seemed that commoner seabirds and a few ducks were the order of the day. The haul (north unless otherwise stated): 6 Bonxies, 13 Manx Shearwaters (1S), 4 Sooty Shearwaters (3 together), 10 Arctic Terns, 9 Fulmars, 1 Arctic Skua (although see below!), 1 Goldeneye, 18 Teal, 15 Mallard, 3 Velvet Scoters (1S), 9 Wigeon, 2 Common Scoters, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Puffins, 4 Dunlin, 6 Red-throated Divers (1S and 1 on the sea) and a Harbour Porpoise. So varied at the very least.

The frustrating birds were four juvenile skuas going north, both in pairs. Now, I'm not that good at juvenile skuas, particularly at a bit of a distance. But I'm very used to seeing Arctic Skuas. Immediately I saw all of these birds they looked different. They 'felt' small and seemed slender and had rather steady tern-like flight. It was hard to make out anything in the plumage, and very hard to see any white in the wings. I sometimes got a bit of a gingery brown hint, which worried me a bit. Anyway, they did seem a bit like juvenile Long-tailed Skuas. But I'm not putting them down as that. I've never (and I'm admitting this for the first time) seen a juvenile Long-tailed that I'm happy with, so I'm a bit reluctant to ID them on jizz. I think I need to see a few well before I start doing that. But I reckon they might well have been Long-tails. Hmm...

I then went 'Southside' as we say at Girdle Ness, and had a good look through gorse bushes whilst dodging flying golf balls. There were probably hordes of Barred Warblers and tricky Acros lurking but the bushes were resolutely unyielding. A Wheatear on the golf course put in an underwhelming bid for the accolade of 'Migrant of the Day'. Butterflies were out in the sun: 1 Painted Lady, a Green-veined White and 2 Peacocks.

Some late afternoon watching from the flat was better than I thought it would be, with half a dozen very obvious Arctic Skuas going north including a pale phase adult. As usual they were cruising about, looking like they own the place, and inconveniencing the passing Kittiwakes. There's more: 49 Wigeon, a pair of 'new for the house list' Goldeneye, at least 8 Arctic Terns, 2 Manx Shearwaters, 1 Common Scoter, 5 Mallards and a Red-throated Diver (S). 23 Turnstones were counted on the small southern breakwater. They wouldn't have been sitting on the large breakwater (see below).
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Old Saturday 29th September 2007, 19:06   #52
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Nothing really exciting but a Torry bird,all the same.I had a Common Buzzard flying over the locally called "Hen Houses" on Farquar Road at 8am.It was being chased by Magpies.5 years ago,both these species would never have been seen in the Torry area.How things are changing..!
I've still not seen a Buzzard over Torry, although I sometimes see them on the hill south of Nigg Bay, which isn't far away. I'll be scanning the skies for one 'in off' during the autumn.
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Old Saturday 29th September 2007, 20:01   #53
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What time were you there Phil? I'm surprised I missed you!
I was at the breakwater steps till about 14:00 then at the foghorn (later with Ken Hall and Rob King) till about 17:20. I found the light very awkward today, and because the only tripod I've got is a bit flimsy, I had a lot of trouble with scope-shake. I did see one or two odd things go by that I couldn't get on to properly. Didn't do as well as you, though, for skuas, though had most of the ducks and divers you mention off and on.

Oh, we did see some Bottle-nosed Dolphins about 16:45 going towards the harbour surrounded by gulls.

Cheers,

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Old Sunday 30th September 2007, 11:27   #54
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I had my first winter Thrushes this morning.6 (vocal) Fieldfare flying in off the coast towards Tullos Football Pitch at 8.15am.
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Old Sunday 30th September 2007, 15:32   #55
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Stayed at home today. Beautiful day.

From the windows (front and back) so far today:

F. Sparrowhawk (pr playing tag), Buzzard 1 SW and 1 soaring low over Cromwell Road Recreation Ground (1) accompanied by a halo of twelve Swallows then went high and again SW, Peregrine W, several Blackibird looking flighty, hundreds of Geese north.

B. tens of Geese north, Sparrowhawk, 1 House Martin, 6 Carrion Crow, several small finchy things, prob. Godlfinch,and Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Jackdaw and Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove.

No Redwings so far today though had 5-6 yesterday.

(1) The best place so far for raptors over Aberdeen, I've found.

Cheers,
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Old Sunday 30th September 2007, 19:45   #56
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I didn't see too much from the flat today except for a soaring Sparrowhawk and *drum roll* my first Great Tit from the house. About time too. It certainly wasn't happening on the sea, although I did see a couple of Bottle-nosed Dolphins briefly.

Late afternoon I had an exploratory wander around Tullos Hill, which is the rather scruffy looking mound to the south of Nigg Bay. I did find a bit that I reckon is worthy of more exploration, at the eastern end of Tullos Wood, south of the railway line. Only a few hundred metres from the sea but nicely sheltered with a good mix of trees and weedy bits and even a mucky looking pond. It had a nice air of illegality to it as well, as if the only people that know about it are probably kids skiving off school or the local criminal fraternity. Didn't see much there today though, but wait for a strong southeaster and bit of mist and drizzle and it'll all be down there.
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Old Monday 1st October 2007, 19:39   #57
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We actually had a sprinkling of rain last night, so I thought I'd have a quick amble round the allotments and the battery early this morning. And this revealed that a real migration unhappening had come to pass. Not very much at all. Except lots of Robins and Dunnocks still. Did we get loads of those whilst everyone else got Yellow-browed Warblers instead? A bit like they got Sabine's Gulls and Grey Phalaropes and we got loads of Gannets. I baggsy the Yellow-broweds and Sabs next time. Still, there was a good morning flight of Pink-footed Geese heading northwards and a Siskin flew over. The sea was very quiet again in the all too nice weather. It's officially Indian summer. Although I did see the usual crowd of Bottle-nosed Dolphins. And got some pictures, specially for Laura. I think these really capture the majesterial grace of cetaceans.
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Old Monday 1st October 2007, 20:28   #58
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If it's any consolation Andrew, I never saw either Grey Phalarope or Sabine's Gull at Girdleness in thirteen years of looking. Lots of Yellow-Broweds though.
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Old Monday 1st October 2007, 20:31   #59
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If it's any consolation Andrew, I never saw either Grey Phalarope or Sabine's Gull at Girdleness in thirteen years of looking. Lots of Yellow-Broweds though.
It's nice to know someone else has struggled a bit with Sabine's. I've still not seen a Yellow-browed at Girdle Ness, although I've seen (and found) a few elsewhere in the city.
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Old Monday 1st October 2007, 20:55   #60
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And got some pictures, specially for Laura. I think these really capture the majesterial grace of cetaceans.
Where?
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Old Monday 1st October 2007, 21:06   #61
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Where?
I told you they'd be good. Bear in mind that these were taken from my bedroom. And they're really quite a long way off.

Still up there with some badger photos I can think of .
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Old Monday 1st October 2007, 21:26   #62
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Joking Andrew, just joking - must confess they are probably better than some of the badger shots, considering!
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Old Tuesday 2nd October 2007, 12:37   #63
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Nice thread Andrew, but considering the amount of time you must be spending looking out of your flat with a telescope, surely it's only a matter of time before the neighbours (see post#2, first photograph) get the polis round!
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Old Tuesday 2nd October 2007, 15:08   #64
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Enjoying this thread. I shall be expecting a King Eider being seen from your flat window this winter.
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Old Tuesday 2nd October 2007, 18:19   #65
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Enjoying this thread. I shall be expecting a King Eider being seen from your flat window this winter.
So long as it's during his early November housewarming party!
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Old Tuesday 2nd October 2007, 18:59   #66
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I shall do my best with the Kingie, although it seems to prefer Peterhead in the winter. Not sure why. I'll also try to avoid having my collar felt by the old bill.
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Old Tuesday 2nd October 2007, 19:56   #67
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The sea was quiet again today. Well, it probably made a bit of noise, burbling and crashing and stuff, but there weren't many birds flying over it, is what I mean. Or sitting on it come to that. But the usual Bottle-nosed Dolphins were still up to their old tricks. I know them better than I know my neighbours. Who I'm not spying on, in case Grampian Police are reading this.

So with not much happening one way, I thought I'd give city skyline a good grilling. And I soon started seeing raptors. I'd already had a Sparrowhawk soaring over the garden whilst I was hanging the washing out and now there were two over the city, making the pigeons flip their wig. They were quite close together at one stage, almost as if they were hunting in tandem, which seems a bit of an unlikely thing for Sparrowhawks to do. I also watched a distant Buzzard, soaring over the city centre. Another house tick was a Fieldfare flying in over the harbour.
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Old Wednesday 3rd October 2007, 19:16   #68
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There was a bit of mist and drizzle first thing so I thought I'd have a quick look round Girdle Ness to see if it had brought anything down. Err, no. Well, there was a pair of Stonechats at the Battery and my first two Redwings of the autumn. And there's still a few Robins about. A 'good' local bird was a Farmyard Goose honking away at Footdee. An immature Peregrine flew over the harbour mouth, the first I've seen for a while, and a Sparrowhawk was darting along the north shore. I scoped one later on in the day over the city centre. And *fanfare of trumpets* my first Dunnocks for the house list - two at once! And I got a text from my Mum telling me she was watching the Subalpine Warbler in Norfolk. A top day!

Tomorrow looks good though, if we get some proper rain overnight.
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Old Wednesday 3rd October 2007, 19:32   #69
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We've had some 'proper' rain here tonight Andrew - don't know which way it's going though.

Oh and BTW you're needed in another thread

D
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Old Thursday 4th October 2007, 16:07   #70
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Well, I think we only got a bit of the proper rain but it was still a good, damp, dark and misty morning here. Surely this would have brought something in. Off down the road to Girdle Ness, and a Redwing was in the Whitebeams that I passed on the way, offering at least a glimmer of hope. The allotments were a bit quiet though, with just a few Dunnocks hopping about, and so I carried on to the Battery. Clearly there'd been a few thrushes come in, with perhaps 20 each of Blackbird and Redwing and half a dozen or more Song Thrushes. A Wheatear was on the golf course and a Golden Plover was heard calling. Alas, the hoped for warblers weren't sneaking about the bushes. A species that seemed to be everywhere was Rock Pipit, which are usually fairly common here anyway but a flock of 24 in the lighthouse field suggested that at least some had arrived from elsewhere. On the south side, the gorse turned up a bit of a mega (well almost) in the shape of a Whinchat, embarrassingly enough my first of the year. There was also a female Stonechat to add to one on Greyhope Bay.

Then, a text providing me with the interesting information that the allotments, previously referred to as 'a bit quiet', were in fact harbouring a Common Rosefinch. That's nice, I thought. I bet I probably walked right past it. Anyway, about turn and back up the hill. I had a good wander round, met a few other birders, and didn't see anything. Not even a dull looking juvenile Greenfinch or Linnet I could string. Eventually, I met up with Richard Schofield, who'd been more observant than me in finding the bird earlier, and we wandered through the middle of the allotments towards where a few folk have put up feeders. And there, perched on the fence was the Common Rosefinch. Although I actually prefer to call them Scarlet Rosefinches myself. But then again, maybe they should really be called Not Very Common Brownfinches. That's a bit more on the money. But it gave decent views for a few minutes and was actually rather neat, in a streaky brown kind of way. Then it flew off with a few sparrows.

As I can see the allotments from my flat, I guess the challenge now is to scope it for the house list.
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Old Thursday 4th October 2007, 16:35   #71
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A digiscoped picture from your house would be nice Andrew.!!
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Old Thursday 4th October 2007, 20:41   #72
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A digiscoped picture from your house would be nice Andrew.!!
It might be a bit too far for anything more than a vague blur. I might try and get a shot from a bit closer if it's still around tomorrow though!
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Old Thursday 4th October 2007, 21:56   #73
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Curse the title of this thread Andrew!

Whilst painting a fence yesterday, my brain kept repeating the catchy words of "Birds fae Torry" like a metronome!

Now I have typed this, it will probably do so again for an hour or two!
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Old Friday 5th October 2007, 18:55   #74
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'Birds fae Torry' is actually a code that enables me to subliminally control people. Glad to hear you're under my power Andrew. You can put the gun down now.

This morning a few glances from the flat produced an exciting flat tick: a Golden Plover sneaking about on the golf course. A couple of Buzzards were scoped very distantly - on Donside in fact. 'The usual' Sparrowhawk was soaring over the city centre and a Swallow flew west. The 'inevitable' Bottle-nosed Dolphins were again moseying, as dolphins do, at the harbour mouth.

I had quite a good walk round Girdle Ness and didn't see a lot, but took a few pictures of various bits which I thought I could incorporate into a sort of virtual tour of 'Aberdeen's premier migrant hotspot'. It might take me a while to do this though!

In case you're wondering what I actually did see, err, well, I looked for the Common Rosefinch but no show. It might still be worth looking for though. A Golden Plover was hanging with the Oystercatchers on the north shore and four Redwings were at the Battery. 2 Purple Sandpipers and 2 Ringed Plovers were on Greyhope Bay and 3 Knot were below the foghorn. There's officially 'nothing' on the sea at the moment but I did cop 17 Wigeon going south. Then a protracted amble round Tullos Hill turned up nowt but a Buzzard, a female Stonechat and a Roe Deer. Add to this a couple of Goldcrests, a Red Admiral and a Painted Lady and you can see that it's been a good solid and rewarding day of local patch working, serving as a model to less experienced birders who might be tempted by big rares in far away places. Just say no kids.
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Old Friday 5th October 2007, 19:03   #75
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Add to this a couple of Goldcrests, a Red Admiral and a Painted Lady and you can see that it's been a good solid and rewarding day of local patch working, serving as a model to less experienced birders who might be tempted by big rares in far away places. Just say no kids.
You never give up, do you?

Just might make me nasty enough to express my opinion of English folk who head North and then adopt the dialect. A tad pretentious, don't you think?
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