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Birds fae Torry (1 Viewer)

Alan Knox

Member
Hi Alan, I wasn't aware of that, I'll check it out, but I have been adding my mammal sightings to birdtrack. Should I also add to the NESBRec? Or if only one site, which one is best? I actually reported the badger sett to scottishbadgers.org.
Hi Andy - BirdTrack is good, or if you record a lot of mammals you may find Mammal Mapper more convenient as you can log stuff on the go in the field using their app. If you're doing either of those you don't need to send to NESBReC as well for stuff to get through to the annual report or to NBN. Thanks for the records!
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
I've been away for a few days and, pleasingly but predictably, was greeted by two Swifts on my return today. I suspect they may have arrived earlier in the week.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Had a walk around the headland this evening. A Collared Dove flying behind the house as I departed was my first of the year locally. One species I've been looking for over recent weeks gave itself up: two Common Sandpipers along the north shore. A pair of Black Guillemots were in Nigg Bay and five Swifts were gathered at dusk.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Today turned out to be reasonably interesting. The weather was warm and sometimes sunny. Swifts were more numerous today with a flock, possibly migrating, of 30 picked out over the city. A pleasant wander round St Fittick's didn't produce a huge amount, although it was good to see my first brood of Moorhens of the year. A Yellowhammer was singing in the trees north of the reedbed and another one was seen on the south bank of the headland. A Black Guillemot was again in Nigg Bay.

The headland was quiet but two Wheatears were around. 48 Common Terns around Greyhope Bay was a decent count. Seawatching started fairly quietly, although a Puffin north was my first of the year. Also moving were a Common Scoter, three Red-throated Divers and another Black Guillemot.

At around 12.40 I picked out two medium sized birds coming steadily but purposefully south about a kilometre out. The hazy conditions made it hard to discern details at first but, despite looking fairly light and slim, they seemed like skuas. This was confirmed when they briefly started chasing after a group of Kittiwakes that they had ousted from the sea. When they came a bit closer and did the same thing with another group of Kittiwakes I could see the shape and pattern more clearly, particularly when they came up against the sky. These were clearly adult Long-tailed Skuas, with lovely long tail plumes and a dark suffusion across the belly merging into the white of the breast. They soon continued on south and I followed them all the way to the new harbour wall, taking some extremely revealing photos at the same time. It's only the second time I've had birds in the spring. Presumably, they were two of the 300+ that went past the Western Isles yesterday but, for reasons best known to themselves, they must have turned right rather than left on reaching the North Sea.

On returning home, it was interesting to see several Bottlenose Dolphins a long way into the harbour, with a couple right up around the mouth of the River Dee channel.

It's possible that I might try another 'big day' tomorrow. Last year at around the same time I managed 80 species. I wonder how well I can do this year.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
The big day was so 'big' I was too tired to write it up last night! Things begin just after 4pm and finished at 9.20pm. I walked 18 miles around Torry and Girdle Ness and had the aim of beating last year's total of 80 species. The weather was rather similar to last year, with fairly calm conditions through the morning but the wind picking up a bit in the afternoon and evening.

I began at dawn in St Fittick's. A good selection of the usual stuff was singing and I was pleased to hear a couple of vocal Water Rails in the marsh, a species I missed last year. I continued over the headland to the foghorn, getting good views of a Yellowhammer on the way. The sea was very busy, as it was all day. The only problem was looking into the sun. Seawatching was important for the day list, as it's often the best source of 'quirky' birds that aren't expected. The early morning watch was productive, featuring three Arctic Skuas, six Whimbrel, two Red-breasted Mergansers, 23 Common Scoters, two Puffins, 35 Manx Shearwaters, seven Arctic Terns and a somewhat random Mute Swan. I mopped up a few more things around the headland and, after five hours of birding, returned home for breakfast on 70 species. I knew the hard part was coming next though.

I decided to head along the River Dee next, as I knew a few things might be possible there that I wouldn't get around the headland. A male Grey Wagtail showed nicely by the footbridge and a Buzzard soared in the distance, bringing me to 72. I continued downstream back along the north shore of the headland. This eventually proved productive with a Black Guillemot flying into Greyhope Bay, where both Dunlin and Sanderling were along the shore. Perhaps the most surprising birds of the day were picked out north of the harbour: a pair of Wigeon resting on the sea. Quite an unexpected species in May.

I was now on 77 species and it was only mid-afternoon. I headed back to St Fittick's, where there were a few more possible species to look for. I soon found two: Bullfinch and Redpoll. I was hoping my 80th species would also be the 80th and last species I saw last year: Long-tailed Tit. Sadly, there was no sign. They're often hard to find at this time of year. I still had the evening to add to the total and decided it was best to go around the headland again, since there were a number of possibilities. Unfortunately, none of those possibilities showed up. Sometimes the birds just aren't there. The shedloads of common seabirds moving offshore didn't include anything new, although 44 Manx Shearwaters took the day total up to a decent 79.

This was still a pretty successful day, although I missed more of the 'regular' species than I did last year. You can see my full list (minus Common Scoter and Purple Sandpiper, which are concealed).
 

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Cucurrucucu

Cucurrucucu
Supporter
The pictures are great for us learners. Please post examples more often. I need them!
Pity we can't put up audio. I am quite discombobulated by the racket from the bushes at the moment. Song thrush in one ear, blackbird in the other with robins, willow warblers and wrens carrying on between them. How do I disentangle something rarer from the cacophony?
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
The pictures are great for us learners. Please post examples more often. I need them!
Pity we can't put up audio. I am quite discombobulated by the racket from the bushes at the moment. Song thrush in one ear, blackbird in the other with robins, willow warblers and wrens carrying on between them. How do I disentangle something rarer from the cacophony?
It should be possible to attach sound files, at least in some formats e.g. MP3. Picking out something unusual is sometimes hard, particularly when lots of other stuff is singing. There's no substitute for learning the common stuff and really listening carefully in the field. Recordings can sometimes help, particularly if you can analyse them with sonograms. Sometimes it's easier to 'see' the sound rather than hear it.
 

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