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Caithness Birding (1 Viewer)

kas

Well-known member
Set out this morning with two goals in mind.

First goal was achieved very easily. Grey Plover.
There has been 2 seen at Castlehill this last week, but they have never been there when I visited, but today one was present a Life bird for me.:D

Second goal was to try and find Fiachra the swan mentioned in the post above.
I found 86 Whoopers near to the area he transmitted from last night. They were 2 fields away from the road, but still all looked my way when I got out the car. So Had I tried to go through some fields to get closer they probably would have taken to the sky.
Luckily I spotted a yellow collar, sadly I could not read it. A bit of patience also revealed a yellow leg ring. The light was very poor this morning as you will see from the photos I attempted.

Is it him ? I do not know. I have sent a grid ref to the WWT to see if they can confirm. I have never seen a Whooper with a neckband before so I do not know how common they are. :h?:

There was also 15 Whoopers on St Johns, 58 between Calder and Halkirk and 30-40 on Scramsclate.

Not much moving at Dunnet bay at all. An Arctic Tern (juv) was still where I saw one of four yesterday. Should it not be away by now?
A Slavonian Grebe at Loch Calder and hundreds of Greylags between Shebster and Westfield.

Thurso bay also extremely empty although I suspect it could have something to do with the 3 jetskis being out most afternoon.

Also seen Kestrel, 10 Buzzards, Peregrine, usual Corvids and Gulls, Pochard, Tufted ducks, Goldeneye, Mallard, Wigeon, Red-throated Diver, Mute Swan, Eider, Shag, Cormorant Guillemot, Black Guillemot, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank, Blackbird, Wren, Stonechat, Chaffinch, Starling, Goldfinch, Lapwing, Gannet.
 

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kas

Well-known member
2 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall, 1Common Scoter at Loch of Mey on Sunday and a Curlew sandpiper at Castlehill yesterday.

I went back out to West Greenland today as the swan above was not Fiachra, but he was reported there this morning at 0930. Sadly I could see no sign of a transmitter on any of the 121 Whooper Swans backs, but the majority of the birds were two fields away.There was also 30 Greylags. 2 Whoopers also flew in from the firth around 4 this afternoon.

Large groups of Starlings around the county, and have seen some nice displays over Holborn Head. Blackbird numbers appear to be rising as well.

I had a fantastic view of a Raven today but had no camera. It was gliding above a roadside hedge west of Janetstown. It did not flinch when I stopped the car 4-5m away from it.

Plenty Buzzards hunting today, 3 Kestrels and a Sparrowhawk across from our house. Large gull groups scattered around the west side of the county. A red-throated diver below the house, but on the whole Dunnet and Thurso bay are very quiet. 20-30 Wigeon at Thurso River mouth.
 

kas

Well-known member
Sorry I dont have much to report as have been working.

Redwings on the brae outside the house this morning when I was heading for work. They must have arrived over night.

Black throated diver in the bay this dinnertime, also a Red throated diver, Cormorants, Shags, a Gannet and gulls. Pretty quiet really. A lot of surfers as their is a proffesional champoinship on at the mo.

Yesterday there was quite a few Guillemots and Razorbills as well as Long-tailed ducks, 4 Red-throated divers, 2 Black guillemots, Eiders, Cormorants, Shags, Wigeon, Gannets and gulls. Redshank, Oystercathcher, Curlew and Turnstones on the shore.

A flock of Greylags at Upper Dounreay. Hoping to get out tommorrow.
The first of the grey seal pups have arrived in the county as well.
 

kas

Well-known member
Went out on Sunday morning a bit worse for wear from the following evening so I did not get an early start. This could have been while the local woodland did not have much to offer, or it could be because I am a terrible woodland birder.

I saw Chaffinch, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Goldcrest, Blackbird, Robin, Redwing, Sparrowhawk, Rook and Jackdaw. That was it. I can not believe I did not see a Siskin as I have been told there has been a HIgh influx this last week.

There was at least 250 Greylags and 10 Greenland White-fronted Geese near shebster including Orange Neckband BNN. There may have been more Geese as they were on top of a small hill and there was geese on the other side. There were small flocks of geese flying around nearly everywhere I went. Redwings were just along the road, with a possible Brambling in a neep field. I only caught a quick glimpse.

Then I had an hour and a half so I thought I would chance a look for Fiachra. No sign though. 24 Whoopers (2juvs)outside Castletown and 9 near Stainland (5juvs). Was crossing towards Poolhoy at Stempster when I noted a thrush in a bush. Got out and there was my first fieldfare of the season in fact there were 7. They then flew into a filed where I discovered at least 3-400 of them with the odd Redwing. Plent fields full of gulls around the county, and found 10 Roe deer feeding in a field of cattle and a Buzzard hunting insects in the middle of them.

I also had 40 House Sparrows in the garden.

Other birders saw
152 Whoopers at St Johns along with 5 Slavionain Grebes, a
good bunch of Scaup (all juvs and females), over 100 Pochard and a St Johns record 60+siskins.
At Yarrows Whoopers and Greylags were heading south and south east over
the Moray Firth, Fieldfares 70+ and Snow Buntings going west.

Saturday at Loch of Mey,80 to 100 Greeenland White-fronted Geese. Purple sandpipers in, with 50 at Harrow and a handful at Thurso. Several hundred Golden Plovers at Barrogill and 1000+ at Reiss, and again high siskin numbers.

I got a call from a friend today to say she had a bird, which turned out to be a Storm Petrel that had been blown in by the strong westerly winds. I am hoping it recovered so it could be released this evening from the ferry to Dafi Land.
 

kas

Well-known member
The Amercian Wigeon has returned to the Wick River for what I think is its 4th winter.

A Tree sparrow was near John O Goroats yesterday, I have never seen one myself. 8 Mistle Thrushes at Castlehill and a report of lots of Linnets on the move.

I saw an Iceland gull today from the window at work. I think it was a 2nd year bird but not 100% sure.

I have been at work during all daylight hours so the only birds I have seen have been there.

For my BTO Atlas Roving records I have recorded Robin, Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Raven (first I have ever seen here), Redwing, Blackbird, Iceland Gull, Greylag Goose, Herring gull, Starling, Buzzard, Gannet, Eider, Kestrel, Pied Wagtail, Lapwing and Starling. I have seen plenty of small finch size birds in the distance but never close enough to ID.
 

kas

Well-known member
Reay Bonxie, you put the kiss of death on my reports. November the 8th was the day of a storm up here with wind gusts recorded at 90mph+.

So as it is seal pupping time, and I am in the BDMLR this storm could not have occurred at a worse time. I was busy with the seal pups for a week and a half. It was non stop. Poor little things suffered badly up here on the North Coast. Then I got a throat virus and the cold. SO my birding has been minimal. I was hoping to get my Atlas squares done this weekend but the forecast is not good. (surprise surprise)

A slavonian Grebe in the bay yesterday. A flock of 35 Barnacle Geese fighting against the strong winds in the bay today, was an unusual sighting for this time of year.

The local vet had a Barn Owl, Long-eared Owl and Tawny Owl into the surgery this week, the first a victim of the weather, the second got tangled in a fence and the third struck by a car.

Other birds around in the last fortnight have been Storm Petrels and Little Auks which is no surprise due to the weather. One report of Waxings in the county. But on the whole it has been pretty quiet as far as I know. Unlike Orkney which has had some good birds according to Orkbird. CHeers Dafi for putting me onto it.
 
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kas

Well-known member
Stilll struck down by a virus so no birdwatching for me apart from the window.

8 Red-throated divers(fri), 2 Black-throated divers (fri), Shags, Cormorants, juv Gannet, Black Guillemot, Eider, Purple Sandpipers, Ringed PLovers, Curlews, Redshanks, Turnstones, the usual Gulls and Corvids, House Sparrows, Greenfinches, Starlings, Robin, Blackbirds, Wren.

Also had a letter in from the RSPB today looking for money. They want to buy Broubster Leans. Which has been my Breeding Bird survey square for the last 2 years. It is a great place.

http://www.rspb.org.uk/supporting/campaigns/broubsterleans/index.asp
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
Stilll struck down by a virus so no birdwatching for me apart from the window.

8 Red-throated divers(fri), 2 Black-throated divers (fri), Shags, Cormorants, juv Gannet, Black Guillemot, Eider, Purple Sandpipers, Ringed PLovers, Curlews, Redshanks, Turnstones, the usual Gulls and Corvids, House Sparrows, Greenfinches, Starlings, Robin, Blackbirds, Wren.

Also had a letter in from the RSPB today looking for money. They want to buy Broubster Leans. Which has been my Breeding Bird survey square for the last 2 years. It is a great place.

http://www.rspb.org.uk/supporting/campaigns/broubsterleans/index.asp

I do hope our Birthday girl is feeling better today:flowers::flowers::flowers:

D
 

Reay_Bonxie

Well-known member
I've seen a couple this year in the distance but that latest one was very close up, about 20 foot away.

I had another sighting tonight just before midnight, a storm petrel landed in the middle of the road at work, it looked completely exhausted and was clinging on to the road to stop itself being blown away because it was quite stormy. I picked it up (rightfully or wrongfully) and I put it in a more sheltered area away from the wind. We have a works cat so I hope I did the right thing?
 

G Anderson

Registered User
I've seen a couple this year in the distance but that latest one was very close up, about 20 foot away.

I had another sighting tonight just before midnight, a storm petrel landed in the middle of the road at work, it looked completely exhausted and was clinging on to the road to stop itself being blown away because it was quite stormy. I picked it up (rightfully or wrongfully) and I put it in a more sheltered area away from the wind. We have a works cat so I hope I did the right thing?

Let us know if you see it again, Well done with your efforts trying to to save it - totally wild birds, obviously! Used to live up there and miss the wild! G;)
 

Reay_Bonxie

Well-known member
Sadly I found the storm petrel dead tonight. I think it must have hit one of the buildings in the high winds and it must have broken something.
 

WCA

Well-known member
For anyone interested there was a female Surf Scoter off the car park at the west end of Dunnet Bay this morning, 25th April, from 08:30-09:37 at least. A couple of record shots are on my blog.

http://www.babb2.blogspot.com

Cheers,

Bill.
 

rin

Well-known member
Hello, I'm Back, Its been a while

Hi there

I have been off the birding scene for some considerable time due to relocation with work but am back in cold Caithness.

I had my first few hours birding on 29th that I've managed in nearly 18 months. What a buzz, I forgot how exciting it was.

Needless to say been to same area every day since to check the goose numbers. Not disappointed, saw an awesome 2000+ Greylag flock interspersed with pink feet.

Couldn't see a thing from the road as the geese were landing behind a slate wall but someone with local knowledge told me about a farm road which I duly sneaked up for a look. Another Caithness birder nipped up in front and confirmed that what we were told was right, good views of the birds but not great light due to weather. Never the less awesome for a returning birder.

Hope to update when I get out and about.

Whats been happening in my absense?

Happy New Year All.

Catherine
 

Ben Nevis

Registered User
Supporter
Scotland
Happy New Year and welcome back rin.I shall look forward to reading something on this Forum again,
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
Happy New Year to you as well, Rin

I'll really look forward to reading yor news again

D
 

Reay_Bonxie

Well-known member
Happy New Year everyone. Great to see you back Rin, I'm looking fwd to reading to more of your posts, what a good chance meeting in Tescos lol

First good sighting of year was of 3 woodcocks at midday in my garden ground feeding. B :)

I guess the cold weather is making them more daring towards the house.
 
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