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Up the Hill (1 Viewer)

One of those weeks when things seem to disappear and come back again.

I didn't see the Redshank for a few days but they were back on Saturday and today. One pair of the Tufted Ducks go off and come back. I'm not sure what is going on here.

Only male Mallards are visible now, hopefully the females are sitting on nests somewhere. Unlike the Dabchicks, although I thought they were building a new nest, there has been no further sign of them doing so. Today, however, a third one appeared swimming at my end of the lochan. The pair, who are normally at the far end came down to investigate. There was no aggression but they were more vocal than I have known from them before. Eventually the pair returned to the far end again.

I am sure that there are 3 Common Gulls on nests on the little island. They never seem to move, and have been there for over 2 weeks now. I haven't seen any changeover by a partner so don't know when they feed.

The Swallows are now busy feeding over the loch (very difficult to count) but I think there are about 20 of them. No further sign of a Swift and no Martins, Sand or House as yet.

I've only seen one Buzzard all the week and no sign of a Kestrel.

The Cuckoo has arrived, I've seen it twice and hear it most days.

Things going on much as before, really. There are now 5 Tufted Duck with the arrival of another male. The third Dabchick is still with us, mostly keeping to himself, the pair, though seem to be starting on the nest building process again.

A new arrival this week was a Jackdaw, just seen the once on Wednesday.

I had cracking views of a Willow Warbler when he came out of the trees and sat on a fence right under my nose!

The Moorhens are building a nest and the Common Gulls are still sitting tight.

The farmer's collie put up 2 Partridge but they were much to far away for me to tell whether Red Legged or Grey.

On holiday next week and wonder what changes there will be in that time.

When I got back from my holiday, I checked out my patch to discover that the Common Gulls are not nesting (yet?) although there do seem to be definitely two pairs. One pair of Tufted Duck have disappeared. The Moorhen is now on a nest and Dabchick is on yet another nest. The third Dabchick appears to have left.

The farmer has spread muck on the stubble field, which has attracted over 100 Black Headed Gulls to it. So the big muck heap has now disappeared, that was quite popular with quite a lot of birds, oh well!

I saw the Grey Partridge again too, when I walked the pasture field.

The big surprise for me that day was that the male Teal had returned and has been around all the week, not always easy to see though, spends a lot of time in the long grass.

Today, apart from being my Birthday, was a red letter day – the first Whinchat of the year. Also a Yellowhammer is now singing on my patch, at last! I've lost track of the Wheatear though. Not seen them for a while now. Only heard the Cuckoo once this week and that was at quite a distance.

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delia todd said:
Today, apart from being my Birthday, was a red letter day – the first Whinchat of the year. Also a Yellowhammer is now singing on my patch, at last! I've lost track of the Wheatear though. Not seen them for a while now. Only heard the Cuckoo once this week and that was at quite a distance.

I hope you had a great birthday, Delia - I still haven't seen a Whinchat yet this year (I'm usually driving too fast too notice them when I'm in the right habitat ... I'll try to take the Tumble a little slower tomorrow, might even plan to stop to look for them ;)


Hi Andy - thanks for your Birthday wishes.

I haven't seen the Whinchat again since that day.

The Dabchick is still on the nest and they are continuing to build it up, I've tried, but failed to see any eggs.

A Sparrohawk flew over on Tuesday.

I wasn't feeling too good on Wednesday and Thursday so didn't go up there and on Friday the Moorhen had left the nest. grrr the farmer came by and he told me the eggs had hatched and there were 5 young, he counted them on Wednesday. She must have taken them to the far end of the lochan and got them well hidden - I do hope they're all safe.

Friday was a good day not only was the Buzzard about but an
Osprey came to investigate the lochan. Unfortunately there are no fish in there (perhaps I'll get some trout to put in for him ;) ) There are several nests in the general area but this is the first time I've seen one there.

The farmer also told me that he had seen Wheatear on the moor but a couple of walks up there and I have failed to spot them.

The Cuckoo is still about.

Roe deer are becoming far more noticeable now, I see some almost daily.

I've seen the Redshank again having missed it for a couple of weeks, just the one though, so is the female on a nest?

Where on earth have all the Crows come from? From the usual 3 or 4 pottering about there are now getting on for a hundred!

The Osprey brings the number of species so far to 48.

Hi Delia
I've just stumbled on your thread. Sorry I took so long to notice it. This is great stuff. To me, this is what birding should be all about, just quiet careful observation, building up a picture over time, getting to know an area really well. As well as getting out and about sometimes of course, just for variety and the occasional rarity. Can't find a smilie for dead jealous :stuck:
Ken Hall said:
Hi Delia
I've just stumbled on your thread. Sorry I took so long to notice it. This is great stuff. To me, this is what birding should be all about, just quiet careful observation, building up a picture over time, getting to know an area really well. As well as getting out and about sometimes of course, just for variety and the occasional rarity. Can't find a smilie for dead jealous :stuck:

Thanks Ken, that is very kind of you. I'm glad you appreciate my thread.

I may be after another in a day or three - there's a Temmincks Stint at Forfar Loch now. Are you coming down for either of our local goodies?

Oystercatcher numbers now up to 16, Common Gulls now down to 5 or 6, no signs of nesting now though.

I still haven't managed to find the Moorhen chicks but I have seen an adult, as I thought, hiding in the grassy bit at the far end.

Monday I spotted a Mallard with ducklings when I was too far away to count them, seemed to be about 5 or 6.

At last I've found some Stonechat a male and 2 females in the gorse beside the road.

An Osprey flew over again on Thursday.

Pictures show just some of the Oystercatchers and a beautiful blue Dragonfly - anyone able to ID it?

I didn't visit the Patch on Wednesday as I went to see the Great Reed Warbler at Kinnordy Lifer :-O



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You are getting to be a bit of a twitcher Delia.....we'll have you shooting off to the Shetlands and the Scillies soon..LOL

Congrats on the Warbler...and on the the patch..you're getting a great list building up there now
Jeepers, you're a twitcher Delia! But bet the local Osprey and Moorhens are every bit as special as the Great Reed Warbler, eh? Delights of a local patch and all that, good on you.
A twitcher? Me? Oh well I suppose I have done a couple (not lamping though o:D )

And I've already been to Shetland Keith LOL

You're right Jos, my birds are more special to me, just wish I could find these Moorhen chicks.

I've just had my dragonfly id'd as a Damselfly probably Coenagrion puella which I believe is an Azure. I saw them when scoping the far side of the lochan.

kawwauser said:
did you see the warbler? i was there two nights in a row , i heard it the first night but not the second

Hi Kawwayser

Yippee yes I saw it. Not for long (about 2 minutes). This was about 5.30pm. We had heard him call a few times, not a complete song though.

It's still being reported there today by Alan Leitch. Let me know if you fancy going again.

Well the Tufted Duck seem to have disappeared altogether now as I haven't seen them all the week. The Mallards and Moorhens are also keeping a low profile and it is getting very difficult to even see them in the long grass at the far end of the lochan. The Dabchick is still sitting on the nest.

I had a bit of excitement on Thursday just a couple of hundred yards before entering my patch I came round a bend and there on the road in front of me was a Sparrowhawk with a juvenile Starling in its talons. The Sprawk sort of dragged it across to the grass verge, where the Starling managed to escape. The Sprawk was seen off by a Swallow.

Hardly any Gulls now, a couple each of the Common and Black Headed.

I had a walk round the pasture field (full of cattle at the moment). There are Willow Warblers and Chaffinch on all sides. In the deciduous trees that line the burn I at last found a Treecreeper and saw the Blue Tits again.

Chatting to the shepherd's wife, she tells me she sees Hen Harrier on the hill the other side of her house from my patch (grr, maybe one day they'll come over). She also hasn't seen any Wheatear for a while, even when out riding her pony.

Today I saw 2 male Kestrels hunting together. Never seen that before.

I've re-found the Whinchat and they seem to be feeding young. A not very good picture attached but hope to get another one soon. There only seem to be 1 pair.



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A Three Raptor Day

Thanks Henry I haven't got it yet, I think they must send them out alphabetically. Their feet are amazing though aren't they.

I won't be visiting my patch till next week now, as I'm working tomorrow :-C and then leaving for the Strathspey Bash on Friday morning :D

So just a quick update. The water seems almost deserted now, although the Dabchick is still sitting on a nest (seems an awful long time).

Having seen the two male Kestrels last week, today there were two females at the same place. However, one was a bit more territorial and chased the other away before returning to hunt at the end of the lochan.

Shortly after it had gone, the Common Gulls suddenly took to the air and I realised they were mobbing a Sparrowhawk.

I thought it was time to re-visit the forest, as I don't think I've been in since the end of April and the flies will become an absolute pest shortly (bad enough today!).

I wasn't far in when I had a close encounter with a Roe Deer, just yards away. I managed a few photos before she saw me.

All the usual things you would expect really, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Mistle and Song Thrushes, Linnets and Goldcrest.

I heard a Buzzard calling and eventually found it sitting at the top of a tree, it must have called constantly for about an hour, then flew to another tree where it was immediately mobbed by two Jays, so it flew back to the original tree and another flew round and settled in another one. Both of them still calling.

The heather is beginning to come into flower, so the hills will look lovely soon.

The butterfly appears to be a Pearl Bordered Fritillary (but whether Small or not I don't know) :h?:

The view is from the forest looking at Drumdearg Hill, which has a planning application in for a windfarm (no comment) On the left, just above the tree tops you can see the burnt patch of gorse - this is where the Whinchats and Stonechats are.

All in all a good day today.



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Jos Stratford said:
Another nice patch report there Delia ...reckon its time to be telling that Dabchick to be getting a move on :)

Hi Jos thanks for that comment. I did rather enjoy today's outing.

I think she's having hubby on ;) - she can't have been on eggs all this time.

Well a week away and I thought everything had disappeared! No Linnets, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits or Curlews calling. But I gradually started to see them over the next few days.

A real surprise was to see 40 Oystercatchers, where on earth have they all come from?

I was really concerned though about the Dabchicks, especially after Sunday's thunderstorms, had the nest been swamped? I couldn't see the female on the nest, what was going on. There was one swimming about though. On Saturday I crept up their end and could just see 2 orange beaks behind some grass, then an adult popped up beside them. It was so difficult to see though. So the next day I decided to go in from the other side with my 'scope and lo and behold three chicks :D

There are also 2 Mallard families. 1 of 6 well grown ducklings the other with 10 tiny balls. You can just manage to count them all in the attached picture

Today I saw 2 Oystercatcher chicks in the Kale field, there could well be more as there seem to be about 4 'catchers sitting in the field. The two I saw were very tiny and I was lucky to spot them.



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good news on the dabchicks delia, some birds do seem to be breeding later than usual, its been a real treat reading your comments about your patch i may try and try a diary myself next season

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