Monday, 2 January 2012

Here we go again...

As I opened my curtains and looked out of my window on New Years day a Blue Tit was to be my first bird of 2012. Over the next hour or two watching the garden and the area behind also produced Blackbird, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Robin, Siskin, Starling and Woodpigeon. Not a bad start from the comfort of one's home!

Today I woke up to snowy, sunny weather and decided to go out. Ferry Point was where I was going and also to check some other gull hotspots in Dingwall (I'm trying to get into my gull ID lately). I set off about 11 o'clock and as I was driving down Ferry Road towards the point my eye caught something in the neighbouring field, geese and lot's of them. I pulled over and got bins out, camera out and wellies on. This is the kind of flock I had been looking to test my ID skills on this winter. I made my way through the muddy flooded field, walking slowly and keeping my distance when I finally got to a decent viewpoint. Just as I did the blizzard hit, almost white out conditions which left me soaked through. I rushed back to the car to dry off and moved round to the point for a quick check before I called it a day. There were plenty of gulls about but I was forced back into the car after just a couple minutes because of the weather.

As I headed back up the Ferry Road conditions cleared up rapidly and the sun was back out. I decided to have another shot at the flock of geese. A good 45mins spent standing in the mud putting my ID skills to the test produced some 500 geese the majority being Greylags but I did pick up a handful of Pink-footed Geese a nice start to 2012. I'm sure I have seen Pink-foots before but not close or confident enough to confirm.

Greylag Geese - Anser Anser
Spot the Pink-Footed Geese - Anser brachyrhynchus
Crop of previous photo
I also went back to the point for another attempt. Birds seen were Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, Woodpigeon, Robin, Wigeon, c60 Redshank, Dunlin, Oystercatcher and a lone Bar-Tailed Godwit. I could see the bad weather coming in again so I headed home.

In the garden the weather had driven good numbers of birds in. A massive Finch flock with 4 Goldfinch (a garden record), 8 Greenfinch, 3 Siskin and c50 Chaffinch. There was also 2 House Sparrow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, 6 Blackbird, Robin, 2 Dunnock and 4 Starling.

So a couple days in and I am at 26 species, hoping to get out for the day properly at least once before college re-commences but we'll see what the weather does!

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