Monday, 13 May 2013

WeBS Survey (12/05/2013)...

It is that time of the month again when WeBS surveys need to be completed. A couple of updates first.

The male Blackcap has continued to visit the garden occassionally feeding mostly on the crumbs underneath the suet cake and fatball feeders.

On Friday (10/05) I had the chance to go for a walk around Haldon Forest Park near to Exeter in Devon. The weather wasn't great, overcast and very windy, so no butterflies seen. It wasn't very productive on the bird front either with very little seen at all which was quite disappointing, but it wasn't the sole purpose of the trip down so it's not too bad.

Today (12/05) it was time to complete my WeBS survey counts and it was a very welcome break from sitting in front of the computer working on coursework for half a day. My friend Luke came with me again and we started off at Loch Kinellan first. The usual species were on the Loch itself but there were some migrants present now that were not on my last visit. Plenty of Swallows flying over the loch and plenty of Willow Warblers were seen and heard. Buzzard and Red Kite were both seen over the adjacent farmland.

We then checked Kinellan Scrape which was absolutely buzzing with hirundines. So many Swallows over the water with a good number of Sand Martins also. There were also some of both species sitting on a nearby fenceline which allowed us good stationary views. Mute Swans were on their nest in the middle of pond and Mallards with ducklings were hiding out in the reedbeds. Also saw my first UK Chiffchaff of the year and a pair of Blackcap in the roadside hedges.

It was then on to Loch Achility where nothing was seen on the water but we did flush a pair of Common Sandpiper from the loch side as we drove around.

Once finished the WeBS we then decided to take a drive further up Strathconon with Red Kite, Buzzard, Mistle Thrush, Red-legged Partridge and plenty of Swallows seen as we made our way up to Loch Beannacharain. The weather also stayed dry which was a bonus. On the loch side was another Common Sandpiper and a Pied Wagtail. On the far side of the Loch was a Cormorant which I didn't expect to see up there. Then came the bird of the day. Luke heard a cuckoo calling just up the road and it was quickly located on a telephone wire 100 or so metres away. We made our way up the road then across the hillside tracking the bird as it moved around getting some great views but unfortunately always just too far away for a decent photo. I have heard cuckoo in various locations before but had never actually seen one. It was being mobbed my Meadow Pipits constantly and Willow Warbler was also heard at the top of the valley.

Very distant Cuckoo

Year List Additions:
107. Sand Martin
108. Chiffchaff
109. Common Sandpiper
110. Red-legged Partridge
111. Cuckoo (Lifer)

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