Saturday, 1 June 2013

Bogbuie Wood (01/06/13)...

The blog has been very quiet of late. The last month or so has been one of the hardest I have experienced in many years. After returning from Poland, I have been finishing off my degree which is now very close to complete, had extensive problems to do with my car (don't ask!), seeking employment, had an operation that has put me out action for the last week or so and recently some difficult personal stuff going. So when it came to getting out there I just haven't had the time, the transport, the motivation or all of the above and I have that feeling of missing most of the Spring action although the season has been late this year and it's not too late to see some stuff going on.

My birding consisted mostly of things seen around the house which has included up to 9 Swifts screaming around the housing estate and the first young of the year in the garden which has consisted of Blackbirds and Blue Tits. Not overly exciting but still a welcome sight nonetheless.

Today (01/06) I decided to go for a walk to try and clear my head. The weather was dry and mild and I was headed to Bogbuie Wood on the Black Isle to see if I could see a bird that would be a first for me if successful.

I parked up at the entrance to the forest not far from the aerial mast at Mount Eagle and headed West along the main forest road. Shortly after exiting the car near to the first clearfelled area there was plenty to see. 2 young Bullfinches, Goldfinch, Wren, Robin, Chaffinch and Blackbird. Ten minutes walk up the very long, straight road and I started to hear Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff and shortly after I saw a Willow Warbler in funnily enough a mature Willow tree.

I was now starting to get closer to the area which I wanted to check out based on information kindly provided by Kevin over at the Highland & Moray Bird forum. As I walked further a long the road and seeing a handful of Roe Deer a clearfell appeared on my right hand side. I stopped a couple times and scanned the area. Something caught my eye over the far side of the clearfell. It took off from a tree and flew low to the ground and seemed to land just out of view. My first thought was Sparrowhawk. But this was not a predator, it was a parasite, confirmed when it was chased off by two smaller birds. It was of course a Cuckoo, the second I have seen this year having never seen one before that. It landed on top of a tall tree called a couple times and headed off away from me into the forest. Great to see but not what I had come for.

I carried on a couple hundred metres before coming to a gate to my right and a track leading off from the main forest road. I then headed down this track to the far corner of the clearfell where a group of tall, skinny Scots Pine still remained. When I got to this area it was time to slow down and keep my eyes and ears open. I didn't have much hope because I never seem to have much luck when I come to somewhere for a specific bird.

It didn't take long before I saw a flash of fiery orange fly across the track in front of me and up into the tall pines. I stopped and tried to locate the bird hoping it was not another Robin (although they are also nice to see). I picked up a bit of movement up in one of the Pines, locked my binoculars onto it and there it was, my first ever Common Redstart and a stunning male to boot. It was particularly nice to see such a bird relatively close to my home too. The bird was favouring the Pines and was fairly mobile but seemed fairly happy to stick around so I did too. I quickly found a comfortable tree stump and for the next half an hour enjoyed great views of this impressive bird. I did manage to get a couple record shots which can be seen below. It's amazing how getting out there into the forest, walking in the sun and seeing a few birds can do to improve your mood even if it makes you slightly happier for an hour or so.

Year List Additions:
113. Common Redstart (Lifer)

Male Common Redstart (Phoenicurus ochrurus)

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