Nairn better

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
Just come back from a fantastic family holiday in Nairn near Inverness, where we managed to see most of the Highland and Speyside specialities in just one full day birding plus some stop offs after days out. An extended stop at Killiecrankie on the way up saw 2 singing Wood Warbler – what a great place to have lunch and stretch your legs. The caravan park that we stopped at was great, right by Nairn’s lovely beach and surrounded by Gorse, Broom and some forest full of Yellowhammer and Redpoll. A few pure(ish) looking Hoodies were around with various intergrades and pure Carrions. The days birding was mostly spent walking in Golden Eagle territory and we saw 3 different birds – an adult and a young bird together and a lone young bird that gave fantastic views overhead – the pics with the Buzzard are quite nice as a s...
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Catcher in the rye

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
After searching for and expecting Black Terns at Marshside all week, I noticed that 5 had been seen this afternoon at Nels so I drove over for a look. There were still 3 there distantly from Marshside Road when I got across so I parked up at the Sandplant for a walk and a closer view. A quick look from Junction Screen at the wader flocks and a nice Spotted Fly popped up in the trees to the side – looping out from time to time to snatch its afternoon tea. Smart birds and always brighten up a days birding. A walk down to Nels gave better views of the Terns, but too far for my camera. Ken Morrison then sent a message saying the other 2 were by Sandgrounders so I nipped there hoping they were in range. Always on the move, twisting and turning they were not easy, but I got a couple of images that you can at least see what they are! A Dr...
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Double DiStint

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
An early morning visit to the golf course was a non event again – tough year for me on there. A Hare was sunning itself by Fairclough’s but I could see that most of the birds were at the far end of Rimmers. A scan from the Junction Screen showed that yesterday’s new influx of waders were still feeding in the muddy grass fringes of the pool. 3 Curlew Sands (all in breeding plumage) fed in a squadron, plenty of Dunlin and Ringed Plover plus best of all I found a breeding plumage Little Stint. They’ve been rarer than Temminck’s this Spring, in fact this is the only one I know about in the area so it was great to see – a bit like a mini Sanderling in this plumage. A quick wander up to the Halfway Screen and I picked up a Greenshank calling overhead which then settled in with the Godwit. Never an easy bird ...
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Tern it in

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
An early start again to see  yesterday’s reported Wood Sand near Stanley High School at Marshside. It didn’t disappoint and was feeding away close to the public footpath on the pools. It had disappeared by the time I’d done the golf course and returned, but maybe it was just hiding in some of the rushy edges – cracking bird in the early morning light. I left Marshside as the loud speaker system cranked up for the Triathlon, and decided to head for Hesketh Out Marsh. The 5 pairs of Arctic Tern were putting on a good show, as were 2 day flying Barn Owl at the far west end. There had been a mini influx of Eider with 5 on the reserve (2m, 3f), also singing Corn Bunting and a couple of fly past Yellow Wags The Terns made me think about the Docks, so I headed over to have a look how the Common Tern colony was shapi...
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Ding dong the Spring is gone

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
Around 8 hours of birding at Marshside and the surrounding area over the last 2 days, and the going has been tough. The waders have all but disappeared and there doesn’t seem to be much on the move, but a couple of highlights none the less. First was a site first for me in the form of a Red Kite moving through early Friday morning – it caused havoc with the Godwits on Rimmers and then bedlam in the Gull colony on Suttons – great birds. The 2nd was 2 Spotted Flycatchers on the Golf Course found by Pete Allen this morning – they were mobile and difficult to get close to, but provided some entertainment with their aerial acrobatics. The Cattle Egret was still around, Crossens Inner yesterday, Suttons today. A few Corn Buntings at Banks and plenty of Reed Warbler singing around the marsh. Try again t...

As you were

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
The weekend’s been a bit of an anti climax after Friday, despite some promising weather over Friday night. Although it’s hard to be disappointed when birds over Saturday and Sunday have included the Temminck’s again on Saturday (although more distant – 1st pic from Friday), Garganey, 2 Glossy Ibis, 4 Curlew Sand, 2 Eider, 10 Arctic Tern, my first Whinchat of the year (finally), 2 LRP, 4 Yellow Wags, 8 Wheatear, GWE and a few stunning Ruff’s still knocking about (pic courtesy of my dad). It was nice to see my first Avocet chicks of the year today – 3 on Rimmers. You can just about make them out in this pic! ...
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Morning Stint

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
An early morning visit to Marshside paid off today when I found a Temminck’s Stint feeding along the mud edge on Rimmers Marsh. Originally picked up distantly from Hesketh Road Platform doing its mini Common Sand impression, I walked up to the bench at the junction with Marine Drive for a better view. After 10 minutes of desperate searching (my record images thus far were not ID’able), It picked its way into view again feeding on the grass and mud edge. Not the most striking wader in the world, but they have a subtle beauty, and I spent a thoroughly enjoyable 20 minutes with the bird before I had to leave for work. There was also still 6+ Curlew Sand in the Dunlin by Marshside Road. Earlier in the week they had crept in to double figures with 11 on Tuesday morning, with a few Ring Plover mixed in and a single LRP. ...
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Cattle Market

I knew Marshside would be busy today – good birds and good weather always bring a crowd. I got out early to avoid the heat haze and the herds. The golf course was quiet, but a female Sparrowhawk perched up nicely in a tree for me. The wader flock on Rimmers had grown in size and now 6 Curlew Sands probed the mud with around 200 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover and c50 Ruff. Couldn’t resist taking a picture of one of the Lapwings – imagine if that was rare! I found a Cattle Egret punking it up near to Avocet Island and this was the 1st one on the reserve for a while – hopefully now the cattle are back, they’ll return in bigger numbers and breed on the marine lake.   The 2 Glossy Ibis dropped in, but then seemed to go missing later on in the morning. On to Crossens for the geese, and a smashing Tundra Bean sho...
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When the Arctic meets the Med

You have to love Spring migration – a real medley of winter and summer species with a good sprinkling of common migrants and a dash of the exotic. Marshside has been on superb form this week, helped by some serious hours put in by the cream of the local regulars. No new finds today, but a couple of sessions before and after work resulted in some amazing close up views of some of the recent highlights. 4 Curlew Sands were performing well on Rimmers. They’re one of my favourite birds so I just sat and watched them for an hour first thing. One of the birds nearly in full breeding plumage looked stunning in the morning light.     Some video of them feeding here Curlew Sand 1 and Curlew Sand 2 As I was watching them, one of yesterday’s Glossy Ibis drifted over me and then settled down only 20 meters away &#...

Make a joke and I will sigh

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
Birds popped up all over the marsh today only a few hours after I’d checked the same sites. Little did I know how apt the Black Sabbath track playing on the radio this morning on the way to Marshside would be, but the birds were certainly playing games with me today. That aside, I had some quality time with a wide range of waders, and although I didn’t find anything rare, it all ended well. The Ruffs were play lekking on Rimmers with at least 40 birds involved at one point, and the various colour combinations are really starting to take shape.   The Sand Plant had a nice fall of Wheatear with at least 10 birds present, although they seemed to move through in a wave as I was there and by the time I’d left there were far fewer. There is also a Ringed Plover on eggs on the lower tier so care is required when wanderin...