Monday, June 11, 2007


Headed to Ayrshire last Friday on the way back from Perthshire for a break before heading down to London. Having slowed the pace right down last week, taking the time to concentrate and enjoy the most minute details in the natural world, I was jolted back into listing mode when I got the news that a White-tailed Plover had been present just slightly futher south at Caerlaverock WWT for three days... just less than two hours away from Kilmarnock. Saturday's plans were swiftly rearranged! In the evening Lisa and I walked along a stretch of the River Irvine seeing Barn Owl, Kingfisher, and Daubenton's Bats. After that we checked a site for Long-eared Owls but found only a nocturnal movement of Common Toads sitting all over the roads.

Saturday dawned and the lapwing/plover had gone... Feeling pretty tired, having kept strange hours at Kindrogan for bats and birds, together with increasing disappointment that the Asian accidental was not going to show, I lazed around until the late afternoon. In the evening Lisa and I went to the SOC garden party at The White House, home of Roger and Angela Hissett. There we met some happy birders and we met some unhappy birders. A few hours later we were in Dean Country Park at 0250h for the dawn chorus. Grey Herons were breaking the silence of the darkness but it was not until 0309h when a Robin kicked off the dawn chorus that the true songbirds were awakening after a short June night, ending with those lazy Chaffinches at 0407h. To be fair, once Chaffinches do start singing they really do keep up their output right through to late morning, well after the thrushes have given up at this time of year. Two young Tawny Owls attracted a mob of unhappy passerines at 0413h. Later still (at a more reasonable hour) with the news that the White-tailed Plover was at Leighton Moss, it was obvious it wasn't going to head north to Stonechat country in Ayrshire.... maybe to Rainham Marshes then? (remember it's relative the Sociable Plover/Lapwing did spend a fair bit of time there in 2005).

On Sunday afternoon I checked a site on the coast near Barassie for Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries and scored with a least 10 of these beauties zippping over the heather and coastal grassland. An added bonus was a very confiding Stonechat that allowed me to get a good range of shots for the front of the cover of the Ayrshire Bird Report. Above is one shot, though not the best; that will be revealled in two weeks once the report is sent off to the printers. Shewalton SWT reserve had lots of emerging and maturing zygopterans with Large Red, Azure, Blue-tailed and Common Blue Damselflies. Some Painted Ladies together with more reported on the Ayrshire Birding yahoo grapevine suggest a good season may be ahead.

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