Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nice bird on the beach

At last I managed to get some reasonable photographs of my favourite bird (tied with Wallcreeper). Hoopoes (Upupa epops) are very flighty birds when breeding and on most occasions when I've seen them in Southern climes I've been resigned to observing them without disturbance. The Dumfriesshire bird at Carsethorn on the Nith estuary in Scotland became increasingly habituated to the comings-and-goings of observers and photographers last week. Just by chance I had timed a visit back home to Ayrshire and so I had to make the short trip for this cracker.

When I arrived I spent about an hour crawling belly down in the sand (aka field craft) to approach it without disturbing it and annoying other observers... though most were only to keen to get close too. By the end of the day it was clear that walking right up to the bird was all that was needed - it just didn't seem to see humans as a threat. In fact the only time it looked alarmed was when the Pied Wagtails in the horse paddock alarm-called or gave flight calls while passing over. While showing amazingly close it kept to longer vegetation most of the time which was not ideal for eye-level shots. I went back down for a second day, by which time it was ridiculously tame and walking under tripods.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Watch the skies

This Grey Heron found me a Common Buzzard over central London today. Clearly they must have excellent near vision but it would seem that their long range must be better than humans. For several minutes it kept looking up in an alert posture... eventually I saw the 'dot' at considerable height. Do they look up when something really interesting goes over.... Honey-buzzard please?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Dabbling again...

Another drawing from the weekend (Northern Shoveler) while listening to Point Blank FM.

Ayrshire Bird Report 2007

The 2007 edition of the Ayrshire Bird Report, incorporating the Ayrshire Butterfly Report, will be available soon priced at £4. Essential reading for anyone visiting the county in south-west Scotland, it contains the most important bird and butterfly sightings recorded last year as well as informative articles on Ayrshire's avifauna. It is published by the Ayrshire Branch of the SOC (Scottish Ornithologists' Club).

The Birds of the Hunterston Area: early years to1968
Ayrshire's Historical Roookeries

The Kestrel in Ayrshire 2007
Sparrowhawk Breeding Details 2007
Chronological Summary
Systematic List

Recent Rarities in Ayrshire
Ayrshire Butterfly Report 2007

It can be purchased from: The Bookshelf, Newmarket Str, Ayr; The Tourist Information Centre, Sandgate, Ayr; and Lochwinnoch RSPB Nature Reserve. Copies can also be obtained from treasurer Dick Vernon, 29 Knoll Park, Ayr, KA7 4RH ; postage now is 70p. Please send a cheque payable to the 'Ayrshire Bird Report'. Please visit the Ayrshire Birding website for further details or e-mail me.

Fraser Simpson (Editor)
September 2008