December 2021

There has been no real sign of winter weather yet. So far very few Bramblings have been seen. I went out for a walk one day to a spot where we had seen Bramblings one winter before. We did not see any, but lo and behold when we got back one appeared at the feeders in my garden. It stayed around most of the afternoon but has not been seen since. We sometimes get Collared Doves in the garden and they are very attractive birds. However, they are easy prey for any passing Sparrowhawk. A Lesser Redpoll came in on a few occasions and a few Long-tailed Tits.

I have mentioned Burghead lots of times here before and I realise how lucky we are to live so close to it. The Slavonian Grebe and Guillemot are still there. The Eiders are coming in to the harbour and can usually be found there at different times over the winter months. I have noticed a reduction of Shags and Cormorants there over the last few years. I am not sure if this is unusual or just a general trend round the coast. The Herring Gulls usually hang around the fishing boats when they arrive in the harbour but on one occasion when I was there someone emptied their left over bread into the harbour and it was quite spectacular when seized upon by the gulls.

The highlight of the month and indeed a good end to the year was a Little Auk in the harbour. This was the first time I had actually seen one but it did not hang around for long.

November 2021

The first winter visitors have arrived this month. Flocks of Fieldfare were up at the Enterprise Park along with a small number of Redwings. None have appeared in my garden yet. For the past few years I have had a couple of Fieldfare which stayed for a few months in the garden eating the apples from the apple tree. The apple tree had a poor year with very few apples on it. So if these birds do appear in the garden I will have to stock up with apples.

A Slavonian Grebe has appeared again in Burghead harbour. There had been one in the harbour earlier in the year, This is the first year I have seen one there and probably the first time I have seen one close up. There was still a little Guillemot coming in also. The first Snow Buntings I ever saw were at Lossiemouth in a group through my binoculars, so I was delighted to see one close up at Burghead on the grassy bank. It was completely unperturbed by human presence and had been there for a few days. There are nearly always Grey Herons on the rocks there too. Many bird watching groups go to Burghead at different times in the year as there is always plenty to be seen.

On our way back from the Dava there were three Red Kites flying overhead for a few minutes. It was difficult to get a good photograph at the right angle but I was pleased that the outline of the birds could be seen.

October 2021

Once again I have seen very little of note this month. Just the usual garden birds and a little Wren that has been coming in frequently and singing loudly.

The only interesting bird out and about was a Common Snipe which was sitting on a fence post on the way to Burghead. They are not easy to find and they are usually well hidden in the undergrowth. I was lucky to find this one sitting out in the open. The only other time I have seen one was up on the Dava when there was one drinking from a puddle of water one snowy day. At Burghead there were lots of Turnstones and Herring Gulls feeding on the fish when the boats come in and a Guillemot in the harbour. The small group of Mute Swans were at Blairs Loch.

September 2021

I have seen very little this month, both out and about and in the garden. The pair of Bullfinches continue to visit and are more relaxed about being seen from the window. For some reason we do not see many young Chaffinches in the garden, just adults, but this one appeared for a drink. It is lovely to watch the Robin singing around the garden. It is a sure faithful companion when sitting outside at any time.

The Razorbills and Guillemots are still in large numbers along the coast and were often found in the harbour at Burghead. There was a Little Grebe at Sanquhar Pond for a while and usually Moorhens are to be found at the pond near The Loft.

August 2021

Again there have not been many birds in the garden this month. The weather has been good so perhaps they are finding plenty food elsewhere. There are still some young birds coming in. I don’t often get a Song Thrush in the garden but a young one came in for a while. I have many Wood Pigeons and not surprisingly we often get young ones. Although they are the same size as the adult birds they stand out from them as they do not have the fluorescent green and purple at the neck.

We have the usual butterflies in the garden, Red Admirals, Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells. Last year I had a Comma Butterfly in the garden which was rare, but unfortunately I did not see one this year. However, I saw quite a few butterflies when out walking on Burgie Hill which is a good place to spot lots of varieties. Another good spot for seeing lots of moths and butterflies is walking along a stretch of the Dava Way. It was here that I saw the Vapourer caterpillar but I have yet to see a Vapourer moth. We again had lots of moths this month in the moth trap but I have only put up a Canary Shoulder Thorn which was rather attractive.

Although we were not at the coast very often this month I have put up a picture of a Guillemot. There had been reports of thousands of Guillemmots and Razorbills along large stretches of coastline and many of them were found dead. One day when we were at Kingston this month, the tide was in and there were hundreds of Guillemots and Razorbills swimming close to the shore. So far no explanation has been given for this phenomenon but it was rather upsetting to see as many would not survive,

July 2021

For most of this month it was just the male Bullfinch which kept coming into the garden. I am concerned that something has happened to the female. The Magpie has also continued to come in. We get the occasional Feral Pigeon coming in and this one stood out because of the markings on the front of it. On the whole there has been very few birds in the garden this month but there was one highlight. A Jay dropped into the garden one afternoon and landed on the grass. They are really almost impossible to photograph as they fly at the slightest movement. I just managed to get a shot through the blinds on the window and then it was off.

There have not been so many Swallows around this year. This was my first photo of one. At the Enterprise Park there are many Common Gulls with young. This seems to be a favourite place for breeding Common Gulls. At Brodie Pond there were quite a few Moorhens with chicks.

This was another good month for moths. Here are a few examples of some of the more interesting ones. For anyone who has not done any moth trapping it becomes quite addictive when you see so many different species, some of which are quite attractive. The challenge is being able to name them all and this can be very time consuming and even then mistakes are made. Fortunately, we have a local moth recorder who is very helpful in identifying ones that we just cannot name and correcting mistakes we have made. I doubt we would be able to identify any unless I get a picture of them. Indeed many escape from the trap before they are photographed.

June 2021

This is the time of year when most of the young birds start to appear. I have had a few in the garden such as Robins, Starlings, Blackbirds, Blue Tits and Tree Sparrows. The cutest of these are the Blue Tits and the Starlings. I have noticed that there has been a decrease in the numbers of young birds appearing in the garden compared with previous years. A Magpie has started to come into the garden but this is usually because it is on the hunt for young birds.

Out and about there have been quite a few groups of species with young. At the Enterprise Park there were many Commom Gulls with young and also Oystercatchers. At Blairs’ Loch there were groups of Little Grebe and Mallards along with the usual Mute Swans with cygnets.

As well as the usual butterflies seen at this time of year I saw a Pearl-bordered Fritillary on a walk on Brodie Hill. We don’t see many of these around our area.

This has been a particularly good month for different species of moths in the moth trap. Some of the more impressive ones I have shown here, The ones that are probably the most interesting are the White Ermine, Lunar Thorn, Bordered White and the Poplar Hawkmoth.

May 2021

The pair of Bullfinches have continued to visit the garden this month. Never before have Bullfinches stayed in the garden for any length of time and fed from the feeders. However, this seems quite common now in many gardens around. Although it is lovely to watch them it may not be a good thing to increase their dependence on us and they might be easy prey for the regular Sparrowhawk which comes in.

We have also had a few Yellowhammers in the garden too. Their numbers have decreased since previous years. This, of course, could be a good sign as they may have found plenty eat in their natural habitat. There has also been a Wren appear fleetingly in the garden . A Chiffchaff came into the garden, a rare visitor, for a short spell only.

It was lovely to discover that the Tree Sparrows had successfully nested in the usual nest box again. I only noticed this just when the fledglings were ready to take flight. Once they have flown they all seem to disappear from the garden.

Out and about there were many young birds to be seen. The pond at Brodie had their usual brood of Cygnets and up at the Enterprise Park there were lots of Juvenile Oystercatchers and lots of families of Greylag Geese on the Dava.

Once again there were many interesting moths in our moth trap, a few of which are pictured here. Along with the moths in the trap we had some unexpected finds. There were three Northern Cockchafers. Although Cockchafers are quite common, apparently these Northern ones were uncommon in our area. There were also sometimes Carrion Beetles which are quite distinguishable with their red markings.

April 2021

The Bullfinches which appeared for the first time last month have continued to come back to the feeders. Unlike some of the birds which come to the feeders they are not easily disturbed. Otherwise there was not a great deal of activity in the garden. A juvenile Herring Gull was encouraged into our garden by the parent bird. A Wren occasionally came in and on this occasion it stopped long enough for me to get a clear picture. Although the Fieldfares have disappeared from the garden, the Song Thrush remained for a while. Including the Yellowhammers, these birds were the most regular visitors to the garden this month. On one day only a Willow Warbler appeared in the apple tree.

An unusual visitor for Burghead Harbour was a Great Crested Grebe. I had seen many of these while abroad on holiday but it was special to see one so close to home. There are always Tufted Ducks at Brodie Pond along with the Mallards, Little Grebes, Coot and Moorhens. I don’t often see Grey Partridges as they are expert at cowering down and remaining still in amongst the stubble. However, on this day, the grass was fairly short at the edge of a field, where you can usually find them, near Coltfield.

We are well into moth trapping by now and were finding quite a range of moths this month. Here are a few examples of some of the more interesting ones. At the same time I saw my first butterflies in the garden, an Orange Tip and a Peacock.

March 2021

The Fieldfares have finally moved away, but the Blackcaps and Long-tailed Tits are still around. As well as the pair of Yellowhammers coming in to feed, to my delight I now have a pair of Bullfinches feeding also. There has never been Bullfinches at the feeders before although I have seen one on the apple tree. They were still coming in at the end of the month. There were two Treecreepers came in one day together. That is the first time there have been two.

When on a walk around Brodie Pond there were lots of Mallards, Tufted Ducks, Moorhens, Mute Swans and Little Grebes. There was also a Hybrid Mallard which is often there but I am not sure if it is always the same one.

On a walk up at the Enterprise Park there were lots of Common Gulls pairing up and preparing for nesting. The roofs of the buildings there are very popular breeding grounds. There were also many Magpies in and around the park.

Quite a few interesting moths in the trap this month, three of which are pictured above.