26 March 2018

One of the things I am doing this year is a bird challenge along with some other bird watchers where we have to record as many different species of birds seen in our home patch.  We have to stick within a five mile radius of our house.  This has resulted in us visiting  places in our area where we have not actually been to bird watch and revisiting places close at  hand which we had forgotten about.

The year started well as I  had lots of winter visitors in the garden. I also saw some birds that I might not have seen easily.  The first of course was the Kingfisher but I also saw a Merlin down at Findhorn.  The Merlin was too far away for a picture but I managed to video it for identification.  So far I have reached seventy-five  in my bird count.

With this in mind I have been going regularly to Sanquhar Pond in town and to Brodie Castle Pond. As well as the usual Mallards and Moorhens at both places, the swans  have returned to Sanquhar and there have been swans at Brodie for a while.  At Sanquhar there has been a  pair of Tufted Ducks and recently there were three Goosanders, a male and two females. Then a few days later at Brodie I saw three Goosanders, again one male and two females although one of the females flew off. It was possible that these were the same ones seen at Sanquhar so we went up to Sanquhar to see and certainly the ones there were not around, but they have been seen in Sanquhar since then.  There was also a Cormorant sunning itself on a log at Sanquhar. There used to be one or two Cormorants a few years ago at Sanquhar but I don’t  think I saw any last year.

At Brodie Pond there were four Tufted Ducks and lots of Mallards. Although the male Mallard is the more striking of the two, in the right light the tawny-brown and black colours of the female can stand out also. Brodie Pond has a lot of Moorhens and some Coots. It also has at least four Little Grebes.  Little Grebes are very shy birds and although you can hear them they usually disappear under water as soon as they sense your presence.  However, I think they are getting more confiding as certainly the ones at Brodie seem to swim past ignoring people.  It would be lovely if they breed there so that we can have a chance to see their young.

26 January 2018

A Blackcap has been visiting my garden now for a few days and yesterday I was delighted to see not only a male Blackcap in the garden but also a male Brambling. The birds must be finding food is in short supply and they are starting to come into the gardens for food.
Today not only did the Blackcap come back in, but later in the day a Treecreeper also appeared. As I was photographing the Treecreeper a little Goldcrest also came in but it was too quick for me to get a picture of it. There was no sign of the Brambling today, so it must have moved on. Hopefully the other birds will continue to come back in for a few weeks.
There were plenty of the usual birds in the garden and I had twelve or more Siskins which is quite a lot to see at one time. Usually when the Siskins start to come in, one or more Lesser Redpolls start to appear with them too. So I will look out for those.
This weekend is the Big Garden Birdwatch, so it would be great if there was a wide variety of birds in for that.
I went for a walk around Sanquhar Pond today and saw a Goosander and a Tufted Duck in the pond with the Mallards. Two people told me there had been a Kingfisher seen there recently but unfortunately it was not seen today. I have only ever see Kingfishers flying past me, never sitting on a branch so it would be lovely to see one. As we walked round the pond we saw a Grey Heron in the reeds, a Jay calling on a tree above us and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.