Friday 24 May 2019

Dava Moor - Cuckoo

With local rain forecast for most of the day, I set off for the north coast and thought I'd check out the lay-by on Dava Moor for Cuckoo, where three had been seen earlier in the week? A inspired hunch but I didn't dare get out of the car! After a bit of shunting which failed to flush him, I had a reasonably clear view in the twiggy shrub he was perched up in.

There were still annoying crossing branches...

Just about the closest I've ever had one and it gives me another goal for the future! An unobstructed view that is!

I even tried a little hand-held video (medium resolution here) ...

A good start to the day!

Lossie Estuary - Waders

There weren't quite as many waders present as on Wednesday but the low tide was just rising and they were grabbing what food they could before it disappeared!

First bird in view as I parked the car was a single Whimbrel...

But by far the most plentiful were (c115) Ringed Plover. This one being the 'alpha male'?

And of course the ever present Dunlin!

There were c30 Sanderling and I'll post some pics of these separately...

Lossie Estuary - Sanderling

The useful diversion of feeding waders kept me busy whilst waiting for Ospreys to arrive on the rising tide. By far the most showy were Sanderling and I'm always drawn to their energy and charm as they dash around in search of food...

The plumage is always variable at this time of year with some developing summer plumage more slowly.

Picking up tiny tasty morsels!

This distinctive one with a white patch at the base of the bill always stood out from the crowd...

They wiled away an hour or so of my Osprey 'downtime' but as the water depth increased, time to be looking up!

Thursday 23 May 2019

Cairngorm - Ring Ouzel male

The walk up Cairngorm had been scuppered by rain / low cloud all week but there were a few Ring Ouzel on the lower slopes near the ski station car park. I caught up with this smart male going about his business....

In thick grass so despite being at my eye level, always in amongst the blades...

The bird... the habitat...

And the business? There's worms and larvae of all shapes and sizes!


Seemed almost proud to show off his prize!

A female was working the slope lower down too but it was 'one at a time' please!

Cairngorm - Ring Ouzel female

Whilst the male was 'confiding', the female Ring Ouzel was not! She was outrageously in your face  and at times I had to retreat to maintain focus and not overfill the frame!

She seemed happiest in the shorter turf too!

And food soon came her way...

Want some?

She returned later and looking like she'd had a wash - perfect?

Another image for my bird on a rock archive!

Highlands - Red-throated Diver

Another Red-throated Diver for the trips and another totally unexpected find! Either asleep and in the middle of a small lochan it was still deceptively distant. The closest it came was with its back to me but a wing flap sorted that...

They don't always point their bill upwards...

You get to appreciated the good things in life up here and summer plumage Divers are good indeed!

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Lossie Estuary - Osprey AN3 once more

Ended up at Lossiemouth again (I just love the place) unpredictable but the Ospreys and waders rarely disappoint? First off is a repeat showing from Osprey 'AN3'... Despite a bit of blue sky initially, I always seemed to have white sky as a backdrop!

But at least the wind was in the right direction, allowing a hovering bird to orientate head on!

Unable to locate fish, it was try and try again until moving over the dunes or lower down the estuary?

If you're wondering why I do this, the shot taken today at distance below is what I'm after (but much closer). I want it the hard way too, whilst enjoy watching all the activity that goes on here... and not spending megabucks at a staged hide... It's not much to ask for, if I live long enough?

One more session here to come? At least it's normally dry?!

Lossie Estuary - waders

In between Osprey action today, a mixed flock of roughly 150 Ringed Plover, 50 Sanderling and 30 Dunlin were roaming around the estuary...  Always worth checking every bird in case something special is lurking? Here's part of the flock!

Easily spooked by the inevitable dog walkers, plenty of flight opportunities!

And the birds of a feather, nearly all Sanderling in this section, tending to stick together...

I wasn't approaching them, simply sat on a bench waiting for incoming Ospreys but they are hard to resist? So Ringed Plover and Dunlin...

And as in the background above, Sanderling mostly in Summer plumage...


Always in a hurry, dashing one way and then the other!

Tempted to go a little closer if they are around next time I call?