20 June 2016
Several cloudbursts produced a stream of swifts fling low over the fields heading south. At first I thought 'Oh no, not autumn migration already', but then remembered that swifts regularly travel over 500 miles a day in search of the insects they catch on the wing and fly ahead of developing weather systems. Swifts breeding in Britain quite often make day-trips to the Continent this way.
18 June 2016
A short-eared owl has been hanging around here on and off this summer. It was hunting over the usual fields again today. It would be exciting if there were a nesting pair nearby – they have sometimes nested successfully on the Ness. There were also about ten common terns and two little terns off North Weir point fishing in the channel.
16 July 2016
Three little terns were flying over the 'protected' area, though they weren't alighting or making any evident nesting attempts. There had been five around earlier in the season which had looked as if they were prospecting but that coincided with a spell of hot weather that brought out the wind-surfers, whose vanes were swooping all over the area and must have looked like giant raptors, so there was no chance the terns would settle then. Ironically, a ringed plover does seem to be nesting in the enclosure, which is one bonus anyway.
28 April 2016
Two nice arrivals today. The cuckoo at 7am and the stock of the Wildlife booklet at 11am. Good timing. Along with the cuckoo there were reed warblers, the cuckoo's unwilling hosts, coming over at exactly the same time and joining the sedge warblers in the reedbeds; also a couple of whimbrel migrating through and a general sense that spring is breaking through at last.
A rare sighting of a Chinese water deer out in the open between the twin dykes this evening. Textbook individual with its teddy bear ears and little tusks. Bounded off when I got within 50 yards.
27 Apr 2016
Migrants are still arriving intermittently in this Arctic weather but I did find the following between SS and East Lane this morning: 2 swifts (my first for the year), 3 swallows, 1 yellow wagtail, 5 sedge warblers, 6 singing common whitethroats, 1 lesser whitethroat, 1 blackcap and a few chiffchaffs. No cuckoo yet but they may be wating for the reed warblers to cross first since they are the cuckoo 'hosts' aroundf here. Clever stuff!
24 March 2016
Felt truly like the first day of spring. Some early morning evidence of bird movement included a firecrest, which worked its way south along the house fronts, a buzzard and sparrow hawk flying in off the sea, while the splendid wintering black redstart continued to sit up to be admired on posts and roofs near the Tennis Court.
31 Oct 2015
The last day of October and a little heat-wave. No wonder the seasons are confused. To make the point, there were winter visitors coming in off the sea (a flock of fieldfares) and also an extremely late lesser whitethroat (a summer visitor) in bushes by the the allotment patch. Also a peacock butterfly still on the wing. Nice but rather weird.
22 Aug 2015
... gone. The avocets and their two young have now flown. A little local success story. In nearby pools there was a ruff feeding, a wader on passage but not one I often see here. And further along the sea-walls there were two clouded yellow butterflies, so it looks as though the tiny colony at East Lane may have survived despite all the clearance work there.
16 Aug 2015
We had a bird-ringing demo this morning (early) from Mervyn, who rings regularly in SS. Most of the catches were common garden birds like robins, great tits and dunnocks, but thre were also several migrant warblers like common a nd lesser whitethroats, reed warbler, garden warbler and this very bright willow warbler – all of these heading south to Africa this month.