.Perhaps its just a British thing but it always seems that there's something to say about our weather. For some younger people this is the latest Spring ever. Temperatures are still hovering around 3 degrees centigrade for the daily maximum and there's no respite on the horizon.
It is a difficult time for birds, not just woodland birds but also those that winter inshore. This Red-throated Diver was sheltering in a harbour. During a spell of about an hour it caught at least three fish so perhaps it will come through OK. In the picture it is just about to dive.
A New Year but the weather has been very quiet and hardly wintry at all. Nevertheless there have been a good variety of birds around. Today we had a creditable thirteen waders from a total of 66 birds for the Bird Club Outing.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment is that without frost or snow you cannot take picture that shout winter! Maybe soon I will be regretting saying that - I guess the weather is good for wintering bird survival (except ones needing carrion I suppose).
This drake Smew was unusually co-operative as they usually stay a football pitch away from any observers. He is a handsome little bird with simple, but very effective, black and white livery.
Well April has been the wettest month since the last time it was the wettest month. The cold weather has also inhibited migrants although they are starting to accelerate now. Blackcap has joined Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff and the Martins and Swallows are present although numbers are still low.
The wet is not bad new for all birds; its an ill wind and all that. The thrush family can cope with the wet as this Mistle Thrush can. A car works wonders for these birds as I have found they are quite shy and timid when encountering them in the woods whilst walking. The one in the picture opposite was gathering worms for young nearby.
There have been a few highlights on the migration front over the past week or so.
At the end of October there were Woodcock and Sparrowhawk flying in off the sea along the East coast, and even a Dusky Warbler found. The numbers of geese have been climbing, although there has been little good weather to photograph them at dawn or dusk. The Whooper Swans have started arriving, and just a couple of days ago a Firecrest took up residence in a coastal garden (see opposite).
Amazingly there are still Red Admirals flying around.
Will we be getting Waxwings this year?
The coast has been exciting lately with wader numbers increasing. Both Bar and Black tailed Godwits are congregating as well as flocks of Redshank with some much rarer Spotted Redshanks joining them.
The poor weather of late might not be good for humans but it has resulted in good number of Curlew Sandpipers adding to the variety now, with some of the youngsters being very tolerant of humans! See picture. Warblers are also moving along the coast just now, with Willow Warblers, Whitethroats, Blackcaps and Sedge Warblers all gathering in coastal bushes.
The Barry Buddon Open Day was held last weekend. At least 70 people attended this one opportunity to fully explore this interesting MOD site.
I opted to go with the birders group. Could I get a useful photo? Well yes; the answer was to ignore bird photography for the day and concentrate on macro work. I was pleased with the picture opposite. Despite being common enough I find Small White Butterfly to be difficult to get near. Furthermore, in bright conditions the white is not easy to control so I was pleased with this result.
Our first decent day of the week, so despite not feeling that fit we braved the high ground on the Perthshire & Angus border with three friends to look for some mountain birds. As we ascended there were Wheatears, Meadow Pipits, Ravens and Red Grouse as well as plenty Mountain Hares now in their summer brown coats.
Up on the high top it was pretty windy, but our quarry was tracked down - Dotterel - a trip of 3 and a pair busy feeding. We also saw Golden Plovers and Dunlin up there, but no sign of Ptarmigan. A very satisfying trip.
There are certain birds that are extra difficult - Hawfinch is one due to its rarity in Britain and general secretiveness. So it was a great pleasure to have got a photo at last.
With waders, for years my bogey bird has been Woodcock. I am delighted to have, as it were, broken my duck. An early morning trip up an Angus Glen and there was the bird at the roadside. A fenceline hampered the photography but I am pleased with the result.