Black Swan in Irvine Beach Park

Black Swan, Irvine Harbourside, 29-Sep-14I’ve had a couple of emails from people about this Black Swan that was at Irvine Beach Park and Harbour this morning.  It appears to have a leg-ring and is almost certainly an escape from a wildfowl collection.  It was getting repeatedly attacked by the territorial Mute Swan at the pond so might decide to move on.  Very attractive white wing patches when it flies.

Events for 2014-15

The Events Page has been updated with the following:

  • Indoor meetings for the SOC Ayrshire Branch
  • Indoor meetings for the Central Ayrshire RSPB Members Group
  • Indoor meetings for the SWT Ayrshire Branch
  • The joint SOC Ayrshire/RSPB Central Ayrshire outdoor meetings (30-July: this has been updated)

Request for Photos

While I was assembling the summer’s entries to the Photo Gallery I noticed that we still have some photographic holes in our Ayrshire Species List and so I’d like to put out an appeal to help fill them.  Obviously I don’t expect to be deluged with pictures of Franklin’s Gull or Pallas’s Sandgrouse but we still need photos of some commoner species such as Mistle Thrush, Kittiwake and even Feral Pigeon.  So please have a go and help fill the gaps.  The only constraint is that you must have taken the picture in Ayrshire.  Glory awaits!

Summer Photos 2014

My plan of doing quarterly photo updates on the site means that the summer one is always a bumper crop, and this one is positively laden with great pictures, not just of exotic or rare stuff, but also great pictures of commoner species. My thanks go to Gordon Fowley, Angus Hogg, Jamie Pike, Bob Ross, Natalie Welden. Here is a very small subset of the large bunch submitted to the Photo Gallery.

Picking out the winners for the Editor’s Prize (zero monetary value, but slight bragging rights) isn’t easy from this bunch but two stand out for me: Gordon Fowley’s picture of a Hoopoe that joined him for breakfast one morning, and Jamie Pike’s singing Grasshopper Warbler. Angus Hogg didn’t make the prize this time (hint: increase your bribe next time, Angus :-)) but as a consolation he does get two new entries on the Ayrshire Species List with his pictures of a Great Northern Diver and a juvenile Redstart (note, we still need a picture of an adult). Gordon’s Hoopoe picture displaced the old, pre-digital one that previously occupied the slot. Natalie Welden sent in a charming picture of a Black Redstart on Cumbrae, and although not part of the Ayrshire recording area it is administratively part of North Ayrshire and so I had a decent excuse for including it (and of course Natalie had informed the Clyde Islands area recorder too).

Spring Photos 2014


With Chiffchaffs singing and Sand Martins zipping about we can almost hope that Spring is here and good weather returns. This has also prompted me to deal with the backlog of photos sent in for the Photo Gallery: my thanks to Angus Hogg, Jamie McPike and Dave Grant. I’ve posted a selection here to tempt you. Given the awful Winter weather we’ve had it isn’t surprising that wetland birds are the strongest group. However, my personal favourite is Angus’s photos of a female Goshawk at an undisclosed site: this isn’t for her protection but yours – you wouldn’t want to get up-close-and-personal with this lady! Obviously it also gains Angus another slot on the Ayrshire Species List. Dave has also prepared some notes to help identify the Ring-necked Duck that spent some time at Trabboch.

Stonechat – February 2014

StonechatHere is the first edition of our newsletter in 2014. We do hope this year will be a good one for you all, with many exciting birding experiences. This edition has the results of the Ayrshire Stonechat survey from Angus – thanks to all who took part; Keith Martin has sent in another article on New Zealand – this time focussing on a family trip to find the North Island Brown Kiwi. From Henry Martin we have an article on Blue Tits – ”Bright birds make good mothers”, as well as a wee challenge for you – also from Henry. There is also a report about our excellent raptor migration trip to the Costa del Sol and Costa de la Luz in September last year. We hope you enjoy all of this and of course, the remaining talks lined up for you and the joint field trips with RSPB Central Ayrshire Local group. We can assure you that your committee will do their very best to bring you more top-class speakers for the new season starting in September, and of course, an interesting range of destinations for our field trips and longer organised holidays / long weekends wherever they may be.

Tony Scott
Newsletter editor