November 2023 Photos

A dark, dreich day meant I had no excuse but to catch up on submissions to the Photo Gallery. My thanks to Dave Grant, Bruce Kerr and David Lynn for sending them in.

Red-throated Diver Recovery

David Lynn came across this “very feisty individual” at Loanhead quarry in Beith and managed to catch it. Hoping it was just bedraggled he took it to the nearby Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Trust. Happily, after some TLC it made a full recovery and was successfully returned to the Clyde.

Storm Petrel Ringing Recovery

I recently bumped into a fellow dog-walker, Vivienne Glew and her dog Baillie, who told me that she had recovered a moribund Storm Petrel that had dropped into the sea near Irvine harbour mouth. While the bird didn’t last long, Vivienne did notice that it was ringed. She sent the details off to the Natural History Museum and the BTO returned the following ringing info:

Ringing Scheme: London
Ring Number: 2694931
Species of bird: Storm Petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus)

This bird was ringed by D Manley as age at least 1 year, sex unknown on 12-Aug-2015 00:30:00 at Annagh Head, Bellmullet, Mayo, Ireland (54deg 14min N -10deg -7min W).
It was found 2883 days after it was ringed, 379 km from the ringing site, direction ENE.

My thanks to Vivienne and Baillie for such an interesting chat.

August 2023 Photos

With the autumn migration underway (really!) it made sense to clear away images from this Spring. The above are just a sample of the stuff added to the Photo Gallery. My thanks to Dave Grant, Angus Hogg and Bruce Kerr for sending them in.

Sand Martins of Gailes Marsh

I recently bumped into local artist Hugh Loney at Gailes Marsh SWT reserve in Irvine. Like me he was enjoying watching the Sand Martins at their new purpose-built colony. He had set up a video camera and told me that it was an old model that was a bit slow which had a lovely effect and showed me the some of the ghostly images. He has kindly sent some in and they are shown below. I’m sure you’ll agree that they are wonderfully different from the usual photos.

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The Stories behind the Photos

Angus Hogg has been having a wander down memory lane and is putting together a series of articles giving the stories behind some photos of the famous bird species seen in Ayrshire in years gone by. So far we have:

  1. Wilson’s Phalarope at New Cumnock 1978
  2. Yellow Wagtail at Bourtreehill mid 1970s
  3. Leach’s Storm Petrel, and the Girvan Police
  4. European Storm Petrels at Turnberry Point
  5. Eurasian Spoonbill at Hunterston in 1978
  6. Harlequin Ducks at Kennedy’s Pass in 1996
  7. Bewick’s Swans at Shewalton, 1978
  8. Green Sandpiper at Tarholm, 1975
Juvenile Wilson’s Phalarope at Knockshinnoch Lagoons,
7 September 1978  (© Angus Hogg)

These articles are just the latest in our growing set. Angus will hopefully find time to put together a few others, as I’d argue, no-one has more knowledge of birds in Ayrshire going back decades.

Ayrshire Bird Report 2019

Red-billed Chough at
Turnberry Point  (Angus Hogg)

Welcome to the 2019 Ayrshire Bird Report.  With the completion of yet another bird report, the progress towards getting it back on track continues, and the plan is to have another one finished by the end of this year.  Of course, none of this would be possible without help from a great variety of people, and particular thanks must go to our local recorder, Fraser Simpson, for his assistance with numerous queries regarding records. 

The report is available for free as a PDF download by clicking here.

(9-April: minor revision to fix some typos.)

Angus Hogg and Dave Grant, Editors

March 2023 Photos

With Spring just around the corner and a wet Saturday afternoon to fill, I’ve managed catch up with the recent batch of photos sent in for the Photo Gallery.  As usual, the above are just a taste of what has been added and are merely the Editor’s pick (although bribery can influence this!).

My thanks to Dougie Edmond, Dave Grant, Hayden Fripp and Bruce Kerr for sending their photos in.

Red Kites Breeding in Ayrshire

Background – Red Kite (Milvus milvus) formerly nested in Glen App during the early 1830s, but vanished as a breeding species soon afterwards (Gray & Anderson 1869). The last 19th century sighting of a live bird was at Lendalfoot during Oct-Nov 1892, by which time the species had become extinct over much of Scotland, largely due to persecution and egg-collection. Between 1856 and 1859 Gray recorded it breeding in Argyll (Bonaw), and Loch Lomond around the same time.

Since that time, Red Kite has remained a rare visitor to Ayrshire – until 1989, when they were re-introduced to several parts of the UK. A steady increase in sightings resulted from their re-introduction to Dumfries and Galloway in 2001, after which time records within Ayrshire became almost annual, often involving more than one bird after 2010, as the breeding numbers in D&G increased.

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