Are you bored watching Christmas “specials” of something fraudulently labelled as “comedy” on the box? Want to escape the “joy” of the family while stuck in tier 4? Not quite ready for Angus’s masterclass on Pipits but still want to brush up on the differences between Rock Pipit and Water Pipit? Well, fortunately, Dave Grant has put together a cut-out-and-keep poster of the things to look out for. Just click on the icon on the left and soon you too will amaze your friends† with your new Motacillidae knowledge.
I thought I’d book-end two classic Christmas card species with two that should be somewhere much warmer but yet decided to stay around into Winter. However, there are lots of other additions to the Photo Gallery to lift our spirits. I’ve exercised my editorial powers to drop Yet-Another-Iceland-Gull but I took pity on the “Larus Lads” and have included a picture of a Common Gull (or should that be Mew Gull?) as it’s only the second one in the Gallery.
My thanks go to Dave Grant, Bruce Kerr, and Angus Hogg for their contributions.
The recent discovery of a Spotted Sandpiper at Croy prompted me to tackle the backlog of photos send in for the Photo Gallery. And we’ve got a nice collection of Spotted things: Sandpiper, Crake and Flycatcher, plus a whole pile of others. Please see the Gallery for the full set. The Spotted Sandpiper is a first for Ayrshire and so Dave gets the glory of another entry to the Ayrshire Species List having just beaten Bruce to my mailbox.
My thanks go to Dave Grant, Bruce Kerr, Angus Hogg and David Lynn for their contributions.
If there is anything positive in these locked-down times, it is that it’s very quiet and our garden birds are helping keep us entertained. So it’s no surprise that our seasonal batch of entries for the Photo Gallery are from gardens and where we can exercise. I’ve included a few here – please see the Gallery for the others.
My thanks go to Dave Grant, Angus Hogg, David Lynn, and Bob Ross for their contributions.
Dave McGarvie, our new BTO Representative, has put together an article describing a survey he performed near Carsphairn last Easter. Hopefully it will encourage people to sign up for surveys of other squares in SW Scotland. (Disclaimer: great weather not guaranteed!)
We have a new BTO Representative for the county: Dave McGarvie. Dave introduces himself in the attached BTO Ayrshire Newsletter .
In just under a month Dave is helping run a training event in Dalmellington, on Sunday 8 March. This will be an all-day event, designed to introduce people to the methods that the BTO use for its main breeding bird surveys. ID training will be included, though with an emphasis on songs and calls, and assuming a solid baseline skill level with respect to visual ID of upland species. It’s a great way of finding out more, and will be especially useful if you are wondering whether your bird skills are good enough to do the main breeding bird surveys – the Breeding Birds Survey (BBS) and Waterways Breeding Bird Survey (WBBS). If you’re not quite there yet, then you’ll be able to get a good idea of where and how you need to improve. And you can also learn about other surveys that you could do that don’t require such a high level of bird identification skills. Further details can be found here.
In recent years the flock of Brent Geese at Maidens has become a regular and growing feature. As the series of photos in the Photo Gallery shows, this flock has been closely monitored over the years by Angus Hogg. Now Angus has brought all the information on these geese at Maidens into a new article: the Maidens Brent Geese .
Back in 2018 Angus Hogg and Dave Grant saw and photographed an unusual looking Black Redstart near Maidens. It had the characteristics of an Eastern sub-species and so they submitted a detail report. Dave has produced the attached poster showing what they submitted and the outcome.
With the second weekend in a row spoiled by a named storm, I’ve no excuse to not deal with the backlog of photos for the Photo Gallery. We’ve had a few lovely birds to brighten up the winter: I’ve included a few here – please see the Gallery for the others.
In addition, a Siberian Chiffchaff appeared in Auchenharvie to get those sad souls who like sub-species excited (or insurance for when it gets split?).
My thanks go to Dave Grant, Angus Hogg, and Bruce Kerr for their contributions.
If like me you aren’t as up-to-date on your Siberian Chiffchaff identification as you’d like, then you’ll find the attached poster produced by Dave Grant essential reading. Using his photos of the bird that recently popped up in Auchenharvie and explanatory notes, you’ll be ready for when the next one pops up. Click on the icon to download the poster. Makes an ideal spousal Christmas present.