Monday, 12 August 2013

I have moved!

Hello to everyone, as you may have noticed this blog page has been fairly quite of late, this is due to moving my web page and getting that up and running properly, thank you Marc from Canary Dwarf I'm now No1 entry on google!

I have been dividing my valuable and very restricted admin time updating both this blog and my web page, so I have decided to concentrate my efforts solely on the web page.

To follow please go to www.birdingecosse.co.uk and select the blogspot tab.

Hopefully see you on the other side, many thanks to you all and "Good Birding"

Regards

Dave

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

I'm back - Alberta Part1

Well that's me back to Bonnie Scotland after a cracking three weeks in Alberta Canada, taking in the worst flooding in Alberta's history, being caught up in a real live Tornado warning and some scorching sunshine.

Although not a birding holiday all the people we stayed with accepted our strange ways and all pulled out the stops to ensure we saw as many species possible, so a massive thanks to you, one and all!

Total list (some still to be verified) stands at 96 for the trip and no less than 38 lifers for me!  A couple will remain in the catagory  "what was that then?" and one call frustratingly followed us about throughout the trip but the songster remained elusive.

If anyone see's any obvious ID faux pax then please feel to correct!


American Robin


Clay Coloured Sparrow


Eastern Kingbird


Ruby Throated Hummingbird

I scored early on with my two main target birds being collected on the first morning!  Black Capped Chickadee was seen from our bedroom window and the Ruby Throated Hummingbird was a regular visitor to the feeder!  All I needed now was a cup of Tim Horton's coffee and a doughnut and all three "musts" had been completed!

Stay tuned for more pics and stories from the trip.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Cheeky Hare!

Had a nice trip up Findhorn Valley on Saturday with Sue from the excellent Bird watching and Wildlife club situated in the Grant Arms Hotel, Grantown on Spey (BWWC) and Robert from Nethybridge.

The Eagles proved elusive all morning however both Robert and Sue scored a lifer in the form of male Ring Ouzel feeding and collecting food on the valley side.

The mountain hare pictured below kept us under close watch for most of the morning as it relaxed in the morning sun keeping sheltered from the biting cold wind.  Summer has still not fully arrived in this part of the world!




Friday, 24 May 2013

July Planned trips and outings

 

July planned trips and tours programme now available to view on my web page www.birdingecosse.co.uk

Book early to avoid disappointment


Monday, 20 May 2013

Super sexy Slavs

At a small very public Lochan in the Highlands, these stunning little Slavonian Grebes make themselves at home.

One of my favourite birds, in winter or summer plumage.  Today's tour also netted Ring Ouzel, Black Throated Diver, Peregrine Falcon and Red Kite.

Interested in seeing these birds for yourself?  Then book a trip with Birding Ecosse...... remember "there is no dross with Birding Ecosse"









Checking out a Coots nest for size!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The manic pace continues!

Sorry for lack of posts recently, it's not that I have nothing to report, the exact opposite in fact with not enough hours in the day!

Met some brilliant people, seen some brilliant birds and been in some spectacular Scottish scenery.

To keep you going a quick selection of pics taken over the last few weeks.





Tawney Owl (looking stunning...... not!)



Can you spot Owlet number 2?



 Black Throated Diver



My office! (when on a tour that is)

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

May Newsletter




Blauwborst and Stroopwaffle!

Life continues it's manic pace at the moment, I have just arrived home after a long weekend with Lynda visiting long term friends Wilfred and Gusta in a pretty little town called Denekamp near the German border.

I'm in the process of writing a trip report that will be published on my web page www.birdingecosse.co.uk but until then here is a taster of what happened!  It would be an absolutely mind blowing place to lead a tour, any takers for an Autumn visit?



Blauwborst (Bluethroat)


Black Necked Grebe


Bargervenn and absolutely jaw dropping reserve.



Middle Spotted Woodpecker (lifer No1)



Lekker stroopwaffles!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

A mixed bag!

A mixed bag sums up today's brilliant half day tour with www.birdingecosse.co.uk .

It started with a cracking view of a male Capercaillie with a chorus of Crossbills tchuup tchuup tchuuping overhead, an early morning in a Scottish pine wood is hard to beat.

Next stop our local Grouse moor for Black Grouse, we were not to be disappointed as a male sat out in full view on top of a Silver Birch, so far so good!







A brief stop between Broomhill station and Nethybridge revealed my first hirundines of the year, Swallows and Sand Martins were hawking over the flooded river and large pool that had appeared in the nearby fields.

Trying to emulate the same time last year, when we managed the four main Grouse in one day, we headed off for Cairngorm and Ptarmigan... the fire engine that followed us into the car park and the door to the ticket office still being locked did not bode well!

In a matter of 10 minutes the weather had deteriorated into a full scale white out!  A full plumaged Male Snow Bunting hunkered on a picnic table proved momentary relief but the funicular cancelled for the morning and  we decided to spend our time more productively so headed off towards the moors.

Grouse number three came in the colour Red, with a brace of these cracking birds picked up close to the road, the snow by this time had been replaced by a heavy and persistent rain.

It was good to see the Black and Red Throated Divers had paired up at a local hotspot, both species gave distant but prolonged views, both really are stunning birds when they are in full summer plumage.

Next stop was a check in at my local Ospreys to see that their nest was still intact after the gale force winds of yesterday, all was okay with the nest but the bedraggled female sitting in a tree nearby cut a very depressed figure!

Final stop was Lossiemouth estuary, the usual suspects were present along with Lesser Black Backed Gull (a summer migrant to these parts) and three Sandwich Terns, the sound of the Terns bringing thoughts of long hot summer days, how different did it feel today with the +2 temp and heavy rain.  Bird of the day for me was a single Grey Plover on the estuary, even though still in winter plumage a good bird to end the day on.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Busy Busy Busy!

It has been a fantastic period for Birding Ecosse, brilliant people, brilliant scenery and some absolutely outstanding birds and birding moments!!

It will take a while to get my notes in order and do proper updates with pics, however to keep you all going a flavour of the past couple of weeks:

Closest ever fly past of not one but two Capercaillies, wasn't even expecting these birds as I was on a public road at ten o'clock in the morning! Luckily no logging wagons were hurtling past or the population would be minus two males!

Bucket loads of Golden Eagles, giving jaw dropping views through scopes and binos.

Long Tailed Ducks in transition plumage.

Black Throated Divers in full breeding plumage on a tranquil Scottish Loch.

And my local Ospreys back on their nesting territory.  I love living in the Scottish Highlands!




A typical Scottish morning (well sometimes!)


Iceland Gull


Long Tailed Duck Female below, male in transition plumage above



Breathtaking Scottish Scenery!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Golden Eagle two Buzzard three

Another cracking day summed up in a very short post.  Two Golden Eagles, both immatures being bounced by three buzzards.  Ideal viewing for my clients today giving them excellent views of both species for size comparisons.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Red, Black and a Banana!

Very quick update to which I will add more flesh to later on in the week.

Out on a full day tour of the coast today and a brief tally of the highlights goes like this:

Red Throated Diver, Black Throated Diver, White Billed Diver (!), Black Guillemot, Red Grouse, Pair of Ospreys.

Cracking day in the field, more of the same tomorrow please!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Eagletastic!

So what indeed did happen next?

Well as we were sitting in "Eagle Car park" having a cup of coffee, I was just remarking that the snowy white backdrop to the mountains would make tracking the eagles a lot easier, if they were to appear.  When lo! From the right side of my vision I caught the movement of a large bird gliding over the valley, low and to the south.  The sheer size of the bird ID it as a White Tailed Eagle, the lack of any white pointing to an immature bird. 

To my amazement it soared over the valley and then landed, in full view, on the slope of the mountain..... scopes to the ready!  It gave amazing views and allowed us to see that it was wing tagged (black tag with yellow "X") I snapped off some digiscoped record shots but the light was very poor.



 Having filled our stomachs with coffee and our scopes with WTE we set off to the top car park.


Setting up the scopes in the biting east wind the first thing that caught our attention was the Mountain Hare, in its usual position on the scree slopes, it was whilst watching this, a movement to the left of one of the mountain ridges caught my attention..... Another large raptor........ this time an immature Golden Eagle!!
The bird soared out briefly giving stunning views.



Then just as we thought things could not get better..



A second bird appeared and the two birds "talon grappled"


And then....



A third bird appeared!! The Golden Eagle Flying Display Team!

An absolutely stunning morning, and one of the times that a birding event will be etched in my mind.  Richard seemed happy with the morning work so home we headed....

However the eagles had a final finale!  Just as we approached Eagle Car Park for a second time another (or perhaps one of the display team birds) Golden Eagle appeared from the right hand side of the valley and cruised very low level, right over the top of the car, the perfect end to a brilliant tour!

However roll on 24 hrs............. to be continued.

Would you like to join Birding Ecosse on a day trip into Eagle Country? Then check out www.birdingecosse.co.uk for tour dates and details or just call and talk over your requirements.


Saturday, 23 March 2013

Black, Red, White and Gold!

Just had a fantastic couple of morning tours with Richard. The weather on day one was stunning, flat calm, -9 and frost crisp on the ground.  Oh what a difference 24 Hours make! Day two dawned with gale force winds, continual snow flurries and a biting easterly wind.

The first highlight was the Black Grouse on our local moor.  We arrived to hear the soft bubbling calls of nearby males, but instead of coming from one spot they were all over moor!  Keeping below the skyline we managed to observe at least four individual males from behind the newly erected viewing screens, infact we had three in a single tree.  It was brilliant to see so many males at a lek where the numbers had been falling. We left quietly, the birds undisturbed and still "strutting their stuff"  Lets hope further visitors treat these birds with respect and use common sense to avoid disturbance, as these birds can be viewed perfectly well from the "authorised" viewpoint.

Next onto one of of what has been  one of my highlights of the winter season, feeding the coal tits!  The numbers of birds have dropped off but there were still a few around only too happy to relieve us of some sunflower hearts.  Sadly no Crested were around, so onto site two for these! Success came early with  two birds seen at fairly close range.  Target bird two in the bag!


Richard on Holiday.

Next onto one of favourite local places for Red Grouse, target bird three collected.  One female was so close you had to wind the car window down to observe her at the side of the road!!

A very successful morning, with great company and plenty of laughs, how would day two shape up, well the weather was worse, but the birds?................... (to be continued)



As a teaser, what happened next?

Fancy a day out watching Eagles, then check out my web page www.birdingecosse.co.uk for details


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Welney and Cley

Just back from a great weekend in Norfolk with some great birds picked up for the year list.

Arriving at Littleport Station our adopted Norfolk mum and dad picked us up and immediately set off for Welney WWT reserve.  This is not a new reserve for myself, I visited once many years ago and to cut a long story short ended up flushing a Sociable Plover that a whole heap of birders were watching.  Not a good memory!


Welney WWT


However this visit was a whole new experience.  The visitor centre is fantastic (nice coffee and walnut cake!) and the hide are massive with plenty of space to spread out all your kit!  Highlight was two Avocets and close views of Great Crested Grebes (before the English readers sigh and roll their eyes we do not get Crested this far North, Slavonian are our "common" Grebe)


Great Crested Grebe - summer plumage


Great Crested Grebe - Transition plumage

The biting and freezing cold wind kept outside birding to a minimum, however the hides further along the reserve were well positioned and once again they were really spacious.

Unfortunately the Bewick Swans were not in attendance today, but for me the star birds were two Avocets roosting on a grass bank across from the hide.


Avocets

For a first day in Norfolk it was a fantastic day out.  The reserve is well worth a visit, the scheduled Swan feeds had finished by the date we arrived, but this did not distract from the day at all.  No Bewick = another visit! 

Further reports coming soon.


Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Another cracking day!

Another brilliant day out birding on the Moray Firth.  This time in the company of 24 members of the Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory.  Once again the weather gods smiled favourably on us and not a cloud was seen all day.

All the usual suspects were present during the day, Velvet and Common Scoter, Long Tailed Duck, Red Throated Diver, and our target bird for the day - Black Guillemot, in all four bird were seen, most in nearly full summer plumage with just a few white feathers on the neck and breast.

Classic moment was on the first loop of Burghead, and the toilets came into view.  Result pictured below


Abandoned kit in rush for loo's



SBBO members in front of Bow Fiddle Rock.


The full SBBO group.



Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Happy Birthday, and a Big Day Out!

Todays victims  clients were Jane and Andy from Derby.  It was Janes birthday so a good day had to be had!

The Birding Ecosse Big Days are my favourite days as it allows me to show people the wealth of habitats and birds on offer, the weather was absolutely stunning throughout the whole day, and the company was the icing on the cake.  It really was a cracking day to be out and about.

Total tally for day was a laudable 51, with highlights being Close up views of Crested Tit,  Black Grouse feeding on top of some birch trees, good views of Long Tailed Duck and Velvet Scoter, and bird of the day, picked up by the birthday girl herself White Tailed Eagle.




Happy birthday to you!  Andy and Jane


Black Grouse (female)


Glorious weather and scenery


Mountain Hare (aka Eagle food)