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)

Monday, 25 February 2013

Birding Ecosse - March 2013 programme

Spring is approaching and the 2013 programme reflects this!  Lekking Black Grouse, returning Ospreys and Slavonian Grebes.  An exciting time of year!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Scotland at its stunning best!

Today was one of those days that I was proud to be a Scotsman living in my beautiful country Scotland.  Clear blue skies, -4 degrees, stunning scenery and some fantastic birds.

Lochindorb (when I finally pop my clogs this is where I want my ashes scattered!) One of the prettiest places I have ever been, and right on my doorstep :-)

Lochindorb South End

Crested Tit

Coal tit

Crossbill, look carefully you can see the crossed tips.

Just a couple of the hours in the field today, en route to dropping off my daughter in Aviemore.  It really is a fantastic time to visit Scotland, so if you fancy an early spring break and need a bird guide then just get in touch!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Summer is on its way :-)

First Sandwich Terns being reported on the South Coast of England, summer is on its way!!  Roll on the first Ospreys.

I'm off to find the sun cream..............

Thursday, 14 February 2013

A Big (soggy) Day

Out for a days guiding with Bristol Birder Karle, the weather was atrocious most of the day, but we were glad we pushed on through the rain and snow with some great birds being seen throughout the day.

In total we had 63 Species with highlights including Crested Tit, Merlin and Ring Tailed Hen Harrier.  Karle scored three lifers with Crested Tit, Black Guillemot and Velvet Scoter.  So a good day all round.

Tried out the new camera the results below, will have to work out the video better though!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Romance is NOT dead

Who said romance is dead?  Treat your loved one to a guided walk with Birding Ecosse :-)  Or better still treat yourself!

And here is one I made earlier - A Birding Ecosse Blue Peter Moment!

I follow a blog by a young Canadian Birder "Prairie Birder" at On one of her posts she had a picture of a Downy Woodpecker feeding on a  homemade feeder, and it got me thinking of making ones similar, so here is the Blue peter moment!

Take an empty time

Place some string coiled into the bottom of tin, leaving a good overhang of string on the outside of tin as well.

Melt some hard lard (cow or horse!)

Pour about 1cm of seed in to bottom of tin, then pour on the melted lard and stir gently, this ensure the lard in all the way down to the bottom of the tin.

Repeat the above process until tin is full.  Allow the lard to set (leave overnight)

Turn tin upside down and cut off the bottom.

Fish out the string that you coiled in the bottom of the tin at start of process.

Tie the ends together and put out on your feeder

Voila!! A cheap, efficient and eco friendly feeder, once all the food had gone recycle tin as normal.

This has a few very relevant points, As a ringer they are ideal for feeding stations, they last for ages providing a constant source of food, they are cheap so if someone does nick them it has cost you minimum outlay.  Also because they are ultimately disposable it cuts down on the chance of trichonomosis (sp?) spreading from dirty feeders.

Anyway now I've started I'm off to build a full size Apollo space rocket using old washing up bottles and some sticky backed plastic!!

Good birding!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

A "Charming" start to the day.

Standing beside the boiling kettle this morning and staring blearily out the window, I was greeted with  the sight of a Charm of 50 European Goldfinches high in a tree in my garden.

Caffeine and Goldfinches, the real Gold Blend!! (excuse the poor shots but light was really poor!)

A "Charm" of Goldfinches

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

All quiet.

The weather continues to be rotten, although the snow has gone it is now stromy, wet and to use a Scottish word...... driech!

Looking through my recent pics I have these ones of male and female Tufted Duck once again a species often over looked but if you take the time to study them they really are tidy wee ducks, especially the male with his dapper Tuft blowing in the wind!

The Mandarin is featured again showing a different profile, with the head feathers smoothed down (pre-dive) giving it a sleak look.

Male (top) and Female Tufted Duck

Mandarin Duck Pre-dive

Sunday, 3 February 2013

What am I?

So here we go for the first "What am I" for 2013. No prizes just the warm glow of getting it correct!

What am I?
First correct answer in from Stewart at

Saturday, 2 February 2013

It's been a ducky sort of day!

Well, today turned into a very birdy day, albeit unplanned!  And a trip into the cake shop in Forres turned into five hours in the field!

First port of call was Cooper park in Elgin, and yes i know it was just a Mandarin but what an absolutely stunning wee bird, and was nice to see a few birders turning up to see it.  Met a young birder/photographer called Kian from Elgin, I will post a link to his blog shortly he has some nice pics.

Male Mandarin Duck

We then headed through to Burghead for .. yes you have guessed it... the Long Tailed Ducks, today however they were upstaged by this Common Scoter, but we got this bird to ourselves as everyone was looking at the Long Taileds.  Lesson to all those people, don't get blinkered to what is about you!!

Mute Swan, profile shot.

A very very distant Female Smew at Loch Spynie

A top birding day for Lynda and myself with some great views of some top birds.  And I know the Mandarin is from a collection.... but I can't help smiling when I see it!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Spring is in the air?

Lovely bracing walk around Burghead (for Bracing see "windswept"!)  Once again the Long Tailed Ducks where putting on a great show along with the Eiders.  Both sets of birds where displaying, unfortunately only the Eiders where calling, I love the Long Tailed Ducks call!

Frisky Eiders

 Long Tailed Ducks

Male Long Tailed Ducks

Female Long Tailed Duck

I will be sad to see these wee birds leaving Moray for their Nothern breeding grounds, they have been a real pleasure to watch this winter and hopefully they will return next year.