Friday, 5 November 2010

Catching up

Pink-footed Geese on the move over Longniddry, East Lothian.
It’s been a busy fortnight post-Azores, starting first with a week in Scotland with the family for half term. Based at my dad’s in central Edinburgh but with little time to spare for birding on this occasion, I’d hoped for at least a chance Waxwing or two. No such luck, but a pair of Dippers along the Water of Leith near Stockbridge – the male unusually singing strongly in late October – was a decent consolation prize.

A brief foray east along the Firth of Forth again failed to connect with Waxwings, but this being coastal Lothian, there are always birds of interest. Between Longniddry and Cockenzie these included numerous Common Eider, several Velvet and a single Common Scoter, eight European Shags, a Common Guillemot drifting by close inshore, three Bar-tailed Godwits and a single Eurasian Curlew, and visible migration in the form of westbound flocks of 30 Siskins, 400+ European Golden Plover and at least 500 Pink-footed Geese (above).

Back to London last weekend for a hectic week passing the December issue of Birdwatch for press. Monday started well with an unexpected visit to Alexandra Park on the way to the office, after David Callahan found a Yellow-browed Warbler in with a Long-tailed Tit flock. It’s only a two-minute detour but it took a full hour to catch up with the bird, which eventually showed well near the Conservation Pond. With Firecrest, Siskin and Linnet also noted, it’s the kind of journey to work I could do with more often.

The week ended as it began, with another good local bird when I picked up a Brambling from the office window flying into the park. It dropped into the top of a distant sycamore and everyone managed a glimpse before it departed; my first locally this year (Ian subsequently saw another one or two among other finches – Chaffinches have been on the move past our window all week). Having passed the issue on time (well done to all the team) I was home earlier than expected and finally had time to watch Twitchers: a Very British Obsession in full. Hmm … a disappointment to say the least, but it's too late to get started on that now.

London year-list update:
203. Yellow-browed Warbler.

Alexandra Park patchlist 2010 update:
82. Black-necked Grebe. [seen on 19 September, but update previously omitted from blog]
83. Yellow-browed Warbler.
84. Firecrest.
85. Linnet.
86. Brambling.

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