Young Coal Tits

One evening last week, my plan was to spend about half an hour by the pond watching and listening to the birds. The half hour turned into nearly one and a half hours as I lost track of time watching two fledgling Coal Tits exploring their surroundings whilst their Parents kept appearing with meals of various insects for them.

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Reed Bunting

Although the Reed Bunting is one of the more common species of Bunting that is seen in the UK, this week was the first time I believe I have ever seen a Male Reed Bunting. From a distance the Reed Bunting resembles a House Sparrow, but when seen close to has a more colourful back and wings, streaked chest, black head and a longer tail.

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Flying Swans

A couple of days of reasonable weather this week provided the chance to try again to photograph the Swifts at the River Don. On both these occasions I failed to take a photograph of the Swifts but did manage to take some of the river’s much larger and slower residents, Mute Swans.

Personally I prefer seeing Swans in flight as it is only with their wings unfolded I feel that you truly get an impression of their size, a sight that is also accompanied by the noise of their wing feathers cutting through the air. To me the sound helps convey an impression of the power it needs to keep a bird this size in the air.

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Swifts at the Don

Earlier this week I spent about 40 minutes watching a group of Swallows, Swifts and House Martins performing aerobatics in their search for insects over the River Don at Dyce. Their speed and constant change in direction made trying to get a photograph of them a real challenge especially against a cloudy backdrop. Of the 200 or so photographs I took, only a handful were half decent and of those there were only three that I liked.

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Wader survey at Glenbuchat

An early start this morning as I accompanied our friend Annie as she helped conduct a survey of Waders at Glenbuchat. The survey involves logging the number of Waders, in this case Lapwing, Curlew, Snipe and Osytercatchers, present in the surrounding fields. The survey is repeated 3 times during the breeding season.

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Grasshopper & Sedge Warblers

The chirping of the Toads at our pond has been replaced with the loud singing of the Sedge Warbler. The Sedge Warblers song it a fantastic mix if chirps, clicks, buzzes and whistles and is continually varying.

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Roe Deer at Kerras Wood

Every day on my way to and from work I drive past a fir plantation called Kerras wood. Between the trees and the road is a small valley within which it is often possible to see Roe Deer grazing. Although they seem oblivious to the cars on the road, any attempt to stop and photograph them invariably results in the Deer rapidly disappearing in to the trees.

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Spring evenings at Fyvie

A couple of evenings last week I took advantage of the fantastic weather we have been having so far this Spring (that was before 3-4 inches of Snow fell this afternoon!) and took a detour to Fyvie on the way home from work. There is an ever present population of wildfowl at Fyvie that are not too concerned by the presence of people, largely helped by steady stream of walkers armed with bread for the Ducks. The mature woodland next to the Loch is home to a wide variety of smaller birds, and Red Squirrels.

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For weeks now hundreds of toads have been converging on our pond. As dusk falls they start getting particularly vocal, a sound which we have become used to each spring. This year we have heard far more  frogs adding to the evenings chorus than I remember from previous years. The arrival of the toads and frogs has also been accompanied by a couple of other visitors, two Grey Herons, which are intent on treating the pond as their own ‘eat as much as you can buffet’, a reminder that nature is full of opportunists.


Spring at Forvie and Troup Head

Agnes’s niece, Aurianne, visited us for the last week of March and fell in love with the Grey Seals at Forvie Sands. In all we spent three afternoons with these inquisitive animals. On our second visit, a couple of young seals whose curiosity got the better of them, decided that we didn’t appear to pose a threat and moved up the beach towards us. In the end Aurianne was within half a meter of them both, and provided she made no sudden movements, they were content to doze whilst she looked on.

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