20th February ff

February 23, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

October flashback!

I spent a week in Scotland last October and featured the photos on my return in my blog. However, I mentioned at the time that one 32GB memory card had failed and although the photos were there they wouldn't download. Sometimes I was able to download one or two photos before the error messages began to flow. Recently I tried again. So far I've downloaded about a dozen images, concentrating on getting a couple at a time from each time I took a few shots.

Later I discovered I could download easily as long as I only downloaded 1 image at a time. Eventually it [whatever it is!] catches on and happily tells me there are no files on this card. You get back in by re-starting the computer. Removing and reinserting the memory card doesn't wash!

They date from 24th-26th October 2017.

First off: drake eider showing off on the Ythan estuary.

Next Findhorn seafront. Hooded crow trying to break a cockle by dropping it onto the shingle beach. I tried to catch the bird dropping the cockle but I never succeeded in getting bird and cockle. Here's the result.

The carrion crows don't like the hooded crows but in the end there's a broad spectrum of in-between hybrids. This shot exemplifies this.

Offshore were rafts of birds. What are these? Very distant I'm afraid. Answer at the end of the posting.

On to the Black Isle and to Udale Bay [an RSPB roadside reserve]. Here were pinkfeet...

...and as the light failed, a raft of scaup. I'd never seen scaup in this number before and the photo only shows a fraction of the birds present.

February 21st. Working in the garden I heard a clucking noise sort of above and behind me. Our pheasant had dropped in and was lecturing me from atop the fence. He eventually came down when I went indoors. He lingered quite a while and was happy to be photographed by Sheila and myself.

A cat shadowed the pheasant but didn't dare get close.

Trying to get a better view of our pheasant from the vegetable garden I spotted movement in the conifer that I instantly recognized. [Strange sentence! I don't mean I instantly recognized the conifer but I recognized the movement - I suppose you'd call it jizz...] Always a thrill to espy a goldcrest in our garden - first one this year.

February 22nd. Sheila fancied a trip to the seaside so we eventually chose Hartlepool. We began with a stop to check what was at Saltholme but decided to leave for a walk from the Zinc Works Road into the dunes and out to Seaton Snook. I was looking for snow buntings. They flew off towards North Gare and I was left with this skulking bird in the dune grass.  Assuming it's a skylark. Little else seen. A curlew was out on the mud. Shooting into the sun produced this contrast image. We headed back short-cutting across the sand. We also walked along the Headland watching the eider ducks and drakes and had lunch at the Black Redstart site where we saw.... a blackbird!

Finally a quick walk round Ward Jackson Park: the parakeets were not seen. It was quite calm and we had a very pleasant day.

Answer: raft of drake long-tailed ducks.





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