Sunday, 22 January 2012

Gulls, gulls and more gulls!

This is the scene that greeted me and Chris at Peterhead on 21st January. We both agreed that it was probably the best gulling day we've ever had in Aberdeenshire. We reached a day total of 21 'white-wingers', including two new Kumlien's Gulls (an adult and second-winter). The majority of the birds were around the harbour at Peterhead. Highlight of the day was the bursting of a pressurised pipe that was transporting fish from the boat - and the feeding frenzy that followed - when these images were taken.

First-winter Iceland Gull, Peterhead, 21st January 2012

Only two first-winter birds were present today. Usually, this is the age group that is dominant during the winter - this year, it is the least recorded.

Second-winter Iceland Gulls, Peterhead, 21st January 2012

A selection of images of second-winter Iceland Gulls at Peterhead today - there were at least six birds of this age group, but that could be an under-estimate. For some reason, second-winter birds are the age that dominate the recent Iceland Gull influx into the UK - on Shetland, 50% of the birds recorded in an organised census last weekend were of this age - over 70 birds.

Adult Kumlien's Gull, Peterhead, 21st January 2012

This adult Kumlien's Gull was at Peterhead on 21st January. It was the 4th 'Kums' that Chris and I have found this year. Putring this into perspective - there have only been 6 recorded in Aberdeenshire prior to this year. I'm sure there are more to come, given the numbers to the north of us. There was also a second-winter Kumlien's Gull at Peterhead today, images later. This is a subtle adult, but nevertheless indentifiable, but thank heavens for digital cameras...

Third-winter Kumlien's Gull, Fraserburgh, 21st January 2012

Yesterday, finally managed some respectable images of the third-winter Kumlien's Gull that Chris and I found at Fraserburgh a few weeks ago. The 'Kums' came to bread, enabling these shots to be taken. Not many birds at Fraserburgh, only 2 Iceland Gull (both second-winters).

Great Grey Shrike - 200 yards from home...

Following a third-hand report from Harry of a 'shrike' at Raemoir Trout Farm, today was the first opportunity I had to follow it up. Upon arriving, I was delighted to be shown the bird by Richard from the fishery, as it sat on the overhead wires that cross the reedbed. As thought, it was a Great Grey. Apparently, it has been here since mid-December. It may be the bird that Kate saw in the garden in November, but all she was sure on was that the garden bird was a 'shrike sp'. Anyway, a great bird to have so close to home, and I hope to see it regularly over the next few months, before it departs for it's summer home. A few images from this morning below, but the light wasn't in my favour. Lots of Common Crossbill activity too, in the woods suurounding the fishery. Apparently I missed an otter by 10 minutes. The trout farm has a great web-site, with video of some of the wildife that visits the site at