Stormy weather

It was cold and stormy today, with some snow and sleet but also some milder sunny intervals. The first thing I managed to do was get a rather nice photo of one of our resident tree sparrows in the snowy conditions.

One of “our” tree sparrows

In the afternoon I ventured out to Fraserburgh, on the north-east tip of the Aberdeenshire “outcrop”. There has been a fairly rare gull seen there, a Ross’s gull, which I’ve never seen before. I didn’t see it today despite looking at pretty well every gull on Kinnaird Head!

However I did find two rather lovely new additions for the 2023 bird list, both flitting around in a small cove near the lighthouse. There were a couple of rock pipits (you can contrast the photo with the water pipit I saw at Cley the other day), helpfully perching on rocks!

rock pipit

But the most interesting bird was a female black redstart. Beautiful! They are seen fairly regularly in the UK but certainly aren’t common, so I was very pleased to see this one.

A female black redstart

I also spent some time (in between trying in vain to find the Ross’s gull!) photographing the stormy scene.

Kinnaird Head today

Brenda writes: “I’m teaching on a course at Benslow Music Trust in Hitchin this week and it’s always nice to get into the garden here to see what’s around. When you have been visiting the same place for over 20 years you get to know where things grow and what you’re likely to see. The garden has lawns and flower beds close to the house and then there is lots of overgrown woodland around the edges, lots of places where nature can thrive. My first encounter today was an unexpected one. As I made my way to the rehearsal room I discovered a magpie with a damaged wing hopping around in the entrance hall. It wasn’t bothered when I went in and hopped out through the door where it could be seen pottering around on the lawn.

Later, in a gap between rehearsals, I managed a turn around the garden, seeing a new flower for the year, lungwort, where it always grows in a border at the front of the house. There were a few birds around – blackbird, robin, dunnock, blue tit, and a little flock of long-tailed tit. While I was watching these I saw a movement beyond them, my magpie from the morning hopping around among the low branches. I suspect it can no longer fly but perhaps the relative safety of the Benslow garden will give it some protection from predators and I wonder whether it is becoming used to being around humans.


New species for March 14th:
Birds: rock pipit, black redstart
Flowers: lungwort

Birds = 143
Moths = 9
Wildflowers = 24