Category Archives: British

European Bee-eater at Crawford, South Lanarkshire

This species had not been seen in the Clyde area since 1869 making this an extremely exciting species to see. After my previous fail of seeing this European Bee-eater a few days ago, This day absolutely made up for it. This has to be one of my birding highlights of all time!

We arrived at around 09:45hrs and parked up at the side of the road just beyond the bridge at Camps Road. My dad and I walked towards a castle keeping a carful watch out for it landing on the power lines. After a 1min walk towards the castle I looked over at our car and saw the Bee-eater sitting on a wire next to the car! Some others arrived to watch it from the other side. It stayed for a while before flying off into some other trees, then flying off to the trees next to the castle! At this point I was standing on the bridge with Ruth Rowlands (links to her social media at bottom of page) and my dad watching it in the distance.

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On Wire Next To Houses and Cars (not visible in picture)
372A5460 European bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
 European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)

We headed over the field towards the bird and met some other birders who had beat us to it’s current location at the top of a tree. We all stood in a line and stared it down as it stayed in the tree. Time went past and more people started to show. As it warmed and the sun appeared from behind the grey clouds, the European Bee-eater became more and more active and its habits became clear. It would fly out the tree and catch a bee in mid-flight! It would then fly back to a point in the tree where it would eat the bee! It was so active and tame that it even came 2 meters from us to pick an insect off the grass at our feet! Nobody could believe it when this happened. It was incredible in the way it so carefully picked up an insect until it flew back into the tree.

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 European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)

We stayed a while longer and the bird clearly became more and more mobile, flying for a while and landing in trees even further away. More people had arrived including some people we knew before and it was great to catch up with them and meet new faces. The bird was most active at around lunch time but I have a feeling that it will be heading off soon.

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 European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)

I honestly can’t believe how great it was! It was 1pm now so we decided to wrap it up there and head off to sheildhill farm to see what we could find. We found nothing, sadly but it was still an amazing day!

Please check out Ruth Rowlands!

Facebook: Ruth Rowlands Photography

Instagram: ruth_rowlands

Twitter: photoruthie

Aberlady Bay (Scottish Ornithologists Club) Trip!

Blog #27

Yesterday was an Scottish Ornithologist Club (SOC) outing run by the Clyde SOC group. This was at Aberlady Bay which is amazing for waders, sea birds and many other species! When the tide is out, the mud expanse is very extensive. The waders all turn up to feed at this point and as the tide comes in, the waders are brought closer.

 

As my dad and I live in Glasgow this meant an hour and 10 mins drive so we thought we might as well spend most of the day there. We left at 7:30am and headed to Musselbourgh Lagoons. Unfortunately not much was showing. Later on definitely made up though! We arrived in Aberlady Bay carpark at 10am to see others with spotting scopes and binoculars watching over the bay. Everyone who was supposed to be on he trip had arrived by 10:40am and by then we had already found grey plover, bar tailed Godwit, little egret and many other birds. 

 

By 10:50am we had started to head along the walkway and along the way we picked up some common birds. Then all of a sudden when we approached the golf course, a man called suddenly spotted 12 grey partridge on the golf course! They couldn’t care less about the flying golf balls (they stood so still). We watched them for about 1min until a short eared owl flew over, surprising us all and drawing our attention towards it! Since we were a big group with a mixture of photographers, four of us decided to separate from the group and photograph the owl hunting. The others wanted to head along the beach to try pick up more species. My group included David Palmer, My dad (Kevin Sinclair) and another photographer. We managed to find a second owl and we all got some shots! We then headed to meet the group who were lucky enough to have seen Slavonian Grebe, Arctic Skua and Kittiwake. 

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Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

When we joined back with the others, we all gladly stoped at a point and looked out onto sea. This was a good rest and pain relief after I had been hiding in thorns to try get a decent owl shot. We all scanned the scene and managed to find Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Long-tailed duck and some other small birds at the edge like Rock Pipit, Sanderling, Wheatear and Turnstone. By now it was time to head back to the car park. We saw some fungi on the way (i’m unsure what species, can anyone help?) It took a while but we got there and I had my food which I had been craving for ages as I didn’t think to bring it with me on the walk.

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Unsure?

We got into the car, we went to the next car park (nearby) and managed to find Golden Plover, Tree Sparrows, Greenshank and a Peregrine which were some new species to add to the list for the day. After that we stopped at the SOC HQ. I said goodbye to everyone and I hope to see them again as everyone was very friendly! Someone even asked about helping at Linn Park (where I volunteer) which was really nice. Everyone was very supportive and we all had an absolutely fantastical time!

 

To finish, my dad and I decided to go to the nuclear power station to try and see a Yellow-browed Warbler which had been seen at the car park. Sure enough it was there. As soon as I stepped out the car it was right in front of me!!! 

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Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus)

Ptarmigan!

Blog #26

Today was absolutely one of my wildlife highlights so far this year! My Dad and I were up at 7:30am, in the Scottish Highlands for noon and watching 17 Ptarmigan up a mountain in the early afternoon!  Despite living in Scotland and making regular trips up north over the last 3 years in particular, I’d never actually managed to see one; although frustratingly I’d heard them!!

  Continue reading Ptarmigan!

Suffolk blog (part 2)

As you can see in part one we went to RSPB Minsmere and other places but alongside that we had been staying at a place called Springlake Leisure with very friendly hosts Lynn and Leister! They also showed a big passion for wildlife and were very interested in what wildlife was roaming around their place! I showed them the moths, bats and loads of the other wildlife they were so lucky enough to have! The final place we went to during the holiday was RSPB Lakenheath fen in hope of seeing something nice. We arrived and were told an adult bittern had two younger Bitterns and it was with them in front of the hide. This is a very rare sight as bitterns are very elusive and don’t usually show well. Continue reading Suffolk blog (part 2)