Thursday, 15 December 2011

Shag darvics galore!

After the wild stormy winds of mid week where else would Jane be found last weekend but wandering around Fraserburgh Harbour. The sea was still raging with waves going over the north breakwater. The outer coast was totally washed, including the annoying roost-wreck at Cairnbulg where the birds stand just out of scope range on an upturned trawler. However the inner harbour appeared to be a calm sanctuary and Jane managed a new Broch record of 62 darvics.

Some shags roosting on the tyres in Fraserburgh Harbour (Photo Jane)

Loads of juvvies, including some of our own chicks from Bullers of Buchan (20kms south down the coast) plus two new data logger adults. These are birds from the Isle of May, much further south in the Firth of Forth. Data loggers are attached to the darvics of breeding adults in the summer and the ringers hope to recapture the birds back breeding at the same nest site next summer when the logger is removed and the data down loaded. Amount of daylight is continually recorded and this can be correlated with the amount of daylight expected during the winter months to plot the birds wintering grounds. Resightings of particular birds help calibrate the accuracy of the data being collected.

“I’ll just gee them a wee stun, honest" says Skitts (Photo Raymond)

On the down side Jane rescued a rather weak juvie, blue darvic UPP, from a bouldery roosting place. With more storms expected it is possible we may get a “wreck” of shags, an abnormal amount dying due to these harsh conditions.

Please check all harbours and rocky shores for roosting shags and beaches for potential high mortality over next few months


Monday, 12 December 2011

Linnet breeders still at home

With the weather turning a bit colder now linnets are finally coming onto one of the bait sites. 2 catches have produced 99 linnets and a few goldfinch, chaffy and greenies. 12 retrap linnets have included 4 colour-ringed adults, 2 juveniles and 3 pullus from this summer’s ringing at Girdleness.

Males Orange/Orange and White/Yellow ringed as breeding males in May 2011 and retrapped December (Raymond Duncan)

Mind you, if the linnets sat in the trees above the catching site and looked through a telescope they could see their nest sites 6kms away to the south. Hopefully we can get a few more flocks onto bait sites this winter scattered a bit further around the region to see how far adults and juveniles disperse and see how many survive the winter. It’s amazing how many actually survived the previous 2 winters given the deep snow we had and how long it lay in freezing conditions. We actually watched weakened linnets drop from the air through starvation at one site in January 2010 and had to refrain from catching large numbers at the bait site along with 5 different bunting species (snow, corn, reed, yellow and lapland) as conditions were just too extreme

Finch/bunting flock and 4 bunting species (Hywel Maggs)

Some very fluffy linnets on bait at New Aberdour 9/1/10 (Hywel Maggs)

It would appear not all of our local bred birds remain for the winter. Breeding female retrap Yellow/Yellow photographed below at Girdleness on 15/5/11 by local birder Graham Ruthvin, had originally been ringed as a juvenile on passage at Portland Bill, Dorset on 5/10/10.

Please have a go for those lintie flocks if you can.