Friday, 4 January 2019

Seamill & West Kilbride :: 02 January 2019

Our festive trip to see the folks up in Ayrshire allowed me to indulge in a spot of birdwatching, Red-breasted mergansermostly from the beach outside our hotel. Unfortunately sunrise is 30 minutes later than back in Banbury, and sunset 10 minutes earlier. So heading out before breakfast resulted in very poor light and very high ISO to get any shot.

Firstly, I hoped to pick up the dippers in the burn beside the hotel wall. Nothing doing. In the seaweed there were two meadow pipit and beyond were numbers of wigeon, teal and herring gull.

As I walked on I had a flypast from a drake red-breasted merganser and a few seals bobbed close to shore. A pipit flew left to right and I took a photo, Water pipitassuming it was a rock pipit - reviewing later it turned out to be water pipit.

Pairs of eider cruised well offshore, joined by cormorants - none that showed as shag. At the point I saw a handful of redshank which drew me to three turnstone feeding nearby. I was just admiring them when I noticed an intruder to the party - on closer inspection (ISO 5000) it was a purple sandpiper [#38] - never managed to find one of these before.

Time to get back and join the rest of the family.

The next morning Eilidh had a hair appointment in the Purple sandpipernext village (Fairlie) and as we entered the village we could see a number of birds on the shore - ducks and some small waders. Having dropped off Eilidh I headed back to the car park at the point, and parked up. Gulls dominated at the point but redshank fed in several groups, wigeon glided on the water, accompanied by several teal and a single shelduck. A single little egret fed at the end of the burn.

One wader caught my eye, being larger than the numbers of redshank. I managed to get a bit closer and found it was a Greenshank greenshank [#42].

Back round to the car and I added curlew [#43]. As I tried to get in position for a photo, and to the brow of the hill, I saw the red-breasted merganser again. Much better view this time.

Sightings totalled 32: black-headed gull, blackbird, buzzard, common gull, cormorant, curlew, dunnock, eider, great black-backed gull, greenshank, grey wagtail, herring gull, house sparrow, jackdaw, kestrel, little egret, meadow pipit, mute swan, oystercatcher, pied wagtail, purple sandpiper, red-breasted merganser, redshank, robin, rock dove / feral pigeon, shelduck, teal, turnstone, water pipit, wigeon, woodpigeon and wren.

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