You are browsing the archive for 2012 December.

by KiwiGav

Whooper Swans in East Lothian

December 31, 2012 in sightings

Hi all just noticed on the Yahoo group for Lothian bird news that there’s been around 200 whooper swans seen in East Lothian, I’ve tried my best to mark the spot I think they’re talking about on the map below:

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and a couple of my Whooper Swan photos shot on the River Esk Musselburgh:

whooper swan - Scotland - Gavin Hamilton

whooper swan - Scotland - Gavin Hamilton

by KiwiGav

Very few Garden birds out today, a photo from Edinburgh’s Torchlight procession.

December 31, 2012 in sightings

Another very quiet but very windy day in the garden! Mix of rain and I’m pretty sure sleet. Here’s my list as of 11.12am for Hogmanay:

  1. Blackbird x 3
  2. Coal Tit x 1
  3. Dunnock x 1
  4. Magpie x 2

I thought I’d do an afternoon count as this morning was so low, however the afternoon only added:

  1. Chaffinch x 3
  2. Robin x 1
  3. Woodpigeon x 2

It was nice to see a Robin first time in a few days.

I hope everyone has a great New Years Eve, here’s photo from the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay torchlight procession a few years ago, sadly wasn’t there last night due to my torn ankle tendons, hopefully next year! Hope this gets you in the mood for NYE:

Edinburgh's Hogmanay torchlight procession

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay torchlight procession

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by KiwiGav

Sorry my computer shut down and I lost my list today.

December 30, 2012 in sightings

Hi everyone, my computer did an auto shut down before I could post the list of birds, I remember there was 1 bullfinch and 3 chaffinches, but other than that I lost my details. Very sorry.

by KiwiGav

Birds singing by full moon light and another windy day!

December 29, 2012 in sightings

Hi all a very quiet day in the garden, still very strong winds, however last night at 1am the full moon was so bright I could here a Robin singing, was rather surprised!  Here’s today’s list, only 7 species of birds and only 10 birds!

  1. Blackbird x 1
  2. Blue Tit x 1
  3. Chaffinch x 1
  4. Coal Tit x 1
  5. Herring Gull x 3 fly overs
  6. Robin x 1
  7. Woodpigeon x 2

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by Gavin

BTO – Garden Blackcap Survey

December 28, 2012 in sightings

From the BTO website:

Garden Blackcap Survey – welcome!

Blackcap (Nick Stacey)Do you have more female Blackcaps in your garden than males?


Blackcaps are an increasingly common sight at garden feeding stations during winter and are spotted most often early in the New Year. The foods that we provide seem to be having a profound effect on the ecology of these birds, changing their migratory patterns and subsequent nesting habits.

With your help, we want to find out more about the behaviour of Blackcaps in winter gardens. Choose one day this January to help us answer these three key questions:

1) Which foods are Blackcaps eating?
2) Are there equal numbers of male and female Blackcaps?
3) Are the Blackcaps aggressive with other, similar sized birds?

Blackcaps and bird feeders
How to spot a Blackcap
Key questions
Instructions and take part

Download a free BTO Factsheet about Wintering Blackcaps

More information on BirdGuides website: BTO: Wanted: sightings of bolshy garden bird


I haven’t seen one this year and last years sighting was a 5 minute view before it headed off, just a quick re-fuel stop and then quickly heading south. They’re a very nice bird!

by KiwiGav

Very very windy here in Edinburgh

December 28, 2012 in sightings

Looks like the wind has scared off a lot of the birds today, I waited and did a second count this afternoon and it was worse than this list from this morning, although was nice to see a Great Tit, they’re not a regular to my garden, the coal tits we can get up 10 at once and blue tits about 5, I think record for my garden for Long-tailed tits was 16!

  1. Blackbird x 2
  2. Blue Tit x 1
  3. Chaffinch x 1
  4. Coal Tit x 2
  5. Dunnock x 1
  6. Great Tit x 1
  7. Greenfinch x 2
  8. Herring Gull x 2 fly overs
  9. House Sparrow x 3

Here’s one of my Coal tit photos:

Coal Tit launching into flight – Gavin Hamilton

Coal Tit launching into flight – Gavin Hamilton

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by KiwiGav

Snow’s on the Pentland Hills south of Edinburgh & Blue Tits back!

December 27, 2012 in sightings

A few more blackbirds today, but not as many as 10 – the most I’ve seen in the garden at one time – and great to see a few Blue Tits as well I’d started to wonder where they’d got to, maybe the cold has brought them out , looking across the hills I can see the Pentlands are white with snow.  Another day of 9 different species and 31 different birds:

  • Blackbird x 6
  • Blue Tit x 3
  • Chaffinch x 3
  • Coal Tit x 2
  • Dunnock x 1
  • Greenfinch x 3
  • Herring Gull x 2 – fly overs
  • House Sparrow x 10
  • Magpie x 1

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by KiwiGav

Boxing Day Garden bird list – very still and quiet!

December 26, 2012 in sightings

It’s been a very quiet morning in the garden today, everything’s so still and a lot of insects flying around so guess the garden birds don’t need to use the feeders, also one of the feeders is currently down for cleaning, I rotate which ones come down on different days so there’s always at least one up.  Here’s my garden list for today:

  • Blackbird x 1
  • Chaffinch x 1
  • Coal Tit x 2
  • Dunnock x 1
  • Greenfinch x 2
  • Herring Gull x 1 flying over
  • House Sparrow x 3
  • Woodpigeon x 1

Update 13.00, not as many as Christmas day but 16 magpies have just shown up all being very raucous and chasing one another around from tree to tree, to roof to antenna.

  • Magpie x 16

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by KiwiGav

Merry Christmas, had a bumper morning for birds at my place!

December 25, 2012 in sightings

Merrry Christmas everyone! I hope you all get to see a few more birds than just turkey today!  I think this is actually the most viewed for me in my WBIST counts so far, especially with the 23 magpies, although only 7 of them were in my garden the trees around my house were alive with their cackles, so great to see on Christmas, here’s today’s list:

  • Blackbird x 5
  • Black-headed gull x 1 – Fly over.
  • Bullfinch x 1 – Female
  • Chaffinch x 2
  • Coal Tit x 1
  • Dunnock x 1
  • Greenfinch x 3
  • House Sparrow x 7
  • Magpie x 23
  • Woodpigeon x 1

46 Birds in total, very nice for a suburban area! 

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by KiwiGav

A very wet Common Buzzard

December 24, 2012 in sightings

I was on my way to Crammond in the hope of doing a bit of bird watching and noticed a very very wet Common Buzzard on top of a street light at the top of Clermiston Rd Corstorphine.  Sadly this was the only bird I got to see in my afternoon out as my wife’s car got a flat and while trying to replace it the light faded and I didn’t get any birding done.  Weirdly the socket on the end of the tire lever that was supplied with the car only fits the outer plastic covers that go over the bolts, once you take the covers off the socket doesn’t come close to fitting the wheel nuts! Thanks a lot Ford for making me think I had enough in the car to change a wheel!

Anyway here’s my location for the Common Buzzard:

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