Bird Report - January 2015

The weekend of January 24th/25th saw the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch and I wonder how many Deerness folk took part in this count. On a wet and windy Saturday the birds still visited our feeders and I counted the following: 6 Blackbirds, 25 Greenfinches, 18 Starlings, 38 House Sparrows, 1 Robin, 8 Rooks (these were in the field).

January has been a month of gales, wintry showers and rain - not the best conditions to suit our birds.

Very early in the new year there were 200 Curlews in the field at the side of Johnny Aitken's workshop. From there I had a walk to Deer Sound and it was nice to see a Whooper Swan alongside a mixed flock of Mallards and Wigeon, the latter unmistakable due to their distinctive whistle.

While driving up from Newark beach one day I spotted approximately 60 Linnets flying near Jean Corsie's house at The Links.

We have had a female Hen Harrier hunting here at Sunnybank on two occasions, firstly on January 16th, then on the 27th when I watched the bird patrol our bushes before flying off.

hen harrier

(photo of Hen Harrier by Ian Cunningham).

With the awful weather it has been difficult watching the birds, although I have noticed small flocks of Greylag Geese in a number of locations around the parish.

Dedicated bird spotters are not so easily put off though and I have the following reports from them:

A search at the burn near Newark was rewarded with a Goldfinch together with a very confiding small flock of Twite. Also 40 Greenfinches, a nice bunch of Sanderlings, Purple Sandpipers, Ringed Plovers and Rock Pipits on the shore.

On 5th January a Mistle Thrush was in the stubble field at Skaill.

A Snow Goose was at the back of Sidney Eunson's farm on January 12th and it was still there two days later.

On January 14th 280 Golden Plovers were with Lapwings and Curlews near the Gloup. Moving up to the field to the east of Lighthouse Corner 24 Golden Plovers, 31 Turnstones and a single Fieldfare were seen, along with Redshanks and Lapwings.

A little Gull was a rare sighting at Sandside Bay on the 21st.

In spite of the wintry weather, there are plenty of birds still to be seen. I must stress that it is still important to continue feeding them throughout the winter so I hope people are doing this.

Pauline Wilson