Birdlife in Deerness - December 2015

There are rarely any surprises in December but still plenty of birds around even though they are the

more common ones such as Starlings, House Sparrows, Greenfinches, Blackbirds. The large flock of

Rooks can still be seen around the parish and, of course, Gulls of assorted types are always obvious,

as are Hooded Crows.

I miss Oystercatchers during the winter as most of them are away visiting warmer climes in the


I was alerted by two unmistakable cries early in the month at Quoybelloch as 2 Snipe rose up and

flew off. A bit bigger but similar to a snipe, a Woodcock was reported at the Lighthouse Corner

Quarry Gardens on the 19th.

On the 16th Anne Reitzug spotted a Short-eared Owl sitting on a fencepost at Little Halley. The very

next day one (likely to be the same bird) flew across our back garden here at Sunnybank. To score a

triple it was nice to see a Short-eared Owl rising from a fencepost on the road down to Newark Bay

while further down a Hooded Crow rested on a post.

On December 27th my visit to Sandside Bay to do a beached bird report was rewarded by lots of

sightings. Along to road there were Greylag Geese in the field below Creya; just across quite a

number of Rock Doves were searching for food in Jim Foubister's field. Yet more Greylags (300-plus)

were in the field adjacent to the Gloup.

Walking down the track to Sandside 20 Common Gulls pecked around the field on the left. A handful

of Curlews were calling and I saw a single Lapwing.

A favourite bird which inhabits the burn area going down the path is the Wren and I wasn't

disappointed on this occasion as one flew by before disappearing into the undergrowth.

Not surprisingly, due to the high winds of late and the imminent high tide, there was a spectacular

sea of white foam and crashing waves. Riding these with confidence was a huge flock of ducks -

mostly Wigeon but also Mallards.

On the shore itself were Turnstones, Purple Sandpipers and Redshank following the tide in and out

and no doubt finding plenty to eat. Completing the picture were a variety of Gulls, lots of Starlings, a

few Rock Doves and a Rock Pipit.

Well worth donning the warm clothing on a cool but fine day.

Jan16 Bird 1

Rough seas at Sandside with Copinsay in the background.

Jan16 Bird 2

 Wader dodging the waves at Sandside.

Pauline Wilson