Bird Report - November 2108

First sighting of note for me was on the 2nd when a small bird flew onto the fence at Newark. Through the binoculars I saw this was a handsome male Stonechat a bird that always sits atop plants or fences.

Only a few days later and in virtually the same place it was a colourful scene as 6 Goldfinches were feeding on burdock seeds in Russell Aitken's field and just adjacent were 4 Greenfinches on the fence accompanied by yet another male Stonechat.

Two days earlier, still at Newark, the high winds resulted in spectacular seas and a number of Seals were swimming very close to the shore. A flock of Turnstones were investigating what gifts the waves were washing onto the beach.

Marlene Rorie from Newark contacted me on the 14th with a long-distance photo of a Buzzard perched on the roof of Isobel Gardner's barn. This was also present the morning after. I would have liked to have seen this as it is quite a size!

During the month there were plenty of opportunities to see waders in the fields - Curlew, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Redshank and Snipe, the latter usually heard before they are seen as they rise from the ground with a startled cry.

Now the weather is turning cooler I have noticed Greenfinches returning to the garden bird feeder. I feed Sunflower Hearts and these certainly attract this species. Don't forget the House Sparrows and Starlings though. Keep those feeders topped up. Peanuts are great all year round but particularly in winter, as are fatballs (please do not feed in nets). I seem to have a number of Rock Doves and Collared Doves calling by now but I don't mind as I like to see birds of any species.

On November 23rd I was asked to take part in the National Goose Count so I went around the highways and byways of Deerness armed with binoculars and map! I know a lot of people will be dismayed to learn that I counted over 1700 Greylag Geese in the parish.

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Photo of Greylag Goose by Ian Cunningham.

While on the count I had a nice view of a Fieldfare in a field near Oback.

Noticeable recently have been quite a high number of Ravens. This big black bird is about the first to breed, I believe nest-building as early as January.

Well, the storms have certainly washed in a lot of plastics and netting onto our beaches, notably Newark. While walking the dog I try to pick up stuff from the path and I was heartened to see Marlene and Ivor Rorie tackling the problem in their small tractor. Plenty of people walk at Newark and it would be nice if they could respond to the request to "Pick up 3 Pieces". It would make such a difference to our beautiful beaches.

Finally, it was special to be at the St. Ninian's Armistice Memorial on November 11th - such an important date as it was exactly one hundred years since the Armistice was signed. A lot of work went into researching the stories of the young men from Deerness who tragically never returned from the war. Although not a bird story I think it counts as it was a lovely morning with the sea and the birds accompanying the moving event.

Pauline Wilson