Monday, 26 September 2011

Mega Northern Twitch

On Saturday Gary and i embarked on a twitch that was mega in more than one way. Firstly it was to see a 'Mega' in the Sandhill Crane, secondly it was in Aberdeenshire and thirdly i was working both Friday and Sunday. After work on Friday i got an early night and Gary picked me up at 3am. We drove north with only a brief breakfast stop at Scotch Corner and a petrol stop somewhere in Scotland. We made good time until we reached Aberdeen where and accident delayed us 45minutes and after hunting for the Strathbeg RSPB reserve we arrived about 1pm. Luckily enough the Sandhill Crane was viewable from the information center so we didn't have to walk far. Although a little distance, the openness of the site meant, with a scope you could get clear, detailed views without too much effort. We hung around about 45 minutes, also noting 2 juv. Pectoral Sandpiper and 4+ Barnacle Geese amongst 1000's of Pinkfoot Geese, as well the more common birds.
From Loch of Strathbeg RSPB we decided to call in a Blackdog a village we had passed on the way and with news that the Black Scoter that's been present for a few months had been seen it was worth a stop, 2 Surf Scoter were also reported in the area. Arriving we were greeted by a sea covered with a birds. Large numbers of Eider, Common Scoter and Guillemot, with Red-thraoted Diver and Razorbill mixed in. With some drake Common Scoter being well marked on the bill locating the Black Scoter wasn't easy. Gary eventually located the bird, but after a few minutes we lost it once again as it dived and moved on the tide. I had a single Puffin fly through, along with 2 Red-breasted Merganser, but we struggled to locate the Surf Scoter. Conscious of the time at 4pm we though we should start heading home. After a KFC stop at Gretna we arrived home at 1am,
22 hours, 1135 miles and 2 'Megas' after setting out.

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