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Archives - 2008


 December 30-31st

• Kilmarnock-Springside area, Ayrshire: Spent the past few days cycling around looking for Tree Sparrows in the Kilmarnock area without much luck. On the 31st, the disused railway line near Springside still had at least 35 on barley stubble along with 24 Yellowhammers and 100+ Skylark. A Great Tit here uttering a three note call showed mimicry with the Yellowhammer's perched contact call followed by the classic double pink-pink note. The same bird later gave a second call type consisting of more Yellowhammer-like mimicry – the rippling flight call repeated three times. A stubble field at Paddocklaw (NS379406) had Tree Sparrow (6), Yellowhammer (64), Reed Bunting (19), Chaffinch (15) and Skylark (22).


December 30th

•Bonnyton disused railway line, Ayrshire: Still 10 Waxwings present throughout the day in the cutting on the disused railwayline at Bonnyton, Kilmarnock, ranging between NS418387 and NS415389. In addition to the usual shrill contact calls, I also heard a short, electrical buzz, uttered between two birds perched side by side. All five common thrushes on the berries too.


December 29th

•Bonnyton disused railway line, Ayrshire: Waxwing (17).

•Stevenston Point, Ayrshire: Between 1600h and 1700h at Stevenston Point, a flock of c800 Jackdaws and c200 Rooks gathered on the beach to the north, before taking to the air in swarming groups (almost rivalling Starlings for collective aerobatics) against the sunset, before disappearing towards Ardeer after dark.


December 28th

•Bonnyton disused railway line, Ayrshire: A flock of 17 Waxwings were feeding in hawthorns at the start of the disused railway line at Bonnyton, Kilmarnock around 1430h before flying into trees at the entrance to the tip/recycling centre on Western Road.

•Warwickdale, Ayrshire: Jack Snipe (1) and Common Snipe (10).


December 27th

•Kilmarnock, Ayrshire: Waxwing (27) over Western Road/Knockinlaw Road.

•Irvine, Ayrshire: Waxwing (40) in East Road.

•Kilmarnock-Irvine (course of the old railway line), Ayrshire: A walk from Kilmarnock to Irvine on the 26th produced 27 Waxwings in Western Road, Kilmarnock, and 40 Waxwings in East Road, Irvine. Along the disused railway line near Knockentiber, a deer carcass attracted two Ravens, two Buzzards and up to a dozen Magpies. Some counts along the line between Bonnyton and Springside included Bullfinch (10), Blackbird (62), Yellowhammer (40), Lesser Redpoll (3), Long-tailed Tit (15), Chaffinch (65), Redwing (41), and Fieldfare (16) as well as Sparrowhawk, Grey Wagtail, Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Linnet, Meadow Pipit and Skylark among the commoner species. The flock of Tree Sparrows was still present near Springside, split in two groups in hedgerow on opposite sides of a large stubble field. At Capringstone totals included: Wigeon (300+), Teal (110), Mallard (40+), Little Grebe (2), Curlew (106), Lapwing (35),  The River Irvine between Holmsford Bridge and Shewalton produced Goosander (4), Red-breasted Merganser (m) and a Little Grebe. We finished up at Irvine harbour with the usual suspects.


December 25th

•Crosshouse, Ayrshire: Barn Owl at 0100h.

•Bonnyton disused railway line, Ayrshire: Waxwing (4) (AS).


December 23rd

•Knockentiber-Springside disused railway line, Ayrshire: A couple of days cycling around looking for Tree Sparrows paid off today along the disused railway line between Knockentiber and Springside with a site record count of 62 birds in a single flock at NS 380396. They were feeding in barley stubble with c20 Yellowhammers and c60 Chaffinches and resting in hawthorn scrub and beech trees. This surpasses the last high count of 55 here on 7 October 1995 and is probably the biggest Ayrshire flock since 1990. Also 48 Greylags here yesterday and 30 Fieldfare, 50+ Skylark, 7 Bullfinches and 540 Rooks today. A Redwing was heard uttering a lovely squeeky/bubbling subsong too.

•River Irvine at Holmsford Bridge-Shewalton, Ayrshire: Red-breasted Merganser (7) in freshwater on the River Irvine between Holmsford Bridge and the GSK factory; Goosander on the River Irvine at Gatehead; Wigeon (320) at Capringstone; Peregrine over Onthank PS and Long-tailed Tit (31) at Kilmarnock Academy this morning. Male Tufted Duck still on Kay Park pond.


November 22nd

• St Peter's Cemetery, Aberdeen: Waxwing (c200).


November 9-15th

• United Arab Emirates: Socotra Cormorant, Western Reef Egret, Indian Pond Heron, Greater Spotted Eagle, Crab Plover, Red-wattled Lapwing, White-tailed Lapwing, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Sooty Gull, Saunders' Tern, White-cheeked Tern, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, White-collared Kingfisher, Pharaoh Eagle Owl, Little Green Bee-eater, Indian Roller, Black-crowned Finch-Lark, Pale Crag Martin, Olive-backed Pipit, Hooded Wheatear, Hume's Wheatear, Variable Wheatear, Sykes's Warbler, Persian Wheatear, Plain Leaf Warbler, Arabian Babbler, Purple Sunbird, Isabelline Shrike.

 November 2nd

• West Hythe, Kent: Green Heron at the Royal Military Canal.



 September 20th/22nd

• Carsethorn, Dumfries & Galloway: Hoopoe on the beach by the Nith.




 September 14th

• Kensington Gardens, London: Common Buzzard o/h 1350h.



 August 10th

• Loch Doon, Ayrshire: 200+ Scotch Argus.

• Knockentiber-Springside disused railway line, Ayrshire: Common Hawker (AS).



August 8th

• Doonfoot, Ayrshire: adult Buff-breasted Sandpiper, present 6-9 Aug, the fourth Ayrshire record, found by Archie Macintosh.




June 28th - July 13th

• South & East Turkey: 215 spp inc Saker, Caspian Snowcock, Black Francolin, See-see Partridge, Pale Scops Owl, White-breasted Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Radde's Accentor, White-throated Robin, Finsch's Wheatear, Red-tailed Wheatear, Graceful Warbler, Paddyfield Warbler, Upcher's Warbler, Krόpper's Nuthatch, Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Iraq Babbler, Dead Sea Sparrow, Yellow-throated Sparrow, Pale Rock Sparrow, Red-fronted Serin, Mongolian Trumpeter Finch, Desert Finch, Grey-necked Bunting & Cinereous Bunting.



June 15th

• Gailes Marsh, Ayrshire: Emerald, Azure, Blue-tailed, Common Blue & Large Red Damselflies present. Also Small Copper, Small Heath, and. Common Blue. Sand Martin with 29 AONs.


• Dean Castle Country Park, Ayrshire

• Dawn Chorus Chronology


      Time of first registration

      Song Thrush


      Carrion Crow















      partly cloudy

      no wind



June 14th

• Pinbain Burn, Ayrshire: Grayling (1), Northern Brown Argus (2), Wall (1), Large Skipper (10), Common Blue (6), Small Heath (3), and Meadow Brown (3). Rock Pipit carrying food to nest site in dry stane dyke.


• North Glen App, Ayrshire: Dark Green Fritillary (17), Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (13), Large Heath (17), Wall (1), Large Skipper (2), Small Heath (70+), Golden-ringed Dragonfly (9). Also Peacock, Green-veined White, Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Large Red Damselfly, Roe Deer, Tawny Owl, Jay, Crossbill (4), Redpoll, Siskin, and Spotted Flycatcher.



 June 6th-13th

• Kindrogan Field Centre & environs, Perthshire: Red Grouse, Osprey, Long-eared Owl, Ring Ouzel, Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Wood Warbler, Goldeneye, Goosander, Woodcock, Dipper, Tree Pipit, & Crossbill.


Dawn Chorus Chronology  Sunrise: 0425h  Sunset: 2201h (11-jun)









      Song Thrush




















      Garden Warbler














      light wind

      partly cloudy

      light wind

      blue sky

      no wind



May 24th

• Walthamstow Reservoirs, London: Black Terns on East Warwick.

• London Wetland Centre: Avocet (pr), Hobby & Broad-bodied Chaser.



May 18th

• Milton Country Park, Cambrbridge: Hairy Dragonfly (20+) & Wood Mouse.



May 12th

• Walthamstow Reservoirs, London: Cuckoo singing & 42 Common Terns on East Warwick at dusk.



May 10-11th

• Docklands, London: Up to 10 pairs of Common Tern breeding at East India Dock Basin.

• Hendon, London: Swifts returned to breeding sites on Sunningfields Road in the last few days.



May 6th

• Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: Brimstone and Holly Blue in the city centre. Field Vole colony at the Zoology Department.



May 5th

• Old Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire: Roof top nesting Oystercatchers and  Orange Tips around the university and Seaton Park.



April 27th

• Drumtee, Ayrshire: First Green Hairstreak of the year.

• Corsehouse Reservoir, Ayrshire: Teal (2 prs), Great Crested Grebe (pr), Little Grebe (pr), Common Sandpiper (pr), Common Crossbill, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, Raven, & Buzzard.



 April 14-19th

• Hornborgasjon, Sweden: Garganey, Bittern, Red-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, White-tailed Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Goshawk, Osprey, Crane, Crested Tit, & Common Redpoll.



April 2nd-12th

• Costa de la Luz, Spain: Marsh Sandpiper, Little Swift, North Bald Ibis (reintroduced), Roller, Purple Swamphen, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Slender-billed Gull, Short-toed Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Spectacled Warbler, & Caspian Tern.



March 17-19th

• Kensington Gardens, London: Mediterranean Gull in full breeding plumage.

• Photographs here



 February 24th

• Sunny Hill Park, North London: Pheasant (unusual locality).



February 17th

• Aberdeen University: Waxwing (24) at Queen Mother Library.



February 16th

• Donmouth Nature Reserve, Aberdeenshire: Goosander, Red-breasted Merganser, Shag, Sanderling, Dunlin, Turnstone, & Redshank.



February 10th

• Walthamstow Reservoirs, London: Little Egret (1). Another in the River Lea Navigation channel at Tottenham Hale station. Shelduck (17). Common Sandpiper (2).



February 9th

• Round Pond, Kensington Gardens, London: Mediterranean Gull (ad) with green leg ring AASZ from a capture at Elbe Estuary in Germany in 2004.



January 17th

• Sunny Hill Park, Hendon: First Goldcrest song of the year heard.



January 12th

• Kensington Gardens, London: Peregrine over.



January 6th

• Kilmarnock Water/Townholm, Ayrshire: Dipper



January 5th

• Ayrshire Winter Bird Race: 83 spp inc... Tree Sparrow, Lesser Redpoll, Yellowhammer, Raven, Shoveler, Stock Dove, Goosander, Buzzard, Whooper Swan, Gadwall, Turnstone, Greenshank, Rock Pipit, Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan, Kittwake, Common Scoter & Purple Sandpiper.



January 4th

• Fenwick Water/Bringan Ford, Ayrshire: Dipper.



January 3rd

• Cardoness, Dumfries & Galloway: Cattle Egret still near Cardoness Castle, Gatehouse of Fleet.

• More photographs here

• Caerlaverock, Dumfries & Galloway: Barnacle Geese.



January 2nd

• Knockentiber-Springside Disused Railway Line, Ayrshire: Kingfisher, Carmel Water.

• River Irvine/Holmsford Bridge, Ayrshire: Goosander (2 mm).

• Capringstone, Ayrshire: Kingfisher.



January 1st

• Cardoness, Dumfries & Galloway: Cattle Egret near Cardoness Castle, Gatehouse of Fleet.





London Wetland Centre © 2007 Fraser Simpson



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Hooded Wheatear (Oenanthe monacha) Green Mubazzarah, UAE  

© 2008 Fraser Simpson

Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus) at Ras al Khor, UAE  

© 2008 Fraser Simpson

Persian Wheatear (Oenanthe chrysopygia) at Jebel Hafeet, UAE  

© 2008 Fraser Simpson

Green Heron (Butorides virescens) at West Hythe, Kent  

© 2008 Fraser Simpson

Green Heron (Butorides virescens) at West Hythe, Kent  

© 2008 Fraser Simpson

Green Heron (Butorides virescens) at West Hythe, Kent  

© 2008 Fraser Simpson

Hoopoe (Upupa epops) at Carsethorn, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland  

© 2008 Fraser Simpson

Hoopoe (Upupa epops) at Carsethorn, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland  

© 2008 Fraser Simpson


Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis) at Doonfoot, Ayrshire, Scotland © 2008 Fraser Simpson


Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis) at Doonfoot, Ayrshire, Scotland © 2008 Fraser Simpson


Eurasian Crane (Grus grus) at Lake Hornborga, Sweden © 2008 Fraser Simpson


Eurasian Crane (Grus grus) at Lake Hornborga, Sweden © 2008 Fraser Simpson


Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) at Cardoness, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland © 2008 Fraser Simpson


Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) at Cardoness, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland © 2008 Fraser Simpson