News archive

November 2008

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Male merlin perched on old fence post, Shetland

What's the Point of Ayr ?

As we approached the car park the drizzle started in earnest. The call of an early coffee in the warm cafe was strong but resist it we did. Scanning the salt marsh we desperately hunted for any sign of twite or snow buntings or even perhaps a rarely lapland bunting. Alas, all we could see was a flock of linnet, 2 pied wagtail and a small flock of very wet meadow pipit. Into the dunes we ranged to stumble across a pair of stonechat and fleeting views of a merlin as it shot across the horizon. In the bushes and hedges redwing competed with blackbirds, song and mistle thrush for berries. A massive flock of long tailed tits came wandering through the bushes, their high pitched contact calls giving away their presence before we could see them. Back to the embankment for a watch over the tide produced good numbers of common scoter, pintail, teal and shellduck with around 10 or so red-breasted merganser. Waders included good numbers of curlew, grey plover, dunlin, ringed plover and in amongst the flock of redshank was a lovely spotted redshank - nice !. Commotion was caused by the arrival of a peregrine but the birds soon calmed down after it had moved on. Little egret fed in the channels to remind us of home ! After a short break in the aforementioned cafe (for a lovely cup of tea and bacon toastie !) we venture back into the dunes to look for a short eared owl that had been seen earlier that day by other birders. Whilst we obtained better views of redwing and found a treecreeper feeding in a small copse, any owls that may have been there eluded us. With kestrel and a buzzard on the way home we completed our bird tally for the day.