Monday, 28 September 2015

Where are the birds in the Baltics!

It's been a while since posting anything, as we have been away on a whirlwind 10 day non-birding trip starting in Stockholm, then on to Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn and Helsinki, so 5 countries and capitals with 2 nights in each.

We didn't take our bins on this trip as we would mostly be in towns and didn't want the additional weight, but my 500mm lens for the camera came just in case!

However it wasn't really needed for birds as they were few and far between, as per David Lindo we were always looking up just in case, but apart from clouds and buildings there was nothing, with exception of Feral Pigeons and Hooded Crows. We did get one first in Stockholm although it was a sub-species and that was Baltic Gull, really a Lesser Black-backed Gull in my eyes:

Another abundant species in most places, although I didn't get a photo, never changed the lens in time were White Wagtail, so another sub-species.  Around the harbours of Stockholm, Tallinn and Helsinki there were plenty of Cormorant about. Also a boat trip around the islands of Helsinki did show up Red-breasted Merganser, some Wigeon and Mute Swan.

One highlight was a large flock of Barnacle Geese that we came across when visiting the Drottningholm Palace just outside Stockholm:

The only other common bird in the Stockholm and Helsinki Archipelagos were Great Crested Grebe, there were tons about, especially juveniles.

So from a birding point of view very disappointing, but from every other point of view; History, Culture and most importantly Beer and Food it was a great trip! We learnt so much about what the Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians have had to put up with over the last hundred years at the hands of  firstly Tsarist Russia, then the Germans and finally the Soviets, you have to admire their spirit and courage.

Here are a few other snaps from the trip, birds only, nothing exciting!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Ayr Airshow

Another chance was taken to see the Vulcan before she retires. As we were in Scotland anyway even though we were on the east coast, we hauled ourselves over to the west coast on Saturday morning and plonked ourselves down on the beach for the Scottish Airshow at Ayr. We sat down just in time for the RAF Typhoon to start its display. Sadly I was eating a bacon sandwich, well not sad at all really as I was starving and the bacon sandwich was delicious! What I mean is with my hands full of sandwich I was in no position to take photos. So in this case the priority was food!

So here are some photos that I did take:

For the rest go to:
All the pics!

We did see some birds as well, of course plenty of Gulls about (Herring, Lesser Black Backed, Black Headed, some Oystercatcher on the distant shoreline, a flock of Brent Geese passed through and a flight of Eider which surprised me. There were some small waders about but at the time to distant to identify.

Water of Leith again!

We were up in Edinburgh last week for our fantastic daughter's birthday and took the opportunity for a walk along the Water of Leith again, we went to the stretch where we have seen Dippers in the past, but they weren't showing this time, we did get this Heron:
and at least 4 Grey Wagtails:

We explored a part of the river that we hadn't been to before, you wouldn't believe that you are in the middle of Edinburgh:

A great walk, with still more to explore on our next visit.