Winter Birds at Baron’s Haugh, Motherwell

It has been quite mild here, if a little wet. However, today the sun was shining and it looked a perfect day for a spot of bird-watching. 

I walked to Baron’s Haugh and caught up with a few of my birding friends who were in the Marsh hide. There was not much to see from this hide, so we decided to go to the next one – the Causeway hide. 

This was much better as there were a lot more birds to see, including a large number of Teals. Unfortunately, the sun disappeared behind some dark clouds and the light became quite poor.

A couple from Linlithgow were visiting for the first time today and were impressed with the numbers of birds in the area. They had been at Loch Leven the day before and were wrapping up the long Christmas break with a visit to Motherwell.

Below are some photographs I took through my scope, although the poor light has not been strong enough to bring out the nice colours of the birds. Click on the photographs to enlarge. 

Teals
Teals

Teals are small dabbling ducks. The Males have chestnut coloured heads with broad green eye-patches, while the females are mottled brown. In winter they congregate in wetlands and many have come from the Baltic and Siberia. 

Male Goldeneye

Goldeneye are winter visitors. The males have a dark green head with a distinctive white circle under the eyes. The females have a brown head. The bird above was by itself and there were no other Goldeneye with him. 

Juvenile mute Swan

In Springtime we watched the adult swans building their nest and the bird above has successfully reached its first winter. It still has some of the dull juvenile feathers remaining, but they will soon be replaced by white ones. The beak is still a grey colour and it will soon become a bright orange one.

Adult Male Swan

In the picture above, the mute swan has a pair of Gadwall in front of him and just above his head, with the brown and white wings, is a Shoveller. 

By about 2.00pm the light was fading fast so it was time to call it a day and go home.

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Feathered Winter Visitors

Since my last post I have been attending my archery classes and taking photographs for various people which has taken up a lot of my time. However, today was lovely and sunny and just perfect for a spot of digiscoping at the local bird pond. 

The winter visitors are here and we managed to get some nice photographs of many the birds. Even although the scope can stretch quite a distance, some of the birds were just a bit too far away to photograph them to a good standard.

Below are some of the photographs we took.

The Canada geese always photograph well because they are large birds and also seem to come closer to the water’s edge than the other birds. In the summer I posted some photographs of the young birds which were on the golf course. They have all grown up now.

Canada Geese
Canada Geese
Canada Geese and Widgeon
Canada Geese and Widgeon
Whooper Swans
Canada Geese and Widgeon
Canada Geese and Widgeon
Whooper Swans

The Whooper swans above include two juveniles – their white beaks dull brown feathers identify them as immature.

Other birds on the pond were Great crested grebes, Tufted ducks, Gadwall, Black-headed gulls, and a Heron. It is a busy pond with plenty of birds to see.

There will not be too many sunny days this winter so it was very enjoyable today.

The Canada geese always photograph well because they are large birds and also seem to come closer to the water’s edge than the other birds. In the summer I posted some photographs of the young birds which were on the golf course. They have all grown up now and are difficult to spot.

The Whooper swans above include two juveniles – their white beaks dull brown feathers identify them as immature.Other birds on the pond were Great crested grebes, Tufted ducks, Gadwall, Black-headed gulls, and a Heron. It is a busy pond with plenty of birds to see. There will not be too many sunny days this winter so it was very enjoyable today.

We did pack up a bit early as there was a man lurking about in the trees watching us and we were a bit afraid he was intending to steal our equipment or attack us.

Digiscoping Birds at the Local Pond

The weather was lovely and sunny today in contrast to the pouring rain which has been present since the beginning of December.

I was up and out early with my sunglasses on to catch some photographs of the birds in my local pond. Approaching the pond, the birds were all swimming about near the water’s edge, but as soon as they heard me approach they moved to the centre of the pond.

Bird pond

The photo above gives an indication of how lovely a day it was.

Setting up my tripod and scope I realised I had forgotten the attachment for my SLR camera so I had to use the camera on my mobile phone, which is very good.

Canada Geese

Canada Geese

The Canada geese above were all sitting together on the banking but soon moved off into the pond when they heard me approaching.  

On the small island on the pond a few Canada geese were also resting. There was a slight commotion and I noticed there were two Cormorant in the area acting in an aggressive manner to what looked like an injured Canada goose lying in the grass on the island.

Aggressive Cormorant

Cormorant

The two of them soon calmed down!

The Cormorant on the right is a juvenile bird as can be see by the large white breast and brown colour. This turns darker with age.

Cormorant

Gadwall and Whooper Swans

In the pond were Gadwall – there are beautiful birds but always hard to photograph as they stay in the middle of the pond. I will try and get a photograph of them next time.

Whooper Swans

On the opposite bank were a group of Whooper swans. These are winter visitors and will soon be leaving to go back to Iceland for breeding. They can be identified by their yellow beaks.

Diving Ducks

There are a number of diving ducks in the pond including Tufted ducks, Goldeneye and Widgeon. Goldeneye male birds have black heads, while female and juvenile birds have brown heads. All have a white spot in front of the eye. 

Goldeneye
Tufted Ducks

It was a lovely way to spend the morning before a game of golf in the afternoon. On my way back home to change and get my golf clubs, I saw a Bumble Bee flying about. Very unusual to see one so early in the year.

Coming home from the golf it was just getting dark at 17.30. The dark days of winter are leaving us and the light summer days are almost here.

Can’t wait for summer.