We’ve been keeping an eye out in the trees and bushes around Nairn for Waxwings over the past few weeks, slowly losing hope of seeing them this year. Then 145 of them in appear in two trees in The Dunbar Golf Course along side the Lochloy Road this afternoon! All of them humming a contented little ditty; sounding like a purring cat lazing in front of the fire. These are absolutely beautiful birds: their light flesh coloured crests sprouting proudly from their buff, orangey foreheads, against the smooth, creamy breasts and a fantastically golden yellow tip of the tail. They could easily be mistaken for a flock of Starlings, chattering at the top of a tree, but when you get closer there is no mistaking them at all – wonderfull little things! That’ll be the end of any berries in trees in the near vicinity for this year!
The Waxwing could be thought of as a regular visitor around this time of year, although only for a fleeting period. The Brambling (also due in the winter) are likely to be here a bit longer; so keep an eye out for them.
As for our regulars: the two Dippers are now at home on our river, the male singing his heart out. This is very early to be singing, so maybe it was setting out his territory? Watching them both flying low over the water (head held high and wings so fast that you can’t see them!) and then diving head first into the fast flowing water, is fantastic!
The 150 or so Redshank and 30 Turnstone are still at the harbour, as are the nine or so Goosanders. I’m told that two Red Breasted Mergansers have also been spotted near-bye. I’m still looking out for the ‘000’s of Dunlin (or are they Knot?!) that flock on the small sand bar by the harbour wall. Has a seen them yet? Also keep watch for the Snow Bunting at the beach.
Talking of territory: we saw two Mink on the river; one swimming across the mouth of the river at the harbour wall and the other climbing up the wall near the footbridge! At first both Kate and I were hoping it was an Otter, until it started to climb that is! I do worry about the indigenous species living and breeding in our river: the Mink can ravage anything in its path.
Finally – what about those skeins of geese! We counted over 700 in one flock over the house last week!