Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Whuppity Scoorie

Just in case you folks didn’t know. Today March 1st is known in parts of Scotland as “Whuppity Scoorie”- supposedly it reflects changes when lighter spring evenings replaced the dark winter nights and a time to celebrate; perhaps with a wee dram? 

For me the marginally lighter mornings mean a chance to go birding 30 minutes sooner and to catch up with a glass of wine once the day is over. The Barn Owl just didn’t want to co-operate this morning. The roads are still pretty busy until even lighter mornings arrive and this owl is sensible enough to avoid the passing vehicles. So I made do with a distant photo and then went on my way. 

Barn Owl

I made it to Gulf Lane where the Linnets have made something of a comeback with 100+ in attendance and still preferring what’s left of the natural food rather than our millet/rapeseed mix. It looks like the Avian Flu restrictions are to apply for some time yet to further frustrate or efforts to catch birds here. As well as a couple of Stock Doves, I counted five or more Skylarks in the immediate area with a couple flying off from the net ride where we deposit the seed mix. A single Little Egret hunted the dyke with several tree Sparrows around the farm as well as a Kestrel hovering over the roadside. 

Little Egret


The morning was very changeable with constantly shifting light. There was sun one minute, and then dark clouds followed by a hard shower, after which came more sun and more showers. Below is a picture from Cockersands with the ancient abbey (pre-1184) in the background right. In the second picture in the foreground of the abbey are the many thousands of Golden Plover, Lapwing, Redshank and Dunlin that have fed intermittently on the flood for a number of weeks now. So wary is the mixed assembly that it is impossible to get close and very difficult to count as the birds constantly fly around at the slightest disturbance and then land in different places. 

Towards Cockersands



I counted 3 Brown Hares in the same fields, together with several Skylarks and a handful of Meadow Pipits. March is the traditional time to see Brown Hares “boxing”, but ours aren’t ready just yet. As the females come into season, male hares take more and more interest, following them closely until ready to mate. This is known as ‘mate guarding’ - the male making sure a rival doesn’t steal his girl away. But if he gets too close, fur will fly as she gives him a left hook until she’s ready. 

Meadow Pipit

Brown Hare

Five hundred yards away at the shore were 10 + Tree Sparrow, 6 Woodpigeon, 4 Collared Dove, 4 Greenfinch, 4 Goldfinch, 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Linnet, 1 Little Egret. Some or maybe all of the Tree Sparrows here use buildings in which to nest as suitable trees and hedgerows are hard to come by. I watched a pair entering and leaving a gap between the roof and the walls where a Starling watched on. But I think the Starling was just a little too big to claim the site. 

Tree Sparrow


There’s nothing much doing at Conder Green but where the Avocets are due any day. Wader wise I did see 40+ Black-tailed Godwit circling behind the pool to then the land in some distant field. Also, 120 Teal, 15 Redshank, 15 Oystercatcher, 8 Curlew, 4 Goosander, 3 Little Grebe, 2 Little Egret and 1 Spotted Redshank. 

Stay tuned for more from Another Bird Blog. Meanwhile, keep in mind that other piece of March folklore - “As the days grow longer the storms grow stronger.”

Linking today to Anni's blog and Eileen's Saturday.


Linda said...

Beautiful series, Phil!!! It is chilly and rainy today here in Montreal and I am making a nice crock pot dinner of chicken and is starting to smell very good, and your photos have made my day. Thank you so much for sharing. :)

Stuart Price said...

Feels springlke here too..........great pic of the Meadow Pipit.

David Gascoigne said...

I have never heard of this obscure Scottish term but I may adopt the practices you describe as my very own. Actually I think I am pretty much on stream with it already. Now if I could just get over this jet lag.

Stewart M said...

I like the picture of the Tree sparrow - I think that the Kingfisher on my page has at least 4 different common names!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Lessandra said...

Some wonderful bird pictures! Your country of Scotland is gorgeous - spent six months there last year.

Thomas Lee said...

nice fence shot

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, I think celebrating the longer days is a great idea. I love the Barn Owl and the Dunlin shots. The Brown Hare is cute. Great post and photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

Lea said...

Great photos!
My favorite is the Meadow Pipit photo
Have a great week-end!

diane b said...

Great shot of the kestrel.

Kate said...

All of your bird photos are clear and detailed.

sandyland said...

pipit phot my fav

carol l mckenna said...

Such a lovely variety of 'feathered friends' and other critters ~ great shots ~ love the hare and owl ~ thanks,

Wishing you a Happy Weekend ~ ^_^

A Colorful World said...

Happy Whuppity Scorrie (sp?) ! My dear friend from Scotland died a few days before the first of March and we are mourning a much too early passing of a lovely woman. Perhaps she is celebrating in Heaven. My mind is on all things Scottish these days because of her. Our grandson at age three met her for the first time, and after hearing her speak her heavy brogue for a few minutes asked her "Why are you talking Spanish?" She laughed so hard and gave him a big hug! :-)

Lovely early spring series. The hare particularly says spring to me of course, and all the photos were wonderful.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

And a “Whuppity Scoorie” to you too! I may not have gotten up early today but I'll join you in the glass of wine later. Love the barn owl of course! He sure is light colored and beautiful! Such great photos this week!

Judy Biggerstaff said...

We have had some great days with beautiful weather here in Western Kentucky then other days where it is cold. But no snow to speak of. Your pics are beautiful and such a great variety. Thanks for sharing them.

Lowcarb team member said...

Well, I'd not heard of this term before ... but I have now, thank you.

Great selection of photo's and I especially like your header photograph too.

Hope you've been enjoying a good glass of wine!
Cheers ...

All the best Jan

Rajesh said...

Great shots of birds. Fantastic variety.

♥Anni @ I'd Rather B Birdin'♥ said...

Wow....that extra bit of daylight [we have so many days like that here...sunshine one minute and darkness/showers the next in Spring]- I really enjoyed driving along with you today. From the uncooperative owl to the starling. Oh and the distant view of the abbey was a special treat. Love the history of it all.

Now, 'bout that wine. What time is it in good ol' England? I'll take some along with you as we chat about our birding. [Love the name of the holiday too!]

Thanks so much for joining in with us bird enthusiasts this weekend and sharing your link at I'd Rather B Birdin'!

Jenn Jilks said...

They are so amazing!
I'm not quite sure how to do this.
"Jen, if you overexpose slightly it will highlight an owl (subject) against the white background. "

I ought to take a course, but I will surely forget!!!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

You live close to so much wildlife. Lovely series of photos.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I want to come back as a Scot in my next life, just so I can celebrate -- and say -- Whoopity Scorie on the first of March.

What a nice variety of birds -- and great pix as always. We used to see big flocks of Dunlin when we lived on the Lake in Oregon, swooping about like one organism. I never got decent pictures, they were always too far away, but we always watched for their flights to begin in late summer. So that was my favorite picture here today, but I enjoyed all.

Mary Cromer said...

Gorgeous landscapes, the Brown Hare is so beautiful and your birds all grand, but of course always for me, the Barn Owl takes the prize. I am going to check on older posts, as well as newer ;)

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