Not exactly the early bird today but I was at the top cattle grid by 9.45a.m. in a thick fog and a chilly start reminiscent of November. It felt good to lock up the pollutant piece of metal on four wheels and leave it behind for six hours. However, if you want to create a lengthy list of birds the last thing you do is go upland birding which can be - and often is - bloody hard work for little reward, but 29 June was something else which - until today - I thought 1 June had been but the Whinchat count this visit was worth every ounce of effort and I even got a decent pic of one sticking its chest out into the bargain.
An excellent day in the Cross of Greet/Bloe Greet area where I found a record 15 Whinchat including 4 juvenile. I would never have believed it was possible ever again to watch two pairs in fairly close proximity at the same time feeding young whilst I was having a 'buttie and a cuppa' here today, nor would I have believed I would ever see more of this species on the same days birding than the Wheatear of which I found thirteen including 4 juvenile. Conversely the Stonechat are dramatically down here in 2009 and I struggled to find 5 birds including just one juvenile. I counted 37 Meadow Pipit today compared to 28 on 1 June neither dates of which could possibly be regarded as good numbers and my counts everywhere I've been this year are down considerably. Five Raven were over Bloe Greet and I counted 5 Wren on the day, a Mistle Thrush, a Canada Goose - always to be seen up here - was distant and mainly hidden from view and would almost certainly have been accompanied by its mate and probably young. At Cross of Greet Bridge at least 3 Sand Martin and a pair of Oystercatcher seen, and an excellent bonus bird a Spotted Flycatcher.
Butterflies seen were, 3 Painted Lady, 4 Red Admiral, and 19 Small Heath, also a Golden - ringed Dragonfly and a Stoat.