Archive - April 2016

24th April 2016

Pow Burn

West today for a change. There was a possibility of a Whitethroat at the 'Pow' and as south of west looked better for the light, Pow Burn it was. Breakfast first as always and the breakfast at Asda in Kilmarnock was a good 9. Sadly the outward walk was very quiet indeed. The ' Pow' was empty apart from 2 Mute Swans. There were Skylarks singing away and I managed to get quite close to one when it came down. The Meadow Pipits were flitting about the brambles as usual and one stayed still long enough for some good shots. We settled down at the headland hoping for some insect activity but perhaps it was a bit early as nothing showed. The walk back was disappointing until we reached the start of the 'Pow '. The place was suddenly quite busy .
A pair of Shelduck were feeding quietly until disturbed by a dog and a Linnet was having a wash just ahead of us on the path. We waited here for a while and were rewarded with some Goldfinch, Willow Warblers and Dunnock. A rather busy end to a rather quiet day. As we settled down for our tea and a bun a Lesser Black Backed hovered above in the hope of a feed. It didn't get much!

Mute Swan Skylark Meadow Pipit
Shelduck Linnet Goldfinch
Willow Warbler Dunnock Lesser black-backed Gull

17th April 2016


The best of the weather was to be in the east, so Dalkeith Morrisons again for breakfast which was another 9.5 Would have been a 9.5+ but the toast!.... We parked by the scrapes again this week to see what was showing. The Oystercatchers were conspicuous by their absence in any great numbers. The Bar-tailed Godwits were there in force but were continually put to flight by an aggressive Carrion Crow. The Wigeon also came and went at various intervals.
John first noticed some strange behaviour from the Redshanks, who were performing a strange ritual which involved rising a few inches and skimming a few feet along the water with their heads below the surface. I can only think that they were disturbing the mud for food. The Curlew were also showing well on the middle pond. The light was getting poor as we left for a walk along the sea wall. A Shag kept us busy, as it wrestled with some sort of flat fish. It was a bit of a handful for it, but it managed to get it down. A juvenile Cormorant flew in close by, perhaps hoping to make a catch of its own. Other than that, it was very quiet until we spotted a nice Eider at the mouth of the Esk. With light fading and a threat of rain we headed back to the car for tea and a bun. A nice Chaffinch gave us a song as we poured the tea.

Bar-Tailed Godwit Wigeon Redshank
Curlew Shag Juvenile Cormorant
Female Gadwall
Eider Chaffinch

10th April 2016


I was on my own today as John was at home nursing a twisted ankle. I headed for a new site for
me, Torphichen, a small village near Bathgate, to catch a glimpse of a Ross' Goose. Alas it was not to be. Next a brief trip to Skateraw was disappointingly quiet as the tide was well out. However I did consume a very tasty McDonalds Chicken Sandwich Meal from the Dunbar Drive-in! I cut my losses and headed for Musselburgh sure that I'd get some camera action. Immediately I got a pleasing shot of a Skylark posing to attract a mate. At the Scrapes the light was poor and the birds were distant but a Reed Bunting caught my eye just behind the hide. Along the sea wall the Velvet Scoter were busy as usual - but no sign of the Surf Scoter though. Then as birds started to stream into the Scrapes I caught shots of Curlew, Oystercatchers and Shelduck. So not a bad outing after all!

Shelduck Oystercatcher Curlew
Reed Bunting Skylark Velvet Scoter

3rd April 2016

Musselburgh Port Seton

Heading east today where the weather looks like clearing up at around the time we will finish breakfast. Breakfast at Morrisons in Dalkeith was another 9.5 +. A left turn instead of a straight through at a roundabout found us heading to Port Seton in error. We carried on anyway in case the Brent Geese were on view. Luckily, they were. The weather should have cleared by now but the light was very poor. A very vocal Starling was performing nearby and caught our attention as the Brent Geese drifted out. We scanned the gulls looking for something unusual but a few Turnstones were all we managed to shoot. Off to Musselburgh, hoping the light will improve on the way. We parked at the scrapes and headed over to see what was on view. Terrible light and not much to see was a bit disappointing. Off to the sea wall and hopefully something worthwhile to catch our attention. A razorbill came quite close but the light was still very low. We managed to shoot a few of the usual suspects as we walked. The best opportunity of the day was a Carrion Crow, which posed on the sea wall about 2 meters away. Despite the low light I think it was the shot of the day.
As the sun eventually broke through, time had caught up with us, and we had to head back to the car for our tea and a bun. (Morrison’s 3 for 2 offer finished). Not a great trip due to the light level but Musselburgh never disappoints.

Brent Goose Starling Turnstone
Goose - Black Brent
Razorbill Female Eider Long Tailed Duck
Curlew Velvet Scoter Carrion Crow

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