Archive - December 2015

27th December

Banton Loch, Hogganfield Loch

Heading north today and not very far, to Banton Loch. John hasn't been to this site and I
know he'll enjoy the walk if the birds are scarce. On the way to the loch, 2 minutes after stepping
out of the car we had a very close sighting of a Dipper, diving under water and surfacing with a catch. Spent a good hour watching it fish successfully. Turns out there were 3 of them at least on this stretch of the stream. On to the loch itself and the Green Winged Teal was sadly not showing.

The rest of the walk round Banton Loch was picturesque but quiet. Off to Hogganfield Loch to the south west. There are always photo opportunities here and the view is even better with a cup of tea and a bun.
Coot Moorhen Cormorant
Male Goosander Pochard Whooper Swan
The usual suspects were well represented on the pond and most were swimming close to the shore for the bread thrown in by the many passers - by. The Cormorant dove often and very close to us. We're not too sure, but we didn't see it surface after a dive. We waited for some time but to no avail. Hopefully it surfaced out of our sight.
With light starting to fade at around 2 p.m we finished our tea and headed home.

20th December 2015

Figgate Park, Joppa

Heading east again today to a new site, Figgate Park in Edinburgh, where a Mandarin Drake was showing. A reasonable breakfast at a nearby Asda, while the sun shone, then off to find Figgate Park. We arrived at the same time as a heavy rain shower, so it was half an hour in the car scanning my weather App. Figgate Park is a delightful little park with a wooden walkway over the edges of the pond. There was quite a variety of birds on the pond including Goosander, Canada Geese and Moorhen. The Mandarin, however, was having a siesta on the small island in the middle of the pond and was hard to spot. I decided to pop over to the sea wall at Joppa in case the Surf Scotter surfaced. Was not to be, sadly, but I managed some nice shots of the usual suspects. Back to Figgate Park and I eventually managed to shoot the Mandarin which was almost hidden in the trees. Back to the sea wall at Joppa for tea and a bun and home.

Female Goosander Male Goosander Black-Headed Gull
Moorhen Canada Goose Male Mandarin
Bar-Tailed Godwit Turnstone Redshank

13th December 2015


Heading east again as the weather doesn't look too grand anywhere.  We stopped off at Fisherrow Harbour for breakfast before heading round to the sea wall. Quite quiet here apart from flocks of Oystercatchers flying above us on the way to the scrapes. The short eared Owls were still hunting, flying low just to the right of the pathway along the sea wall.The scrapes were busy. At least 1500 to 2000 Oystercatchers were roosting there.  As the light faded we managed to get some usual suspects.  On the way back for tea and a bun the sea wall was providing some close shots of a Red Throated Diver and a Shag

Short Eared Owl Mallard Redshank
Little Grebe Greylag Wigeon
Red Throated Diver Shag Twite

6th December 2015


Heading east today as the weather forecast promises bright sunshine. Very cold but wonderfully bright. There were reports of a Barred Warbler that may have made me slightly deaf to the baltic winds part of the forecast. The Barred Warbler was reported to be in trees to the south of the main car park, feeding from feeders placed there to attract Tree Sparrows. It did show, but the light was slightly against us. I managed to get some decent shots. Little Auks were also reported here, but despite an enjoyable walk around the sea defences around the Torness power station, we failed to spot any. Heading to Skateraw, we were waylaid by a large flock of Golden Plover rising and settling very close to the shoreline. It was amazing to watch as they settled for only minutes at a time before flocking again, showing silvery white or black as they turned in the low sun.

Barred Warbler Greenfinch Goldfinch
Blue Tit Juvenile Eider Herring Gull
Carrion Crow Rock pipit Golden Plover
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