Seafield Pond Belhaven Bay Dunbar Harbour
When we entered Dalkeith Morrison’s for our usual breakfast (and as usual it
was an excellent 9.5/10) the weather was glorious, but when we left it had deteriorated
with rain threatening. We were not then too hopeful that we’d get any well-lit
pictures but nevertheless we headed for Seafield Pond, Belhaven as a few nice
things had been seen there in recent days, such as a Great Northern Diver. When
we arrived there there was no sign of the diver but the sun actually broke
through so we just sat and waited to see what would appear.
The first birds we noticed were Grey Herons in trees on the opposite side of
the pond. A Cormorant passed overhead going somewhere in a hurry. A
fine-looking drake Pochard surfaced feet from where we were sitting. Just then
a fellow birder pointed out a Kingfisher across the Pond on trees near the Grey
Two inquisitive Mute Swans swam over to us encouraged by the scraps of
John’s toast he was scattering on the water. Tufted Ducks joined in – unusual
for them to take bread. A Curlew flew in from the Bay and landed several metres
away on the grass and started probing for tasty treats.
Beyond the swans I spotted a Little Grebe warily diving for small fish. At
the north end of the Pond I thought I could make out a Red-breasted Merganser –
confirmed when it flew past us heading for the south end of the pond.
Satisfied with our sightings we decided to head for Dunbar Harbour where an
Icelandic Gull had been seen the previous day. On our way back to the car some
Wigeon were dabbling away at the other side of the seawall followed by a Curlew
picking its way through the saltmarsh.
At the Harbour there was no sign of the Icelandic Gull but a small flock of
beautiful, sun-lit Eider were swimming in the water along with the many gulls
such as the Great Black-backed Gull.
As we walked around the Harbour we noticed House Sparrows foraging in
blue-coloured fishing creels stacked on the harbour’s edge.
|Great Black Backed Gull|
We moved on to White Sands where unfortunately the weather worsened. So
without any further photos we travelled to Port Seton and finished the day with
tea and Danish pastries. We were well satisfied!
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Skateraw, Belhaven Bay
It was a bright and breezy morning at Skateraw. I was on my own as John had
an important appointment he couldn’t miss. I had just had my usual fine
breakfast in Dalkeith Morrisons (9.5/10 leaky teapot) and was seeking the reported
Water Pipit. I positioned myself by the old limekiln south of the seaweed the
birds were feeding on. Straight away a wee Redshank landed a few metres from
where I was sitting and on the rocks a Curlew was wandering, probing for tasty
morsels, every so often delving more deeply and occasionally getting a feed. A
few Pipits started to land around the seaweed no doubt after the invertebrates
breeding there. A Meadow Pipit posed a few feet away and a noisy, nervous
Oystercatcher paddled across my view seemingly not noticing my presence.
A fine Pied Wagtail joined some Rock Pipits on the seaweed as a Curlew
appeared low overhead making its familiar high pitched call as it passed.
In the distance I got a bit excited at a paler, greyer-looking pipit was
sitting on a rock. Could it have been a Water Pipit – sadly no, it was a Rock
Pipit probably of the littoralis sub-species. Another pretty Pied Wagtail and a
Redshank flew in, startled by the now steady stream of dog walkers having their
Sunday lunchtime walks on the beach – time to move on! As I left the Car Park I
noticed a Weasel in the undergrowth. To my astonishment it came towards the car
just as I lowered the window to photograph it. It scampered once it had figured
out it was being watched.
Seafield Pond, Belhaven
Flushed with the success of seeing a Weasel I made my way along the path at
John Muir Country Park at Belhaven towards Seafield Pond where there had been a
few nice sightings (including Divers and Pintails) in the previous few days.
Only a few steps into my journey I noticed close by a handsome Little Egret
sitting on a grassy bank. At the pond a Grey Heron stood at the opposite side
while a flock of Wigeon were busily dabbling on the grass.
After a short time a couple of Curlew joined the Wigeon. The light was
fading as the cloud thickened so I decided it was time to get back to the car
for tea and chocolate biscuits. The Little Egret by now had moved into a ditch
by the path but as I sneaked up to watch it feeding it was disturbed by yet
another dog walker.
I did though get a couple of flying shots!
No Water Pipit, Divers or Pintails but I did get other nice shots. I might
return midweek when there are fewer dog walkers.Back To Top
Stevenston, Saltcoats, Irvine Harbour
It was yet another cold, overcast Sunday with little chance of any sunshine,
( Bloody freezing. John P) so we were not filled with any great optimism as we set off for Stevenston
Point. The Cafe in Steventson Morrisons had once again served us an excellent breakfast
only blighted by their naughty habit of cutting the pre-buttered toast
non-symmetrically meaning that it was impossible to match the halves together
to make a toast sandwich (so 9.5/10).
On arrival at the Point we were delighted to see a large flock of waders on
the rocks. These turned out to be Sanderling, Dunlin and a few Grey Plover. We
waited for an hour until the light improved sufficiently to allow reasonable
pictures to be taken. However the birds were put up, leaving the rocks virtually
empty of birds apart from a few Cormorants.
decided to move north to Saltcoats Harbour and we were not disappointed there
either. While leaning over the sea wall to capture an image of a Black-headed
Gull, I spotted Dunlin and Purple Sandpiper quite close in. On the rocks a
Redshank and 3 sleeping Dunlin watched my awkward manoeuvres.
Moving further along the wall a bold Herring Gull stared at us expectantly
but it was to be disappointed as we don't feed the birds – especially large
gulls. Instead I was interested in snapping the movements of a nippy Rock Pipit
as it flitted around on some piles of seaweed and around a small flock of
Turnstone. Just before we returned to the car I got closer than usual to an
Oystercatcher which was sheltering from the strengthening wind.
Satisfied with our haul of pictures so far we made one final change of
location to Irvine Harbour. The wind there was very stiff and chilly. John
photographed a Feral Pigeon and a Pied Wagtail from inside the car. I spotted a
bird in the distance diving in the river. On investigating it turned out to be
a female Merganser downing a small Eel. On my way back to the car I also got a
picture of a juvenile Goldeneye eating a small Crab.
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Pow Burn, Troon
Dull and grey skies covered most of Central Scotland. The only bit of
encouragement to be had from the weatherman was that brightness was to spread
from the south west. That being the case we headed for Pow Burn near Prestwick Airport.
After our usual small breakfast at ASDA in Kilmarnock (9.5/10 dribbly teapot!)
we arrived at the north end of Prestwick golf course to start our circuit
around the Pow Burn. Unusually, after
that walk we had only seen a Curlew and a bunch of Redshanks. There was nothing
else for it, we had to move on to a second location – Troon. We parked at the
public car park adjacent to the harbour. A Herring Gull was having a wee drink
from a rock pool while further out a Shag sat on rocks drying its wings.
The sun began to break through the clouds and flock of Golden Plover flew
past in seeming celebration. As we scanned the rocks we were aware of a House
Sparrow, Robin and Pied Wagtail foraging around the car park for scraps left by
These small birds were later joined by Feral Pigeons eager to share in the
chips being consumed by a driver sitting in an neighbouring car. As we were
about to leave we noticed a Herring Gull devouring a crab. And just as we
started packing away our gear a lazy Harbour Seal turned up just beyond the
It had been a slightly disappointing trip in terms of pictures taken but
when I consider the atmosphere and beauty of the area, we had a great time, and
of course we always enjoy our tea and Danish.
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