Archive - January 2016
 

31st January 2016

Musselburgh

East again! The weather in the west was to be foul. The weather in the east turned out to be rather good. Reasonable light and no rain. After an "8" breakfast in Tesco in Hermiston Gate we headed over to Musselburgh. We decided to walk anti clockwise today and started at the scrapes. Standing on the sills in the hide for a better view we spotted the usual suspects, Teal, Wigeon, Greylags, Oystercatchers and others. After five minutes, John looked down and spotted a group of Grey Partridges about 5 feet away right below our noses. It happens sometimes that you are so busy looking far away through lenses that you can't see what's in front of you.
Off to the sea wall to see what was there. Nothing much to speak off on the way down. However, at the cadet hall I spotted a Med Gull. Getting a photograph was another matter. All I could get was the south end of a north facing bird.
Eventually I got good enough shots. The walk back was also more forthcoming and we saw Long-tailed Ducks, Shags and Velvet Scoters. One black-headed gull suddenly dived into the water and came up with a fighting fish. It was, it soon found out, too big to go down it's throat.. Another gull flew in and they both abandoned it?
Our tea and a bun in the car park was interrupted by a low flying buzzard with a white tail!

Black-headed Gull Goldeneye Grey Partridge
Linnet Long Tailed Duck Buzzard
Mediteranean Gulls Velvet Scoter

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24th January 2016

Yellowcraig, North Berwick

Over to the East again today due to the weather. I'm yearning to go west, for a change of scenery at least, but the weather keeps defeating me. Breakfast in Morrisons in Dalkeith was an ' 8 ' and we set off to Yellowcraig in the hope of spotting a King Eider! We spent a pleasant hour here scanning the Forth but had to be content with distant Common Eiders heading west . We decided to head to North Berwick to see if the King Eider was showing there. Alas, it was not to be, although John did spot a Long Tailed Duck among the Eider, but too distant for a decent photograph. Tea and a bun in the town car park, no senior moment this week with the flask, and home in time for the Arsenal Game.

Curlew Curlew Rock Pipit
Cormorant Turnstone Turnstone

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17th January 2016

Strathclyde Park

On my own today as John is cooking for his youngest son's birthday tea. No breakfast this morning as I am heading down to Strathclyde Park, just 3 miles down the road. There have been notifications of a Ring Billed Gull and an Iceland Gull on the loch. Not to be seen anywhere sadly. I headed off for a sneaky McChicken Sandwich meal before heading back to look for the Bullfinches I photographed last month. They didn't disappoint and looked to be dealing fine with the snow.

Bullfinch
Female Bullfinch Magpie

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10th January 2016

Skateraw, Torness

We headed East today. Miserable wet weather all round. There was a sighting of Geese in the fields around Skateraw, including Pink-footed, Greylag and perhaps a Bean goose among them. After a good breakfast in Hermiston Gate we went, literally, on a wild goose chase. We found them quite easily but getting close was going to prove difficult. As you can see from the pictures we really didn't get close enough and with the rain steady and the light all but gone, we abandoned the geese and set off for a walk around the sea wall at the power station,
hoping to catch sight of reported Little Auks. The sea was quite rough and any thoughts of photographing anything flying by was abandoned. Down to Belhaven Bay for tea and a bun. Without going into too many details the tea was abandoned as well due to a senior moment with a flask!

Pink-footed Geese Red-legged Partridge Greylag Geese

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3rd January 2016

Balloch

Heading out to Balloch today. The weather is pretty miserable everywhere and our thoughts go out to the many people up and down the country affected by it.
After a marvellous breakfast in Morrisons, in Dumbarton, we headed over to the loch.
Some of the paths around the loch were flooded and restricted us a little.
I had notification of a potential White Winged Scoter on the loch and we set about looking for it.
It was very quiet, birdwise, but I eventually spotted it quite far out in the loch and managed a few shots. The identification of the White Winged Scoter is difficult to say the least. I have decided that this is indeed a White Winged Scoter due to the white flash on its wing and its broad bill but I am open to persuasion.
The walk down the east bank of the River Leven produced some nice pictures of a
Blackbird and a Moorhen before heading back to the bridge. Some passers-by were feeding
the birds and I managed to get a few shots of excited birds scrapping for the bread. In the mayhem, a beautiful Mandarin Duck slipped gently into view and I managed to get more than a few nice photographs.
Down to ArdmorePoint for tea and a bun. Very quiet birdwise except for the Sparrowhawk that buzzed the car as we traversed the railway crossing.

Blackbird Domestic Mallard Duclair Duck
Goosander Moorhen White Winged Scoter
  Mandarin Ducks  

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