As has been the norm this summer so far, the best of the weather is
forecast to be in the east.
There was nothing special on the grapevine so we decided on Skateraw .
Our last visit here was February
so, pot luck on what we'll see but a very nice piece of coastline to
walk round if nothing interesting shows. Breakfast at Morrison's in
Dalkeith was an overwhelming 10. Perfect from start to finish. Good
omen? As we arrived at the car park we immediately spotted a couple of
Common Sandpipers feeding on a rock pool. We headed off to the headland
via the beach which was quite bare apart from 4 female Goosanders
swimming some meters out. As we walked along the beach I heard a Ringed
Plover behind us. It took a while, but we managed to
backtrack a fair distance without disturbing the bird to get on the
right side of the light for a decent shot.
was still a bit far away, but, luckily, a couple with their dog began
walking towards us, and the dog managed to nudge the Plover closer to
us for a nice shot. Well done. It was a bit quiet on the headland when
we arrived but we parked ourselves in a secluded spot and waited. There
is a large finger of rock jutting out from the headland here so we
managed to grab a few fly- byes, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Curlew,
Cormorant and Shelduck. The rocks immediately in front of us proved
quite productive and we shot Pied Wagtail, White Wagtail, Juvenile
Starlings and Rock Pipits. We spent about an hour here in a very
pleasant position enjoying the view. On the way back around the
headland I managed to find a couple of newbies, Spear-leaved-Orache and
Sticky-Groundsel. On the rocks down towards the beach I managed a nice
example of Restarrow. Tea and a bun at the car park and off home in
time for John to cook for granddaughter, Olivia's, birthday tea.
24th July 2016
We headed east again today as the bad weather was coming in from the
west. There had been notifications on social media of 7 Little Egrets
near the bridge. So, Dalkeith Morrison’s for breakfast, and
Aberlady before the rain arrived. Breakfast was a good 9.5 but
asymmetrical toast took the shine off. On arriving at Aberlady I was
pleased to see a few empty parking places which, for Aberlady, was
unusual. The tide was well out though! We spotted the Little Egrets as
we arrived but they were too far out for a decent shot. There were
quite a few juvenile Black Headed Gulls feeding near the bridge as we
crossed over to the reserve. John spotted a couple of Roe Deer grazing
to the right of us.
As we moved through the reserve the loud call of a Sedge Warbler
grabbed our attention as it flew from the grass to a nearby tree. A few
minutes later a bedraggled Meadow Pipit caught our attention. It looked
as if there had been a downpour not long before we had arrived. We made
our way up to what we call ' insect alley'. It's not far after the
first bend on the path over the bridge and is a great place for
insects. I spotted a Common Blue but it didn't settle long enough for a
decent shot. It takes a while to get your eye in but eventually we
started spotting loads of little butterflies and moths. I parked my
Nikon D5200 and went to work with the Panasonic Lumix LX 5 and caught a
Small Skipper, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, 5 and 6 spotted Burnets and a
new moth, the Garden -grass-veneer.
When I returned to my Nikon D5200 I found a new fly basking on the
lens. A polietes_lardarius. On the way back I managed a nice example of
Twayblade. On the way home we called in at the estuary at Musselburgh
for our tea and a bun. Not much bird life today but a good
|1st Cycle Black- headed Gull
|5 Spot Narrow
Bordered Burnet Moth
17th July 2016
The weather wasn't looking too great overall,
forecast was better for the East. Nothing special was reported on
Twitter so I decided Barns Ness
would be worth a visit for a wee change. Breakfast at
Dalkeith was an 8.5. The service was great, so was the food but - NO
tattie scones? The substitute Hash Brown was delicious but it's just
not the same.
We parked at the lighthouse and hit the beach. It was
very quiet from the outset. A Grey Heron was the only thing out and
about. We moved to the dunes hoping to find something interesting. A
nice Linnet and Meadow Pipit drew our attention for a short time.
As we moved through the dunes we saw a strange bird swimming close to
the shore. We tried to move in for a better look but only succeeded in
moving it further down the beach. We watched it for a time through
glasses but were unable to identify it. Our best guess is a young Coot
way off its normal beat. Nearby a Redshank appeared, followed by a
Goldfinch, itself a stranger to the shoreline. As we walked back to the
car we noticed a huge number of Cinnabar Moth caterpillars, all
clinging to Common Ragwort. They were everywhere. Nearer the car I
managed a nice couple of pictures of Smooth Hawksbeard and Catsear.
We decided to head to Belhaven
but when we arrived weather was worsening - so there was nothing else
for it but to have a quick cup of tea and a bun and off home. Not a bad
trip though - apart from the lack of tattie scones!
It was East today. The weather forecast didn't look too promising
anywhere across the central belt. There was, however, a notification of
a female Garganey on the scrapes at Musselburgh and young Cuckoo
spotted on the pathway between the hides. Breakfast at
Dalkeith was a 9+. A much faster service than in previous weeks.
We began at the scrapes in case the Cuckoo decided to leave. The last
notification was only 45 minutes earlier. The light was very poor but
it could improve.
While scanning the pond on the rightmost scrape a couple of birders
excitedly informed us that the Cuckoo was flitting about the trees on
the pathway. Within 10 minutes of arriving I had the Cuckoo in the bag
as it were. It landed so close to me at one point that I couldn't get
the bird in shot. Back to the scrapes. John first noticed the loud
chirping and spotted a young Black- headed Gull demanding food from its
parent. It was joined a little later by a young Carrion Crow flitting
between parents demanding similar. A Common Sandpiper was feeding close
by, about 20 yards from the hide. At the far end of the pond, a good 70
yards away, I spotted a Greenshank. I suddenly noticed something to my
right and managed to get a Roe Deer and a very small fawn skirting
around the right hand side of the scrape. There was a sizable flock of
Dunlin in breeding plumage on the pond along with some Redshanks. Time
to move on and find the Garganey if it was still around. It took a
while to spot but I eventually managed a nice shot. The problem was
that the chief suspect sat on the edge of the pond with its head tucked
under its wing for quite a long time. There were a few Shelduck on the
pond in eclipse plumage. A birder arrived and informed us that a Little
Gull was showing on the rightmost pond! Back we went and spotted it
almost immediately. As I clicked away at the Little Gull I noticed a
Lapwing or two being mobbed by some Common Terns. The Terns just
wouldn't let the Lapwings settle. I wonder why.
We left and walked the sea wall. The light was poor and the Forth was
very calm and empty. Time caught up with us as we were half way round
so back to the car park for tea and one and a half buns. Wonderful!
A very successful trip in very poor light.
|Roe Deer and
parked at the Cadet Hall and headed clockwise round to the scrapes. The
Eider and the Goosander females were still in abundance at the mouth of
the Esk. Goosanders were
propelling themselves through the water in short bursts, as if surfing.
I'm not sure what this behaviour means. We both noticed that there was
a marked absence of male Goosanders. A little further on from the main
flock of Eider, a couple of females were watching over a pair of
ducklings swimming near the sea wall. One of the adults caught a crab
and struggled for a time to despatch it. Otherwise, it was rather quiet
as we made for the scrapes, scanning the Forth
for Velvet Scoter as we walked. No luck.
At the scrapes the usual suspects were in attendance, Shelduck, Pied
Wagtails, Black- tailed Godwits, Curlew, Dunlin and Oystercatchers.
However, there was a relative stranger some distance away at the back
of the pond but I managed a fairly decent shot of a it - a Greenshank.
I took a few shots of the Wagtails feeding and only realised later that
I had managed to get a juvenile White Wagtail. A pair of Common Terns
arrived to rest perhaps, and preen.
our way back along the sea wall again we watched a Cormorant hunt close
to the sea wall and I caught it on the surface with it's catch of a
very small fish. A large flock of Velvet Scoter flew past but they were
too far out for a decent photograph. Back at the car a cup of tea and
one and a half buns was a perfect end to a reasonably good trip.