Heading east again today in search of the Crossbill, seen at Hedderwick Hill burn near Tyninghame Bay. Another
fine breakfast at Morrisons in Dalkeith, a 9.5+. The plus was down to
getting symmetrical toast for the first time. If you eat your breakfast
the way we do then you'll appreciate symmetrical toast. Off to Tyninghame Bay / Hedderwick Hill.
It wasn't looking good as we headed through the woods to the Hedderwick
Hill burn where the Crossbills had been spotted. It was very busy with
families heading down to the same area to roll their eggs for Easter.
Despite the place name of Hedderwick Hill, the place is as flat as a
pancake except for a depression right on the spot where the Crossbills
had been spotted which is completely suitable for rolling your eggs.
Ergo, no Crossbills. We heard them and saw them fly high overhead a few
times during our time there but couldn't get a decent shot.
As we waited for the Crossbills to return a lovely Goldcrest and a very
vocal Coal Tit grabbed our attention. After an hour we decided the
Crossbills were unlikely to return in the time we had available. Ever
more frequent rain showers forced the issue and we made our way back to
the car park for a cup of tea and 1½ buns.
On the way back we followed the path bordering Eastlinks
Family Park. They have a nice selection of "exotic" animals for the
children to see and feed. I'll come back during the week and see if I can get the elusive Crossbill.
20th March 2016
Heading east today. The weather is fine across the central belt but I
want to give the Surf Scoter a try. Another "9.5" breakfast at
Morrisons in Dalkeith and off to Musselburgh. We decided to park at the
scrapes and walk the sea wall anti - clockwise. The scrapes were busy
with the usual suspects. Among them were a pair of displaying Shelduck.
The display was rather noisy but quite tame. Dunlin, Redshank,
Oystercatcher, Greylag, Reed Bunting and Magpie all made an appearance.
A couple of Skylarks
also arrived but stayed below our view line.
Off to the sea wall to hopefully spot the Surf Scoter close enough to
photograph. Sadly, it didn't materialise, but more than a few Long
Tailed Ducks were some consolation. At one time, passing Red Breasted
Mergansers and Goldeneye kept us busy for a while. A shag came very
close to the sea wall but gradually drifted further out. Velvet
Scoters, a few hundred yards out, kept us alert, scanning for any Surf
Scoters that might be hiding among them. Sadly, not to be.
As we headed towards the mouth of the Esk, a pair of noisy Skylarks
landed a few feet in front of us. Despite a very busy pathway close
bye, they hung around for a while and we managed a few nice shots. Back
to the scrapes for a last look but nothing new. Tea and a bun and a
half! drew a lovely day to an end. Back home in time for the Manchester
|Long Tailed Duck
|Red Breasted Merganser
13th March 2016
Off to the west today. Weather looks brighter on that side. After a "
9.5 " breakfast at Asda in Kilmarnock we set off for Doonfoot. The
promised break in the clouds didn't
materialise and it was a bit dull and overcast when we arrived. It was
also very quiet. We sat on the beach for a while scanning a large group
of gulls some distance away looking for anything that might be special
or unusual. Nothing caught our eye so off down the beach towards the
old castle. Our first real encounter with a bird was a Rock Pipit which
flew onto the rock at the base of the castle as we were heading back.
We were also on the lookout for Yellowhammers which frequent the trees
just north of the same rock. What we found, however, were Greenfinches,
6 or 7 perhaps flitting
between trees when disturbed but not flying off very far. As we
followed them north along the beach we came across a little pond with
quite a few visitors. We parked ourselves nearby just as the clouds
broke and I managed some nice shots of Teal, Curlew Greenshanks, and a
Grey Heron which was being buzzed by a few angry gulls. This little
pond proved to be quite a find and we stayed around here for over an
hour before heading off to the car for tea and a bun. The Greenfinches
arrived at the car park just as we did and we ' hunted ' them for a
time and managed a few nice shots. A nice Stonechat appeared at the car
park and posed quite nicely.
Doonfoot never disappoints!
3rd March 2016
Slight change of plans this week. John and I both have other things to
do on Sunday so I'm letting you see what I do the rest of the week. Off
to Ardmore Point on the Firth of Clyde with a packed lunch and a flask.
No fry-up at Morrisons or Asda during the week. I like Ardmore Point
for the walk itself although it can be quite tricky in places after
rain. The sightings are usually quite good and the
views are worth seeing. It was early afternoon when I arrived. The tide
was low but the sun was high and blazing wonderfully. I was worried
that sea birds would be too far from shore for decent pictures but as I
started the walk I came upon a Dunnock, Song Thrush and Reed Bunting in
quick succession- all very close to the path. Further round it was very
quiet as I had expected. I was pleased to see many groups of snowdrops
nestling amongst the bushes along the pathway. The highlight of the
visit though was a herd of seals basking near the shore - close enough
for some decent pictures. I sat for an hour on the shore trying
different shooting angles before I realised I was about to be marooned
by the incoming tide! I carefully waded back to dry land and finished
the shoot with a couple of Eider before returning to the car for tea
and a chocolate biscuit. All in all it had been a very enjoyable and
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