I headed for Musselburgh seeking the reported Wood
Sandpiper and maybe the Spoonbill but I was annoyed to find my way was
obstructed by the surging masses
of people involved in the Edinburgh Marathon. So a change of
quickly decided. We headed instead for Tyninghame Bay. My companion for
trip was my lovely wife, Jenny as John had family commitments.
On leaving the carpark my attention was drawn to a
singing Reed Bunting
sitting atop a bush. On the salt marsh I photographed a Meadow Pipit
distant Ringed Plover. As we approached the beach we were met with a
Skylark. It was the first of many Skylarks we were to see.
As we crossed the grass-covered sand dunes we came upon
living in the very sandy environment. Little pink flowers of Common
the bright yellow Bird’s Foot Trefoil flowers and lilac flowers of Sea
were fairly abundant. Every now and again we would disturb a Small
butterfly that would dart elusively through the grassy dunes.
|Common Bird's -Foot Trefoil
We passed through an open area within the grassy dunes
where there seemed to
be very many Skylarks calling and occasionally rising singing into the
we finished our short circuit of the salt marsh we found yet more
Thrift, Vipers Bugloss and White Deadnettle.
|White Dead Nettle
Then it was back to the car for a cup of tea and a
chocolate biscuit. Not a
bad haul of shots considering we had lost so much time getting out of
My shots of the day were of a rising Skylark and a patch
21st May 2017
Belhaven Bay, Dunbar Harbour
After the lack of birds last week we were hoping for an
Belhaven Bay and Dunbar Harbour. Our customary breakfasts at Morrisons
were 8/10 due to overcooked yolks and sloppy bacon. Undeterred by this
setback we headed east also hoping for an improvement in the light as
was yet to show from behind a 100% coverage of grey cloud.
At the Belhaven Bay carpark we were greeted by small
flock of House Sparrows
chirping merrily as they chased insects. We walked along the path to
Pond and spotted an oddly marked Carrion Crow. We wonder if this was an
bird or if it was leucitic. By the sea wall we found a yellow
yet to identify – I think it is a member of the Cress family. Beside
Deadnettle plants were now starting to flower.
|White Dead Nettle
Another plant by the wall was Hoary Cress. It was just
coming into flower
and I think if I returned in a few weeks it would be much bigger and
the verge. As we cautiously made our way down to the Pond, a Grey Heron
over and landed at the opposite end and immediately started to catch
fish. Mallards resting on an artificial island stirred as we
female Mallard flew by, chased by another female.
Unstirred was a Mute Swan gliding serenely into view
past a pair of Tufted
Ducks and a statue of a man with a fish on his head. Occasionally a
pair of Coots would engage in battle usually resulting in one
scampering away, living to fight another day.
By the Pond I found Cuckoo Flowers and Common Mouse-ear.
John found what we
thought was a butterfly or moth pupae. I later discovered it was
fungus, Nettle Rust. Nearby a fledgling Starling investigated a leaf
seeking out its mother for an easier feed.
As we left the Pond we paused to catch a glimpse through
dense reeds of a
singing Sedge Warbler. In the trees a Chaffinch was keeping an eye on
Robin made off as we passed but on a treetop a lazy looking Jackdaw
have cared less.
On the seawall a female House Sparrow had a mouthful of
for its nestlings. We startled another Grey Heron as it fed in a ditch
to the path. It moved just a few metres further away and didn't look
pleased as it waited for us to go away. Just as we reached the carpark
of Woodpigeons were foraging in the salt marsh.
At this point we drove up to Dunbar Harbour to look for
Fulmars. When we got there many Kittiwakes were nesting on the castle
|Female House Sparrow
As we stood by the clifftop, the sky was filled with
many birds. I warmed up
my camera for flying shots by snapping a Herring Gull. Offshore a pair
Gannets dived dramatically over and over again. Then, after a bit of a
several Fulmars treated us to a spectacular display of aerial skills
heading off again seaward.
We ended our trip believing we had got our mojo back –
lots of birds. Our
reward was tea and a pair of custard tarts, i.e. 2 each! It was too
much - eyes
bigger than our bellies! We travelled back home feeling a bit stuffed.
camera was certainly stuffed with photographs.
Shots of the Day were of a House Sparrow and a Fulmar,
both taken at Dunbar
14th May 2017
Barns Ness and Torness
After reports of possible migrants in the Lothians we
set off for East
Lothian, specifically Barns Ness, in the hope of seeing some of these
travellers. As it turned out we saw fewer birds than normal but we were
to find other delights that certainly made up for our initial
the lack of birds.
We got off to a great start in Dalkeith Morrisons cafe where we had a
On arriving at Barns Ness the tide was very low, taking the seashore,
the birds, many metres out. We noticed though that there were many
insects that we could investigate.
Starting at the lighthouse we found patches of Bird’s-foot Trefoil
probed by Common Carder bees. Also there were also patches of Common
Scurvy-grass and Wallflower.
|Common Bird's- Foot Trefoil
|Common Carder Bee
|Common Scurvy Grass
By the wall of the lighthouse we found
beautiful clumps of Greater Stitchwort. One flower had the dagger fly,
rhamphomyia crassirostris, thrusting its needle-like mouthparts deep into the
centre of the flower. Also by the wall the white flowers of White Deadnettles
were starting to show.
As we walked along the coastal path we stalked a Small
Heath butterfly and
in doing so I came across a new flower for me, Spring Vetch, whose
similar to Common Vetch but a lot smaller. The only bird we saw that
anywhere near us at that time was a lone Rook foraging in the rocks. We
to move westwards to a wooded area to see if we could find anything
wall butterfly was our only find until we arrived at the old disused
A very common flower in early in May is the lovely Red Campion. Whilst
photographing these, a 7-spot Ladybird wandered into my view. Then the
calls of Common Whitethroat drew me to a bush near the carpark while
photographed some St Mark’s Flies on grass.
|St Mark's Fly
I spotted some Narcissus flowers, romantically named,
probably a leftover from the caravan site. Beside these were little
plants with their dainty purple flowers. In the grass little blue
Germander Speedwell flowers were dotted around. We decided to check the
trees bordering the site for migrants but all we found of interest
plants with small spherical flower heads. These were probably
of Sheep’s Bit Scabious.
Another remnant of the old caravan site we found was the
with its fairly big purple flowers. As we made our way back to the car
a Cinnabar Moth. After a long chase I managed to get a couple of nice
We moved on briefly to Torness to see if we were missing anything there
weren’t – however by the roadside an obliging Swallow posed long enough
John to snap it from his side of the car. After that it was time for
pastry and tea. It had been a bit different from our normal Sunday –
7th May 2017
We were excited at the prospect of
spending a warm, sunny, early summer’s
day walking along Pow Burn near Prestwick, as we could expect to see
recently arrived birds. But not before we had dined at Kilmarnock
for a bit of breakfast. It was marked down a wee bit this week, to
to stodgy beans and over-cooked bacon. Our first sighting was a Peacock
butterfly feasting on
Dandelions. The banks of the Pow Burn were well populated with
Bluebells. The first bird we encountered was the Sedge Warbler. Its
consists of seemingly random notes and sounds. It was to be the first
encounters. As we sat patiently waiting for the Warbler to show as it
amidst the dense mass of twigs, a bold Goldfinch breezed in and took
stage, belting out a stream of twittery notes, apparently ignoring our
Further along the path, as we
stalked another Sedge Warbler, a couple of male Stonechats appeared to
be vying for the attention of a lone female by posing and singing on
tall stalks of grass. Nearby a Greenfinch was letting rip its rasping
sounds as a Starling hovered over a bush, easily gathering flies
probably to take to hungry young nestlings. We watched a Stonechat’s
attempt at taking a butterfly. Unfortunately I didn't manage to
photograph the struggle but I did get the Green-veined White butterfly
as it caught its breath.
we headed back to the car a Skylark rose high over our heads cascading
its reeling sounds far and wide. We spotted a Meadow Pipit and then a
male Wheatear as they searched and probed the golf driving range for
tasty morsels. In the Pow Burn a Grey Heron had a little more than a
morsel to deal with as it had caught a large flatfish. After a few
unsuccessful attempts at downing it the Heron flew off leaving the
gulls to have a go.
at the car we had tea and chocolate eclairs as we sheltered from the
warm rays of the sun in the shade of a bank of tall hedges. It must be
summer right enough!
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