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Old Sunday 27th January 2008, 20:54   #51
rossicus
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Dunbar starlings

Whilst entertaining the kids at a play park in Dunbar this afternoon I spent 45 minutes watching between 1000 and 2000 starlings doing their fancy swirly formation flying thing.

I know its a small number of birds compared to the famous spots down south but it was spectacular nonetheless. Anyone know of any roosting sites in the Lothians or Borders with bigger numbers?
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Old Friday 1st February 2008, 19:59   #52
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Good to get out again

Well I had a day off and in the morning it all looked fairly apocalyptic with very strong winds and sleet/rain. The wind started to lift and the cloud rose by lunchtime so I decided to head out. On Monday I had been working in Chirnside and had stopped at Torness for 20 minutes at lunchtime and had noted a lot of birds in an old brussel sprout field. So I decided to have another look. There were plenty of birds present but viewing was difficult and I only saw a flock oflinnets and another of skylarks. I headed on towards Skateraw and just past the juction was a group of 8 tree sparrows. The real prize however came at the entrance to a path down to Barns Ness. 2 birds were visible on the path. By the time I got my gear ready I could only see one but it had a chestnut head,white wing bars and spots at chest side-a lapland bunting. Using the car as a hide I saw it feeding at about 20m for 2-3 minutes. The other bird had disappeared from view over a rise and I never saw it again.
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Old Monday 11th February 2008, 08:09   #53
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A quiet week birding wise. Last Monday I went round Musselburgh-very cold with the scrapes entirely frozen. The one record of note was 325 goldeneye on the sea. I went down to Torness with camera in hand hoping to get a picture of the lapland bunting I had seen previously. Seed had been left near where I had seen the bird and I could immediately see a bird feeding raising my hopes. Sadly it proved to be a female reed bunting. However others have seen the lapland bunting kicking around in the past week so hopefully it's not departed

It was interesting to look out at the Forth from the "wrong side" on Saturday-form Fife at Largo Bay . And rather a good spot it was too-with male and female surf scoters, black and red throated divers, red necked grebe, velvet and common scoters on show
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Old Sunday 17th February 2008, 12:05   #54
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Not quite Lothian birding

In my last post I forgot to mention that last weekend the one part of the BF trip that took in a Lothian site was Linlithgow Loch. Good views of a red headed smew were had.

Yesterday was fine and bright so I decided to complete the 2 tetrads I had been allocated for the BirdAtlas. I was late in applying and was allocated what seemed to be at first 2 slightly unpromising areas of rough upland farmland with what looked like stands of conifers. And one area was just outside Lothian and the other half in half out. It proved to be an interesting exercise and quite tiring having to concentrate hard to pick up everything and to accurately count, for example, the mixed corvids. The one striking thing was the presence of birdsong this time-chaffies, song thrushes, greenfinches and goldcrests all in fine voice. And both areas produced around 25 species which was much more than I expected. Best birds were a flushed woodcock,a dipper and stonechat. After this I went up to Monynut edge. I flushed another woodcock. Typically the best birds were just over the border in Borders region. A huge noisy finch flock was feeding on cones. Numbers were hard to gauge accurately but there must have been around 100 siskins. A slight surprise was that the second commonest bird was bramblings with around 20 or so. Plenty of goldfinch and greenfinch too.

I was up early this am and again ventured just 2 miles into Borders region. I spent a lot of time last year looking for black grouse in Lothian but had no luck. Cycling back from my sisters in law early one morning I stumbled across a lek just 50-60 yards from a minor road not far into Borders region. There were up to 5 males last year. Today I went back and used the car as a hide which was nice as it was cold, gloomy and there was a raw wind. 2 birds were present at 7.30 and they were having a real square go at each other-absolutely riveting. After half an hour one bird slunk off leaving the other as victor. A couple of poor distant shots below
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Old Sunday 17th February 2008, 17:23   #55
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Originally Posted by markgrubb View Post
In my last post I forgot to mention that last weekend the one part of the BF trip that took in a Lothian site was Linlithgow Loch. Good views of a red headed smew were had.

Yesterday was fine and bright so I decided to complete the 2 tetrads I had been allocated for the BirdAtlas. I was late in applying and was allocated what seemed to be at first 2 slightly unpromising areas of rough upland farmland with what looked like stands of conifers. And one area was just outside Lothian and the other half in half out. It proved to be an interesting exercise and quite tiring having to concentrate hard to pick up everything and to accurately count, for example, the mixed corvids. The one striking thing was the presence of birdsong this time-chaffies, song thrushes, greenfinches and goldcrests all in fine voice. And both areas produced around 25 species which was much more than I expected. Best birds were a flushed woodcock,a dipper and stonechat. After this I went up to Monynut edge. I flushed another woodcock. Typically the best birds were just over the border in Borders region. A huge noisy finch flock was feeding on cones. Numbers were hard to gauge accurately but there must have been around 100 siskins. A slight surprise was that the second commonest bird was bramblings with around 20 or so. Plenty of goldfinch and greenfinch too.

I was up early this am and again ventured just 2 miles into Borders region. I spent a lot of time last year looking for black grouse in Lothian but had no luck. Cycling back from my sisters in law early one morning I stumbled across a lek just 50-60 yards from a minor road not far into Borders region. There were up to 5 males last year. Today I went back and used the car as a hide which was nice as it was cold, gloomy and there was a raw wind. 2 birds were present at 7.30 and they were having a real square go at each other-absolutely riveting. After half an hour one bird slunk off leaving the other as victor. A couple of poor distant shots below
How brilliant. How late into the year do the leks go on?
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Old Sunday 17th February 2008, 17:29   #56
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How brilliant. How late into the year do the leks go on?

Helen,

Black grouse lekking activity peaks in April/May. After that it tails off and there is very little activity over the summer. Some lekking usually resumes in the autumn early winter, but it is sporadic until now.


Great photos by the way Mark. I'd be tempted to check out some of my local leks, if it wasn't so cold at that time in the morning!
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Old Sunday 17th February 2008, 17:33   #57
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Helen,

Black grouse lekking activity peaks in April/May. After that it tails off and there is very little activity over the summer. Some lekking usually resumes in the autumn early winter, but it is sporadic until now.


Great photos by the way Mark. I'd be tempted to check out some of my local leks, if it wasn't so cold at that time in the morning!
Thanks, C.

Shame on you for being scared of a bit of cold though. Call yourself a Scotsman?
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Old Sunday 17th February 2008, 19:16   #58
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Helen,

Black grouse lekking activity peaks in April/May. After that it tails off and there is very little activity over the summer. Some lekking usually resumes in the autumn early winter, but it is sporadic until now.


Great photos by the way Mark. I'd be tempted to check out some of my local leks, if it wasn't so cold at that time in the morning!
I guess you just have to find one like mine Paul where you can sit in the car and enjoy a flask of coffee

I've only visited this site up until the mid April-the early morning starts are beginning to get a bit much for even me by then. I told an artist friend of mine about the site and he visited on the 1st of May last year-he got a greyhen walking round the car looking inquisitively!!
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Old Monday 24th March 2008, 23:20   #59
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hello Lothian Dunbar folk ;-) . I was wondering if you've seen any bird movements, falls of fresh birds recently . there's been the odd mipit at musselburgh and the water pipit thats there at the moment but have you seen any migration at all ?
I've been meaning to come down the coast to skateraw but never been so don't know how much area there is to cover?
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Old Wednesday 26th March 2008, 23:23   #60
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hello Lothian Dunbar folk ;-) . I was wondering if you've seen any bird movements, falls of fresh birds recently . there's been the odd mipit at musselburgh and the water pipit thats there at the moment but have you seen any migration at all ?
I've been meaning to come down the coast to skateraw but never been so don't know how much area there is to cover?
Hi Mohican,

The only birds on the move today was 3 groups of Whooper Swan's heading North totalling some 55 birds, using the South Easterlies to their advantage past Dunglass.

Nothing at Skateraw, except a Scandi Rocket, with nowt at Dunbar Harbour,Belhaven Bay,Seafield Pond and Scoughall, so save your fuel and go to Musselburgh as it's waaaaaaaay to early for decent falls, if any happen at all!

Yesterday I had Bl N Grebe,Ferny Ness and Yank Teal at Abo, lots of Gulls around the returning fishing boats in Port Seton harbour but no Glauc.
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Old Wednesday 26th March 2008, 23:53   #61
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I had an interesting couple of walks checking out my local patch in Roslin Glen prior to doing my tetrad for the winter bird survey. For those of you who don't know the area, Roslin Glen is part of the North Esk Valley river system, which drains from the Pentland Hills through Midlothian, merging with the South Esk at Dalkeith, and into the sea at Musselburgh. Roslin Glen itself comprises mainly deciduous woodland with a smattering of Scots Pine and other conifers, and is bounded by arable farmland and some sheep grazing land.

Saturday was an illustration of how survey work could be skewed by an unusual sample on the survey day. Having not seen a single siskin in Roslin Glen for over a year, the first thing I saw walking along the track from my house was a big flock of siskins feeding on cones in my neighbour's conifer tree. I estimated 40 siskins altogether. There were good numbers of finches nearby, approximately 20 bullfinches, and I also saw a new species for the patch in the form of brambling (two). There was no sign of the nuthatches near Roslin Chapel, usually a reliable pair and very vocal. Further downstream towards Hawthornden, I saw three jays flitting between trees; Bruce Kerr from Polton has taken an interest in jays and has seen up to seven just downriver at the Hewan Wood recently, so it seems that this species is consolidating nicely in the river valley. A female sparrowhawk was hunting along the river margins, and is a regular sight there. Two buzzards were soaring overhead.

Neil
The previous weekend I had seen a large flock of around 100 redwing near Roslin Chapel along with a dozen mistle thrushes and a few fieldfare, but no sign of these this week.
Nice to hear of the Jays being sited regularly in this area, for the past 2 years I have seen a pair in the Clerk estate at Penicuik but this was only for a few weeks in the late summer. Also for the past few years Green woodpeckers have been breeding in the estate which was great to see, I was aware that they were present further down the Glen for a number of years but it has took them awhile to move up as far as Penicuik. Was also privaleged to watch a white stoat/Ermine last week whilst in the estate. As you will be able to work out I am a regular visitor to the Clerk Estate and would recomend it any one. The whole stretch of the Esk Valley is a fantastic environment for birdwatching
John
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Old Monday 31st March 2008, 15:43   #62
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Faseny

One of my very favourite places to go birding and just to get away from it all is Faseny Valley in the Lammermuirs. It's fairly remote for Lothian with the nearest village,Gifford, about 6 miles away. It was a 8/8 blue sky day when I set off with some definite warmth in the sun.

Arriving at Faseny there were lots of meadow pipits around. Skylarks were chasing each other and singing. A few red grouse were burbling away in the heather. A stoat shot across the path. Down by the cottage were as many as 10 pied wagtails. One of them looked like a male alba to me with clear cut black patch on head ending sharply at the neck-could that be right? There were no wheatears about in the usual places. 2 lapwings were doing their crazy elastic flight and there were a few curlew giving their plaintive call.

My favourite spot involves crossing a stream and water levels were highish so off with the shoes and over I went-unfortunately in a downward direction as I slipped on a stone and landed on my backside. I thought of heading back but stripped and put on my waterproof trousers(oh the feel of goretex on naked skin). And then things got better. A dipper showed of his underwater skills. The first of 10 stonechat was heard singing and chacking. Then I flushed a mountain hare from almost under my feet-remarkably it only moved 10 yards or so instead of disappearing over the horizon as they normally do. I managed to sneak up and get a picture(see below) of this lovely creature just starting to emerge from it's winter coat. And then 100 yards or so further on I heard a familiar scolding took-took call and there 50 yards away was my first ring ouzel of the year.Back down to the main valley and a second bird was seen up on a fence post(one rubbish distant shot attached).

From there I went on to Gosford Bay. For once the water was calm and I had the remarkable experience of seeing black necked grebe,2 red necked grebe, a great crested grebe and a slavonian grebe all in the same bay. There was also an impressive count of 42 red breasted mergansers long tailed ducks yodelling and common and velvet scoters. I even had the first 3 grebes in the scope at one time. A chiffchaff was singing in the trees behind the car park

A quick look at the scrapes at Musselburgh produced good views of the water pipit that has been around for some time. No sign today of the jack snipe that was present at the weekend
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Old Tuesday 1st April 2008, 07:42   #63
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One of my very favourite places to go birding and just to get away from it all is Faseny Valley in the Lammermuirs. It's fairly remote for Lothian with the nearest village,Gifford, about 6 miles away. It was a 8/8 blue sky day when I set off with some definite warmth in the sun.

Arriving at Faseny there were lots of meadow pipits around. Skylarks were chasing each other and singing. A few red grouse were burbling away in the heather. A stoat shot across the path. Down by the cottage were as many as 10 pied wagtails. One of them looked like a male alba to me with clear cut black patch on head ending sharply at the neck-could that be right? There were no wheatears about in the usual places. 2 lapwings were doing their crazy elastic flight and there were a few curlew giving their plaintive call.

My favourite spot involves crossing a stream and water levels were highish so off with the shoes and over I went-unfortunately in a downward direction as I slipped on a stone and landed on my backside. I thought of heading back but stripped and put on my waterproof trousers(oh the feel of goretex on naked skin). And then things got better. A dipper showed of his underwater skills. The first of 10 stonechat was heard singing and chacking. Then I flushed a mountain hare from almost under my feet-remarkably it only moved 10 yards or so instead of disappearing over the horizon as they normally do. I managed to sneak up and get a picture(see below) of this lovely creature just starting to emerge from it's winter coat. And then 100 yards or so further on I heard a familiar scolding took-took call and there 50 yards away was my first ring ouzel of the year.Back down to the main valley and a second bird was seen up on a fence post(one rubbish distant shot attached).

From there I went on to Gosford Bay. For once the water was calm and I had the remarkable experience of seeing black necked grebe,2 red necked grebe, a great crested grebe and a slavonian grebe all in the same bay. There was also an impressive count of 42 red breasted mergansers long tailed ducks yodelling and common and velvet scoters. I even had the first 3 grebes in the scope at one time. A chiffchaff was singing in the trees behind the car park

A quick look at the scrapes at Musselburgh produced good views of the water pipit that has been around for some time. No sign today of the jack snipe that was present at the weekend
That made me so homesick - I'd even be happy to put up with a wet bum from the burn to be able to have been up there with you.

Lovely stuff.
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Old Sunday 6th April 2008, 18:13   #64
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Was it? Was it not?

The last week has seen me feeling a little subpar with a lingering cold. Yesterday I hadn't thought of going out birding as a snell north wind was blowing and it was only a few degrees above zero. My scope has been a bit hazy when viewing so I decided to give it a clean. This took a while and I let my daughter have a look up to the summit of Arthur's Seat from the front room to look at the walkers about a mile away. We looked over to Nether Hill to the south where few people go. Mhairi said she saw a blackbird- I had a look seeing nothing at first but it gradually dawned on me that I never see blackbirds on the hill at this height. I got on to the bird eventually-it turned and seemed to have a white neck patch-? ring ouzel -but just so frustratingly far away to be sure. And then it disappeared from view. So I set off up hill, coughing and spluttering and spent a frustraing hour seeing very little-and by this time lots of dog walkers and people were milling about. A nice male wheatear, 2 stonechats and lower down 6 chiffchaffs and a sand martin on duddingston Loch were scant consolation. I've just looked at Lothian Bird Reports and ring ouzels are seen on Arthur's Seat though usually a little later-would have been a good garden tick-will just have to put it down as a possible.

Still today a trip out to Midlothian produced wonderful views of 2 ravens performing in the wind-quarking away and doing somersaults and 360 turns up and down rock faces-they really are very,very wonderful birds
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Old Tuesday 8th April 2008, 20:55   #65
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Osprey over Pathhead at about 2pm today, low over the road being harried by a selection of corvids. On a trip from the Highlands to Newcastle, I had three Ospreys today in three different counties, so not a bad Osprey day!!
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Old Wednesday 9th April 2008, 08:59   #66
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There was a swallow feeding at the esk mouth Musselburgh yesterday eve
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Old Wednesday 9th April 2008, 22:46   #67
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4 Ring Ouzel in the Faseny Valley on Saturday as well as sightings of Wheatear,Dipper,Peregrine and Blackbird!

We also flushed a Woodcock, strange place it seems for this species on what is basically Grouse moorland but this is the second time I have had this species at this site, the last time was 2 birds a couple of years back. Also I spoke to a mate who say's he had one also that had been lost to a Peregrine.

A quick dart down to the coast at nearby Dunbar for a search of an Iceland Gull found by a couple of mates resulted in good views of a 3rd w bird.

Sunday, resulted in my first look at the Musselburgh Water Pipit, and much appreciated it was too in it's nearly complete summer plumage. I last saw a summer plumaged Wapit in the mountains of Armenia a couple of years back, with my last British sighting in this state at Minsmere around the start of the Falklands war in c1982 I seem to recall.
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Old Thursday 10th April 2008, 10:27   #68
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11 male Reed buntings altogether at Musselburgh , dead weird to see a flock of all the same sex. Like a bird stag party lol
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Old Thursday 10th April 2008, 19:31   #69
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White Stork in flooded fields by Frogston Road West,Fairmilehead,Edinburgh this morning at around 08.19, flew off north west at around 08.50.

A rather jammy find, and my best find whilst at work by far, although still kicking myself over an adult Rosy Starling that got away from me a few years back!
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Old Thursday 10th April 2008, 20:07   #70
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White Stork in flooded fields by Frogston Road West,Fairmilehead,Edinburgh this morning at around 08.19, flew off north west at around 08.50.

A rather jammy find, and my best find whilst at work by far, although still kicking myself over an adult Rosy Starling that got away from me a few years back!
Nice one Calum-well done-how many Lothian records are there?
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Old Thursday 10th April 2008, 20:09   #71
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There has been a White Stork in Northumberland a few days ago could be the same one.
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Old Thursday 10th April 2008, 20:27   #72
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There has been a White Stork in Northumberland a few days ago could be the same one.
Was it unringed and missing the 4th primary on the right wing?
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Old Thursday 10th April 2008, 20:33   #73
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Was it unringed and missing the 4th primary on the right wing?
I think the one in Northum was unringed not to sure about the missing 4th primary feather .
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Old Thursday 10th April 2008, 20:39   #74
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Nice one Calum-well done-how many Lothian records are there?
Nine previous records with the last on 12th April 2003, a bird previous to this on 7-9th April 1996 was ringed and thought to be an escape, a common problem with this species!
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Old Thursday 10th April 2008, 20:42   #75
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I think the one in Northum was unringed not to sure about the missing 4th primary feather .
Cheers for that
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Lothian david kelly Scotland 24 Sunday 17th April 2005 18:54
Possible Mega in Lothian david kelly Birds & Birding 11 Friday 9th July 2004 17:31



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