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|Friday 2nd March 2012, 14:29||#1|
Leading a life of quiet desperation
Join Date: Jun 2004
A 5 mile stretch of Borders road
I've been out of action for the last 2 months and my only birding has been a desultory 200m hirple round to the local loch and hide to usually not see the bittern that is skulking there. So with things getting better I set off to my favourite stretch of the Scottish Borders just out of Lothian.
I had tried last week but a pea souper had put paid to any trip. It was a still cool morning with pockets of low mist as I set off at 6.30. By 7.00 I had climbed up the B road to over 1000 feet. 500 yards into Borders region and with the window wound down I heard the lovely bubbling of black grouse. A lot of scanning at the entrance to the estate frustratingly produced no birds so I drove on 400 yards and looked back to see 6 black grouse, 2 displaying to each other. A good start.
A mile descent into the valley-more pockets of mist and the sun just peeking out. Life stirring everywhere and signs of spring emerging. A few lapwing, getting into lazy elastic flight, a snipe chipping, oystercatchers peeping nervously, caffies, wood pigeopns and wrens all alerting me to their presence. It's marvellous how senses heighten and awaken hearing all these sounds after not being birding for weeks. As the ground rose 3 more black grouse displayed and 400m on more of them were bubbling away but unseen behind a ridge.
Down into the main valley and I see a distant kestrel hovering-but wait, not a kestrel shape-a short eared owl looking for prey. The bird comes closer and closer and passes barely 10 yards over the car intent on prey. A little further and no less than 13 black grouse at the top of a field, most feeding but a couple facing up. A little further on a group of 4 up on the hill, 2 of them really squaring up. A walk up a track produces 2 dippers and a grey wagtail protesting at my presence.
Back in the car and a mile further on and 2 more black grouse on a hillside. I see the welcome presence of Le Phreak the leucistic oystercatcher about 500m downstream from his location last year. As I watch by a stream a dipper announces his presence, picks up nesting material and goes under the bridge I am by to add to his nest
And that was it, the highlight a minimum of 28 black grouse, pretty good for so early in the year. So time for a celebratory cup of coffee and boy it is good to get back out birding
Tired and wired, we ruin too easy
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