Roslin Glen 24-25 November
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.
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.