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Kincardinshire/Angus 2018

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Old Monday 1st January 2018, 16:32   #1
JohnAWalsh0
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Kincardinshire/Angus 2018

Opportunity opened up today, and all too pleased to be able to take it.

Shelduck Hide at Montrose basin, and then a short run across to Loch of Kinnordy. Shorter light window had me out as morning broke.
New hide as yet unfinished is a necessary development for obvious reason. Yet I will be sad to see current hide go when time arrives, no question.

1-3c, Morning/Afternoon, Montrose Basin/Loch of Kinnordy.

Wren playing hide and seek along the path for a while alongside an abundance of Reed Buntings the highlights on way in. Kingfisher, and a flash of brilliant blue over the path and beneath in to the river bank it appeared, the highlight on exiting the hide.

In between, nothing out of the ordinary (but does there have to be?) with a Grey Heron sitting silently as the river flowed by, two Little Grebes diving on the bend of the river, a Black Headed Gull struggling with a small flat fish, a Great Black Backed Gull arriving for a tug-of-war with some Carrion Crows over what else, a piece of carrion and a family of Teal on a morning excursion.

Late morning arrival at Loch of Kinnordy. Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, and Goosander all in evidence, moving around in the court of the Mute Swan it appeared. Heavily iced over for most part. No Smew evident though recently sighted it appears, and as for a Bittern.. I continue to hold my lottery ticket tight for that draw. :)

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Old Monday 1st January 2018, 16:43   #2
delia todd
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Welcome to Birdforum John. A super first post that.

I must get across to Kinnordy soon, the feeding station should be really busy just now.
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Old Saturday 6th January 2018, 21:31   #3
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1-4c, (Felt colder to begin), Morning/Early afternoon, Errol/Port Allan/Loch of Kinnordy.

Opportunity opened up today in place of tomorrow and all too keen to avail of opportunity to go down the A90 to Errol, Tayside, putting to good use pointers received on separate Bearded Tit query thread - (Thank you Barry and Jonathan both) - and achieve a first for me.

Introduction to Errol was the rail crossing at Errol Station, and a close-up of the 8.29, hurtling south at high speed out of the morning light. 8.45 I would estimate before enough light was available to make a correct identification, by which time I was parked up on Gas Brae (great street name that - 'Gas' in Ireland translates to 'Fun') and out heading towards the Tay. Pic 1.

The path down to Tay Lodge yielded up several Blue Tit, heard before seen and a small flock of Tree Sparrow, which I always enjoy seeing, watching as I do a resident House Sparrow family all year at home. I left the Cistern Green Wildlife Garden and Community Orchard on my right to return to on my way back, when full light would allow a more thorough look through.

Pointers to hand, I quickly identified first point of possibility, an elevated section a short distance past Tay Lodge, (as opposed to right pathway through riparian wood to Port Allan), open for the most part and surrounded to all sides by reed bed.

However, afflicted by time-honoured 'that narrow and interesting looking pathway through the reeds ahead, whose course I quite can't see so I'll just have to have a look', off I went. Pic 2. Spent a good half-hour down here at path end, a lone Robin skulking about for company, waiting patiently with no return. Time is never wasted, as watched winter sun slowly rise on the reed beds from across the Tay. Pic 3.

Returning to the elevated section in due course offered up my quarry, and it was a memorable moment, no question. Three, perhaps 4 or more Bearded Tit moved quickly in to my line of sight, call evident before sight, the small flock moving with some urgency through the reeds visible at edge of raised area. Pic 4.

A first for me today, a moment to remember and what a beautiful bird the Bearded Tit happens to be. Great Tit, Blue Tit and Goldfinch were also evident from here.

After this, it was a relatively short walk through riparian woodland to Port Allan. A first view offered here, across an expanse of reed beds and out east over the Tay, the city of Dundee some 15 or so miles distant was worth the walk alone. Pic 5.

A little further again, a steep bank offered up some more views over the Tay itself. Pic 6 (Note that I have attached this to separate post due to post/file limit. From here, a relatively quiet expanse of water offered up a large number of Mallard, Tufted Duck and a lesser number of Goldeneye in the far distance.

On the way back to the village I passed, once again, the Cistern Green Wildlife Garden and Community Orchard, to my left now. Tree Sparrow, Great Tit, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting and Chaffinch all in evidence here. Had I more time today, would have stayed here much longer, no question.

One final stop to be made on the drive back north on the A90, and that was at the Loch of Kinnordy. It was not much more than a quick run-through the three hides there, and the feeding station between the East and Gullery hides.

Mallard, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Wigeon, and Teal were all in evidence, with one solitary Great Black-Backed Gull providing the comic interlude, by looking as if frozen fast in the ice had one not known different.

The feeding station offered up the regular Tits, Great and Blue, with a pair of Coal Tit showing further along the path. The Gullery hide offered little more than an expanse of ice, even by early afternoon, and the Swamp hide in turn no different to the East Hide on first view of the loch.

Arriving back on the coast in Kincardinshire just after 2, impossible not to appreciate yet again as I write tonight that there is so much out there, often for the first time, everywhere, birds, views, pathways, landscape, light and more.

Thank you for reading. John.
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Old Saturday 6th January 2018, 21:32   #4
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Pic 6 as above.
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Old Saturday 6th January 2018, 21:50   #5
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Well done, John. In all my visits down there - usually 1 or 2 a year, I've never had a view like that of Beardies, and definitely not at that spot - haven't even heard them there. There is a grit tray in at the edge of the reeds around there, so I'm guessing that the person who put that there has also had success. Maybe I should try visiting in January, rather than Spring. Looks like they've opened up the pool, making it tidal (or maybe nature did that?). Last time I visited, the western pool had been opened out, so I suspect it is a planned change.
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Old Saturday 6th January 2018, 22:14   #6
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What a great report that is John. Many congratulations on hitting your target, and first time too. (You'll have to give Paul (Gander) some hints on that)

That place you found the Beardies, was where I saw my first ones. But oh so many years ago now; we'd gone for a walk down there and the ringers were in action. The caught one and called us in to have a look at him before they released him.

Many subsequent visits were fruitless!!

If you don't mind, I'll use one or two of the pictures on The Opus article for the Tay Reed Beds, and also provide a link to that post.

Thanks lad.
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Old Saturday 6th January 2018, 22:34   #7
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Not at all, Delia, please go ahead. Pleased to make your acquaintance also.
And thank you also, Barry.

John.
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Old Sunday 7th January 2018, 08:18   #8
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Great report John and I'm glad your efforts were rewarded with views of the Beardies.
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Old Monday 8th January 2018, 14:08   #9
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Many congratulations on hitting your target, and first time too. (You'll have to give Paul (Gander) some hints on that)
Ouch! That hurt.

Great result John. I've never tried for the Beardies yet, so I might well utilise the tips you received next time I'm available to get along there.
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Old Tuesday 9th January 2018, 12:37   #10
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It shouldn’t hurt too much, Paul; all residents of Kirriemuir claim to have seen a Smew while preparing tea from their kitchen window, the very same one I have yet to see on several visits.
For good measure it appears that the Bittern there has been seen running errands up the high street on a regular basis also, again without a sighting on my part, despite much time and effort to that regard.

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Old Tuesday 9th January 2018, 18:29   #11
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It shouldn’t hurt too much, Paul; all residents of Kirriemuir claim to have seen a Smew while preparing tea from their kitchen window, the very same one I have yet to see on several visits.
For good measure it appears that the Bittern there has been seen running errands up the high street on a regular basis also, again without a sighting on my part, despite much time and effort to that regard.
Glad it's not just me.

If it helps, there has been a Red-headed Smew at Lochore Meadows for some weeks. Usually seen along the south bank.
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Old Saturday 13th January 2018, 20:04   #12
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4-5c, Morning/Early afternoon, Glen Esk/Loch Lee/Falls of Unich.

Having strayed out of bounds last week, one of the five Angus Glens felt like a good choice when a window opened today. The head of Glen Esk, a walk by Loch Lee, and onward and up to the stunning Falls of Unich was never a difficult choice.

The approach down the glen alone is worth the visit, especially so as day breaks. Pic 1 However, both time of year and habitat combined can offer a challenge here, by side of loch and onward towards the falls.

Perhaps the signs were there. Mount Keen, the most easterly summit over 3,000 feet appeared to offer a sullen and somewhat indifferent welcome on my arrival, and my welcome party numbered one, a Great Tit.

An exceptionally quiet walk-in followed by a quick call to the old churchyard on the shore of the loch, a tip of the hat later to the resting place of local poet, Alexander Ross, and it was off along the loch. Pic 2

Careful observation of several trees high on the elevations to the right above the path yielded up two Black Grouse, perched high and at ease with the world both. Pic 3

Having seen this area as a hive of activity at other times of the year, it felt very quiet indeed this morning.

The loch itself, wild and beautiful as always offered similar slim returns, with three Goosander holding court, in full possession of the loch it appeared.

Reaching the windward end offered up a Whopper Swan who one must suspect books off its holiday here a year in advance, and a large flock of Mallard, and that was it.

Beyond the loch, the path sits dwarfed by the mountains above, and it is impossible yet again not to appreciate the beauty of the Angus Glens, so often overlooked in the rush elsewhere. Pic 4, Pic 5

A singular Red Grouse was evidenced here above the path to the right, playing sentry it would appear, Pic 6 (Pic 6 to 9 on post to follow) to a larger number of Red Grouse, who would be evident on the path itself on the way back.

The Falls of Unich need no further description, speaking for themselves, Pic 7 nor indeed the path and bridge as it nears. Pic 8

Three, perhaps four Bullfinch made a gallant attempt to buff the count up on the path back, but it was when word of a Dipper reached my ear on the way, seen a short while before on the Waters of Lee, that all appeared good once more in the avian world.

Investing a good half hour in pursuit of his quarry, Pic 9 the king of the reed bed from last week failed to find even a trace of a Dipper!
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Old Saturday 13th January 2018, 20:05   #13
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Pics 6 to 9 as above.
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Old Sunday 14th January 2018, 19:09   #14
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Great photos John
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Old Sunday 14th January 2018, 22:03   #15
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Another great report and pictures there John. Many, many years ago I worked for a few weeks near Tarfside, but didn't really manage up to the loch then.

At last I've managed to sort out your pictures and added them to the Reed Bed Opus article and linked this thread too. Thanks again lad.
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Old Thursday 18th January 2018, 05:42   #16
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Thank you both. Very kind to say.
Tarfside always catches my eye as I pass through, truly a retreat deep in the foothills of the Cairngorms. Not sure about the nightlife though!

As a very minor footnote to report above, Chaffinch should have read Bullfinch.
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Old Thursday 18th January 2018, 08:12   #17
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Thank you both. Very kind to say.
Tarfside always catches my eye as I pass through, truly a retreat deep in the foothills of the Cairngorms. Not sure about the nightlife though!

As a very minor footnote to report above, Chaffinch should have read Bullfinch.
Do you want me to edit the post for you John? I have special powers
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Old Friday 19th January 2018, 07:23   #18
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It would be very kind of you to do so, Delia and thank you.
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Old Friday 19th January 2018, 08:12   #19
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There you go John!!

Cheers
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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 17:56   #20
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I saw my first ever Water Rail at the SWT centre at Montrose today, along with the usuals - wigeon, teal, snipe, eider, curlew, redshank, little grebe, etc. There was a little egret there but I didn't see it, that will be one for another day.
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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 18:12   #21
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Congratulations on your Lifer Kincraig. I saw my first one in the winter time, at Balgavies.

Keep an eye on threads titled something like Scottish Bashes; we try to meet up occasionally and they're always great fun. You'd be most welcome to join us on another if you can manage.
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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 18:44   #22
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Congratulations on your Lifer Kincraig. I saw my first one in the winter time, at Balgavies.

Keep an eye on threads titled something like Scottish Bashes; we try to meet up occasionally and they're always great fun. You'd be most welcome to join us on another if you can manage.
Thank you.
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Old Sunday 4th February 2018, 18:21   #23
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Had another good day at montrose today with my elder daughter. First interesting spot was either a linnet, which i have seen before, or a redpoll, which I have not. Then there were the usual shelduck, curlew, greenshank, redshank, mallard, eider and wigeon, with a red kite taking a bird to throw in a dramatic twist. Finally, we ended up with another lifer, a little egret, which is an easy spot if there is one there. A good day.
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Old Monday 19th March 2018, 11:59   #24
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I was out for a wander with the dog on Saturday over the moors beside the woods just west of Stonehaven, looking for the red deer that I know (from the amount of tracks and sign) live there. From that perspective it was a successful trip - I sat around 0.5 miles away from a forest clearing watching a red hind and two of last year's calves, and also spotted two roe doe at much closer quarters.
The bonus came on the way back to the car - four bullfinch (two male and two female) and then three crossbill (one male with two females). It is the first crossbills that I've ever seen outwith Strathspey.
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