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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Earning It (1 Viewer)

A quieter week this week, no midweek birding wanders, but a lot of gazing out the window at the feeders. I call this a productive use of my time, whether my boss agrees or not. The plus side is that the local housesparrows have re- discovered the garden feeders. While they're not the most melodious of birds, I associate their cheeping with my childhood of having 10-15 in my garden at one time. A simpler time.

Last Saturday's dalliance with Swedish furniture was a (relative) success. Study desk built for middle daughter to, er, study at, as long as she doesn't try to move it. Or lean on it. Sunday meant a quick run to the recycling centre (its a way of life, really) and a couple of hours to myself afterwards. My birding mate Bill, after his successful trip to Strathclyde Park and Baron's Haugh in the snow had tipped me off about the near- resident Tawny Owl. I was also still hopeful for grey wag and sparrowhawk, but you know, if it happens, it happens. I put no pressure on myself other than to take deep breaths and enjoy being outside.

The snow meant that the reserve was free of cyclists (though any cyclist who was tough enough to get through the snow probably deserves to be outdoors) and other visitors. A half hour search for the owl was, as expected, fruitless. Searching the canopy of the yew trees resulted in a sore neck. A more realistic approach was to search the ground for pellets. There were none, and I felt less annoyed about not seeing anything in the trees.

A wander down toward the hide and a thrashing noise to the left caught my attention. Too 'natural' sounding to be a human, I guessed it was a deer- too loud and 'big' sounding for a fox. A couple of jays gave away their position with alarm calls. Stopped and looked, but all was still. I reached the path at the Marsh Hide, and glanced back the way I had come. The roe deer stood watching me, before turning. Nice to see. I got 25 feet down the path before realising the hide was full, and turned back. Walking along the path I kept my eyes on the sky and the woods, plenty of corvids, not much else. A buzzard called, but out of sight. No sign of grey wag in the muddy, saturated margins of the field, but again I wasn't too bothered.

The next hide- Causeway Hide- was definitely where the birdlife was. Plenty of teal and wigeon in abundance. Tufted duck, goldeneye, and 2 male shovelers. (there's something about shovelers that reinforce my sense of wonder at evolution) A scan of the gulls got common, black- headed, lesser black- backed and herring. Sitting, asleep, among them was the hulking mass of a great black backed. Year tick, the poor light meant I had to spend a wee bit of time confirming it. I'm really not a gull person, and the bugger didn't have the manners to be awake and standing up. But GBBG it definitely was. A further scan of the ducks got me a pair of gadwall. Distant, and in poor light so the male's exquisite plumage wasn't done justice, but definitely gadwall. Year tick 2. I followed them as they swam in my direction, in time to see that the GBBG had woken up for a stretch. He sat back down again, but not before I got a chance to see his big, pink legs.

Time, and daylight, were running away from me and I still wanted a wander through Dalzell Woods. The highlight of this was a pair of treecreeper who landed at the base of a tree no more than 6 feet in front of me. They probed the bark for juicy morsels, happily oblivious to the badly- dressed beardy bloke staring at them. A full walk though the woods and back didn't produce much in the way of birds, but was a very enjoyable stretch of the legs.

So, two year ticks that I honestly wasn't expecting. The GBBG I was confident I could get on the East Coast- albeit I'm not confident about getting TO the East Coast. The Gadwall was a relief as I've not had great luck with them locally before. The reserve, being quieter, was far more relaxing to be in, and I think this raised my mood. The absence of owl, grey wag and sparrowhawk didn't bother me. I think, though, I appreciated a sense that I earned my 2 ticks. I was in a hide, scanning a large water body in poor light, and found them on my own. Am I the only person who appreciates self- found birds more than the ones you get after a tip off? On the other hand, by the time I get to December, I'll be so exhausted 'working' for my ticks I'll accept anything!!

The other thing that sprung to mind was a birding instinct. I had temporarily misplaced my Collins guide, and my phone was out of charge, so I didn't have the normal, easy ways of verifying the gadwall. My first glance said Gadwall, the size, shape, colour (despite the light) the jizz of it triggered some memory of it. Being a cautious birder, though, I set out to prove myself wrong before finally accepting it myself. (all far, far too serious!!) So, the fact that I recognised it immediately made me feel pretty good. The small things sometimes have the biggest impact.

Limited options for going out this weekend, Mrs GreenSand turns 50 on Sunday, which will be the very definition of a family day. Thinking of Drumpellier (the quiet bit) tomorrow, maybe Whitelees Windfarm (thanks to South Lanarkshire's crazy geography) or even a quiet walk in Coulter's Wood near CAthkin Marsh SWT. Alarm set for 7am!!

Stay healthy, stay safe.

John

Stay healthy, stay safe.
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
Another great write up John. No, you are most definitely not the only one for whom self-found birds trump any that you twitch when it comes to self-satisfaction with your birding abilities and deservedly so. As for the thrill you got from IDing the Gadwell, that ’gut feeling’ comes with experience and increasingly one knows what a bird is before one even knows what the bird is! When you do consciously know, the self-satisfaction that comes from that is almost tangible!
 

Green Sandpiper

Well-known member
Scotland
Another great write up John. No, you are most definitely not the only one for whom self-found birds trump any that you twitch when it comes to self-satisfaction with your birding abilities and deservedly so. As for the thrill you got from IDing the Gadwell, that ’gut feeling’ comes with experience and increasingly one knows what a bird is before one even knows what the bird is! When you do consciously know, the self-satisfaction that comes from that is almost tangible!
Thanks Deb. I've got a couple of days' worth to write up tonight, after Dad duties are completed, of course!
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
A great report that GS. You sure seem to have some good places around you lad. And yes.... I do enjoy more finding my own birds, however few I get. Though love having new ones pointed out to me as well.

I hope your wife enjoyed her birthday too.... and hope you spoiled her rotten? ;)
 

Green Sandpiper

Well-known member
Scotland
A great report that GS. You sure seem to have some good places around you lad. And yes.... I do enjoy more finding my own birds, however few I get. Though love having new ones pointed out to me as well.

I hope your wife enjoyed her birthday too.... and hope you spoiled her rotten? ;)
Thanks Delia. The spoiling was massive!! But, in a very GS family way!! (winging it, essentially!)
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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