It has been an interesting few days, although not as interesting as it should have been. At the beginning of this year, I was expecting to be in New Zealand right now, but obviously world events have stopped that from happening.
Saturday, I think it was, I had made a fairly unproductive tour of the Seafield strip, and decided to make a quick call in to Kinghorn Loch, however, I took the wrong turn out of the Seafield area, heading for home on auto. I quickly corrected my route and looped in towards the loch using the back road that travels over the hill, instead of the usual coastal route. As I passed along the narrow road that threads its way between the fields, the car put up a hawk from a hedgerow, that swooped in front of me and disappeared across the field. Sparrowhawk would not have been a surprise, but I felt the bird was too small. Definitely not a Kestrel, it has left me wondering if it might have been a Merlin.
It would have been too far out to be a patch tick, but if we get a good day next week, I'm going to walk out from the loch to see what can be seen.
Yesterday saw me back at the loch. The female Pochard is still there, but otherwise little of note on the water. In the woodland, there was a sizeable flock of Redwing, with a Fieldfare or two evident. Towards the top of the main path that angles up from the north shore, there is a row of mature Rowan, that have been heavily laden with berries. They are no longer heavily laden, as the thrush factor has devastated the crop. I had hopes of these trees attracting Waxwing later in the year, but there is not much left to attract them now.
Leaving the woodland, I headed up to the top of the hill. As I approached the top I heard a single note bird call, that was distinctive, but one that I did not recognise. I quickly found the source of the call. Two wader type birds were heading across the horse and sheep pastures, moving south at speed. I noted the general colouration, shape and beak size, and my first instinct was Golden Plover. Since then, I have been checking Xeno-Canto. The flight call that I heard was perfect for GP, and I have found nothing else that it could have been. Certainly not a Grey Plover, as there were no dirty armpits. Based on what I saw, and heard, I am confident enough to add Golden Plover to the patch list.
131 (62). Golden Plover
It should also be noted that over the last few months, it was evident to me that there was a lot of bird traffic moving over the top of the hill that looks down onto the loch. I suspect that quite a few of the birds seen would be new entries to the patch list. For this reason, I am toying with the idea of upgrading my camera to a Nikon D500 with 200-500mm lens, but no concrete decision made yet.
Today saw me back at the coastal strip. Still lacking winter birds, with no R-M Merganser or Long-Tailed Duck evident, although I am now seeing Red-Throated Diver. Also present today was a Knot (first of the year for the patch, I think). Not exactly a Kiwi, but it will do. :t: