Sunday, 11 November 2012

Gadwall and Shoveler

I popped into Figgate Park this morning en route to the coast. It is one of those sites where good views of ducks and gulls are guaranteed, so given enough visits something unusual will presumably turn up sooner or later. Well, today it was Gadwall, with three males sailing around, one of which was quite tame and displaying. I am not sure I have heard its grunting quack before. Male Gadwall are subtly gorgeous birds with their fine vermiculations on their breast feathers.

There was also a Goosander in with the bunch, and I was delighted to bump into Anthony (aka blackpuddingonabike) at what must be his local patch. Apparently he has had a Pintail and a Water Rail at Figgate Pond in the last few days.

The Gadwall was a Lothian year tick for me, as was a Red-necked Grebe off the seawall at Musselburgh later in the morning. I have not been trying very hard at listing this year given the amount of time I have been out of the country, but still nice to inch the list up a little higher...

I had been hoping to see the Shoveler that had been hanging around the Figgy in previous winters, but there was no sign of that until I popped into Duddingston Loch shortly before sundown. Also there, a Daubenton's bat foraging low over the water giving great in-flight scope views.

So, it turned out that today's two little birding trips around Edinburgh produced sightings of 13 species of ducks: Mallard, Teal, Shoveler, Gadwall, Wigeon, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, Tufted Duck, Eider. Conspicuous by their absence perhaps were Pochard and Scaup both of which were once common in the area but now increasingly difficult to see.

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