Sunday, 20 January 2013

Foot It in Edinburgh: 76 miles without a Collared Dove

Hit the 100% mark on Saturday during a 14-miler. Started at around 8:00 am - nice and calm with fresh snow underfoot. One of the hybrid Hooded x Carrion Crows from last weekend was on the same rooftop so I fired off some better record shots. As I did so a passerine flew over silently - almost certainly a Meadow Pipit - galling that it wasn't calling as it would have been a Foot It tick...
The now customary hybrid along with a more regular Carrion Crow
All I could think was "flush a Bittern"! One of 3 Fox sightings on Saturday.
Into Craiglockhart Castle Park for nice views of Great Spotted Woodpecker and Kestrel, and then on to Duddingston where I tried in vain to will a Bittern to emerge from the reedbed. Only ever seen 2 here but... A Fox trotting along the edge of the ice and as it could do no better than me I decided to head around to view the open water. A single Pink-footed Goose in amongst the Greylags was unexpected - nice close views, so presumably feral, but could just be lost and disorientated and tagging along with the Greylags?

Pink-footed Goose on Duddingston Loch - feral or wild?
My first Foot It tick of the day - a GBBG in the middle of the ice
Scanning the gulls on the frozen loch I noted a single Great Black-backed Gull (species 72 after my mid-week Little Grebe). After drawing a blank on this species until now, I ended up with 3 sightings before the end of the weekend. As I was watching the gull some calls overhead revealed 2 Skylark heading towards the coast. Soon after 2 Meadow Pipits (73) passed over calling making up for the earlier dip. Satisfied that two glaring holes in my list had been plugged, I decided to go and twitch something unexpected and headed up Arthur's Seat to look for the Snow Buntings that had been reported earlier in the week. After an hour or so combing the various tops I conceded defeat and headed to check the wildfowl on St Margaret's Loch. Nothing new to add here but an impressive concentration of hungry birds and a few handfuls of birdseed were soon hoovered up.

Hungry Mute Swans on St Margaret's Loch
Heading for the Figgy I bumped into yet another hybrid Hooded x Carrion Crow, my sixth while Footing It and my ninth different bird in Edinburgh this winter. There are obviously a few around...
My sixth different hybrid Hooded x Carrion Crow whilst Footing It - this one at Mount Castle

At Figgate Park I was glad to see that my two target species were still on the pond and so Gadwall (74) and Shoveler (75) brought me up to 100% of my target. That said, I have walked a bit further than I initially planned to and roamed a little further afield so maybe my target of 75 was too low. In fact, there are three species that I have yet to see on my initial list (Collared Dove, Tawny Owl, Lesser Redpoll). Yes you read that right - 76 miles without a Collared Dove!
One of four Gadwall on Figgate Pond
 I know of three other species that have been reported in the area so far during the month (Crossbill, Fulmar, Snow Bunting). In addition, the following are possible, though unlikely perhaps: Grey Partridge, Bittern, Mediterranean Gull, Long-eared Owl, Green Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Mealy Redpoll. With one weekend remaining I don't see myself adding much more than Tawny Owl and Lesser Redpoll, but who knows?...
I hit 100% of 75 species with this handsome drake Shoveler

No comments: