Monday, 14 January 2013

Foot It: redshank, LBBG, curlew, lanner falcon, and a hybrid crow making a snowball

Well Foot It has once again surpassed expectations for me. Falling snow was what I had asked for last week, so I had better get out into it. The Blackcap was at the feeder again and there were Bramblings among the finches in the garden, but I decided to leave the sit-and-wait-for-a-Redpoll strategy for another weekend and headed out with two targets in mind - Woodcock and Skylark - both of which were more on the cards given the weather. First bird was what appears to be my fifth hybrid Hooded x Carrion Crow of the year! What is going on?

Not another!

Once I was into Craigmillar Castle Park a Woodcock (species 65) sprang from the very first patch of damp cover that I checked. I didn't see another for the rest of the day - and I was out for 7 hours... That was my wader list completed with the three expected species (and bonus Jack Snipe) under the belt this weekend, or so I thought. Skylark (66) duly obliged half an hour later with a single overhead - presumably shifted by the cold weather. Again that was the only one of the day.

Worst shot of Woodcock on the web? It is the speck flying left over the tree tops. Is my sensor that dusty?

Foot It played a blinder minutes later when I reached my previously unexplored destination of the day. I had always been aware that there were some nice looking fields tucked behind the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary at Little France and this is where I was heading. Well, it turns out that a large proportion of the fields are well under the developer's bulldozer of progress, so presumably will not be open space for much longer. But temporary joy of joys - a gull roost - with waders too! This totally unexpected site held several Lapwing, a single Redshank (67 - and an unexpected species) and in amongst the gulls a single Lesser Black-backed Gull (68). The latter was hoped-for but by no means guaranteed. I'll certainly be back to this site...

This is not a sight I expected to see on my Foot It - a Redshank feeding with Lapwings on a freshwater scrape.
And a gull loafing area - with the unexpected bonus of a LBBG.

After grilling the gulls I headed towards Duddingston and was surprised to come across a flock of 7 Curlew (69 - and also unexpected) feeding on a school playing field.

More waders - now six species on the list when I only dared to hope for three.
I had a good search at Duddingston Loch for Little Grebe and Otter but managed neither. A skein of Pink-footed Geese (70) overhead provided good compensation.

At last, after not being sure of the ID of some grey geese last weekend, these PfGs were greatly appreciated.

Walking further into Holyrood Park I was disappointed to dip on Fulmar on Salisbury Crags, but my jaw did drop when a Lanner Falcon flew past. I assumed it was a falconer's escape but have since read that they are flown over the Scottish Parliament to discourage pigeons - so either it is an escape or 'on duty', but either way it was an exciting moment, though less so for the pigeons perhaps.

OMG - a Lanner! A falconer's bird obviously.
Finally, I headed towards the Hermitage of Braid to meet family and friends for a walk up onto the Braid Hills. This was sociable and uneventful bird-wise until the final leg homeward where this Crow was busy playing with snowballs. And, yes, before you ask, it was another hybrid Hooded x Carrion Crow!
A hybrid Hooded x Carrion Crow making a snowball!!! Bonkers...

Stats at end of the day: 70 species; total distance so far 52 miles.

Looking forward to next weekend...

No comments: