Tuesday, 24 March 2020

The Road And The Miles Through Dundee.

With the expected UK-wide Coronavirus 'lock-down' now in place the opportunities to do some birding are going to be even more limited than they already were. However, as I apparently fall into the essential workers category I have to go to work as usual - though with the chamce that I may not be doing my 'normal' job when I get there. The roughly 3.25 mile walk there, and the same back however does give me the chance to get some exercise and squeeze in something resembling birding on the way - though I am 99.9% reliant on my eyes and ears (small binoculars have been used once this week for a high soaring Buzzard) for the sightings.

Treecreeper

So to catch up with the latest "on foot commute" trips here's a quick summing up of Thursday, Friday, Monday and Tuesday's efforts. Thursday's walk to work provided a couple of new additions to the species seen list with an alarm calling Mistle Thrush the main morning highlight plus a Grey Wagtail in the city centre on the way home (via some shopping for necessities). A soaring Sparrowhawk being harassed by a Carrion Crow just before I reached home was also a nice bonus. Friday was disappointing on the numbers front but a small flock of Whooper Swans heading northwest were a nice bonus as I neared work.

Monday proved to be the best day by a long way so far with a total of 30 species seen, including a trio of 'new' species for the 'walking to work' list as well as most of the usual suspects, though the majority of Black Headed Gulls have now moved on to breeding sites (none seen on Monday, a single bird seen on Tuesday). A Bullfinch on Dens Road was a decent 'early' bird along with the majority of the regulars mostly in their 'usual' places. Heading along Ancrum Road I spotted a high-flying Peregrine heading towards Cox's Stack. Peregrine was an expected addition that had eluded me thus far.

A little further on a small brown bird flew past me and round to the rear of a tree trunk. I suspected Treecreeper and although the bird was on the underside of a branch rather than the trunk where I expected to find it, it soon flew down to the next tree giving me good views and confirmation of another 'new' bird. The aforementioned high flying Buzzard being harassed by a Herring Gull prompted the deployment of the small 8x binoculars I had in my bag. A slight detour on the way home added the hoped for Jay to the list for the day. A bit further on I heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker calling and spotted it overhead in flight. Another expected, but welcome addition. Another slight detour nearer home added Jackdaw taking the day's list to 30, 6 ahead of the previous best 'day' total.

Tuesday resorted back to the more usual sort of numbers with a Grey Wagtail overflying Ancrum Road the best bird seen, though a lone Black Headed Gull near the more numerous Common Gulls may well be the last seen there for a while. Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Swallow, House Martin and maybe a Wheatear are likely to be the next batch of new additions though habitat for any of those is rather limited on my routes to/from work (unless I take a fairly large detour - more likely on my way home). An overflying Osprey is also not out of the question. I've now seen 40 species of bird and a single mammal species on the walk which is a decent return. (All photos used in this post are older photos).

Species seen - Thursday 19th March (24 species) - Blackbird, Black Headed Gull, Blue Tit, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Common Gull, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Grey Wagtail, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Mistle Thrush, Oystercatcher, Robin, Feral Pigeon, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Woodpigeon, Wren.

Friday 20th March (20 species) - Blackbird, Blue Tit, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Common Gull, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Oystercatcher, Feral Pigeon, Starling, Whooper Swan, Woodpigeon.

Monday 23rd March (30 species) - Blackbird, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Collared Dove, Common Gull, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Jay, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Oystercatcher, Robin, Feral Pigeon, Song Thrush, Starling, Treecreeper, Woodpigeon.

Tuesday 24th March (24 species) - Blackbird, Black Headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Common Gull, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Wagtail, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Oystercatcher, Robin, Feral Pigeon, Song Thrush, Starling, Woodpigeon.

Robin

Blackbird

Herring Gull

House Sparrow

Common Gull

Black Headed Gull

Pink Footed Goose

Carrion Crow

Pied Wagtail

Blue Tit

Great Tit

Dunnock

Chaffinch

Collared Dove

Starling

Buzzard

Mistle Thrush

Song Thrush

Long Tailed Tit

Sparrowhawk

Goldfinch

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Coal Tit

Peregrine

Woodpigeon

Jackdaw

House Sparrow

Bullfinch

Grey Wagtail
Lesser Black Backed Gull

Greenfinch


The 40 species seen so far - Blackbird, Black Headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Collared Dove, Common Gull, Curlew, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Wagtail, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Jay, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Mistle Thrush, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pied Wagtail, Pink Footed Goose, Redwing, Robin, Feral Pigeon, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Treecreeper, Whooper Swan, Woodpigeon, Wren.
Mammals seen - Grey Squirrel.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Sunday Surprises (22/3/20)

As the opportunities to get outside for some exercise and fresh air may become more and more limited over the next few weeks/months I decided that I should head out somewhere on Sunday as the weather was probably the best it has been so far this year. With no real plan again I decided I might as well head first for Swannie Ponds then possibly to Baxter Park again, and maybe go further afield from there depending on how much/little I managed to see.

Wren


It was just before 1300 when I headed out. It was relatively quiet bird-wise with mostly the larger species seen on the walk to Clepington Road. As I walked along towards the Forfar Road junction I spotted a raptor flying over towards the ponds. Rather than the more expected Sparrowhawk it was a Peregrine. Movement caught my eye up to my left and as I looked up a second Peregrine flew over the top of me, not too high above rooftop height, heading in the same general direction as the other bird (co-operative hunting by a pair perhaps, with one bird flusing birds towards the other?). The ponds were once again rather quiet with none of the smaller gulls, nor any sign of the Mute Swans (though they may have been out of my line of sight on the island).

I headed into Baxter Park again and stopped again at the 'Spring Grove'. Although things were marginally quieter than Wednesday there was still a good spread of species to be seen. Dunnock, Wren, Woodpigeon, Blue Tit and Blackbird gave the closest views. Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, House Sparrow, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Goldcrest and Song Thrush all put in an appearance or two as did a pair of Long Tailed Tits collecting feathers for a nest somewhere nearby. Magpie, Carrion Crow, Lesser Black Backed and Herring Gulls were seen over head. One or two bumblebees were also seen on the wing.

At one point I happened to look up and saw a very large bird flying over. Even more unexpected than the Peregrine pair earlier this turned out to be a White Tailed Eagle - my first sighting over 'central' Dundee (I've seen two together over Ninewells/Riverside Nature Park once and seen one from Monifieth perched on the Fife side of the river - though I have also seen the Tentsmuir bird(s) flying off in the direction of Dundee from the forest a few times, usually after circling high into the sky first). A little later another Peregrine flew over the park. I headed for home around 1600 adding Starling to the list for the day taking the total to 27 species - definitely a case of quality over quantity however.

Goldfinch

Lesser Black Backed Gull

Blue Tit

Greenfinch

Blue Tit

Blue Tit

Chaffinch

Greenfinch

Woodpigeon

Song Thrush

Long Tailed Tit

Blue Tit & Chaffinch

Blue Tit

Goldfinch

Goldfinch

Woodpigeon

Woodpigeon

House Sparrow

Chaffinch

Wren

Robin

Wren

Wren

Wren

Blackbird

White Tailed Eagle

White Tailed Eagle

Chaffinch

Dunnock

Dunnock

Dunnock

Dunnock

Long Tailed Tit

Long Tailed Tit

Robin

Blackbird

Chaffinch

Greenfinch

Goldfinch

Dunnock

Chaffinch

Peregrine

Herring Gull

Chaffinch

Blue Tit

Dunnock

Dunnock

Dunnock

Woodpigeon

Chaffinch

House Sparrow

Woodpigeon

Coal Tit

Coal Tit

Greenfinch

Magpie

Great Tit

Goldfinch

Wren


Species seen - Blackbird, Blue Tit, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Coot, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Peregrine, Robin, Feral Pigeon, Song Thrush, Starling, Tufted Duck, White Tailed Eagle, Woodpigeon, Wren.