Having had such a successful trip to Balmossie on Wednesday, I was a bit tired on Thursday but decided I should really get out on Friday. I was hoping to cross the finishing line of my Dundee 125 in 2021 list, a bit earlier than I originally envisaged. I decided to make another visit to Riverside Nature Park where Mediterranean Gull and Curlew Sandpiper were probably the likeliest species to help me reach my goal. I wanted to get to the park as early as possible so I actually got up when the alarm went off and headed out at 0600 determined to succeed in getting something new onto the list.
|Long Tailed Tit|
Herring Gull, Jackdaw, Feral Pigeon, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Dunnock, Robin, Goldfinch and Woodpigeon were all seen in the first 10 minutes outside as I set off along one of the routes I use to get to work. Blackbird, Blue Tit and Lesser Black Backed Gull were soon added to that list before I caught sight of a rather high-flying bird heading westwards towards Cox's Stack as I walked along Brantwood Avenue. Something about it made me stop to get the camera out to take a few photos. It looked gull-like but something about it just wasn't quite right. The reason for that was that it was my second Great Skua of the week and the first one I've seen far enough upriver to support my theory about them using the Tay as a route to the west coast. As the bird was probably around a mile from the river and seemingly routing further inland that could also explain why I've never seen one doing so previously (along with the time of day).
The football pitches at Lochee Park gave me Common and Black Headed Gull while a slight detour up Balgay Hill a bit added Stock Dove, Wren, Coal Tit, Great Tit and a nice view of one of the local Foxes. As I headed down to Riverside Drive I could hear Sandwich Terns calling from over the river and with a raised viewpoint I was able to spy a couple of birds distantly out beyond the airport as well as a Cormorant low over the water. As I walked along past the Brakes and Amazon depots I heard and then saw a Curlew as it flew over northwest across the railway line and seconds later the distinctive call of a Tree Pipit heading west.
I reached the park just before 0710 and although things appeared relatively quiet I quickly started adding to the park list for the day - Blue Tit, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Greenfinch, Buzzard, Blackbird, Sandwich Tern, Herring Gull, Swallow, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Stock Dove, Magpie, Goldfinch, Siskin, Pied Wagtail and 2 Jays all before I had made it as far as the car park. Continuing on I found Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Feral Pigeon, Linnet, Lesser Black Backed Gull and Mallard. Just before 0800 I added a Sparrowhawk, followed shortly after with a Whitethroat, Black Headed Gull and Long Tailed Tit flock. Song Thrush and Goldcrest were noted before I made it round to check the bay for the first time.
Great Black Backed Gull stood out among the mix of other gull species on the pipe, and there were also a few Common Gulls around, though the majority of birds were Black Headed and Herring Gulls with a few Lesser Black Backeds in the mix. A pair of Black Tailed Godwits and a Bar Tailed Godwit flew in together but didn't land, though a larger group of both species did turn up and land to feed together a few minutes later. Redshanks and a single Oystercatcher were also spied down on the mud as the tide came in. Jackdaw and Chiffchaff were seen as I headed up to the bridge over the railway line for a better view of the section of mud hidden from view by the tree in front of the hide. As I did so a skein of Canada Geese arrived from the north but instead of landing as it appeared they might, continued on their way back southwards.
The first of 5 Ospreys I was to see that day was seen fishing as I stood on the bridge. I watched it get higher and higher in the sky with the fish it had caught before a second bird arrived and also caught a fish in the bay. The second bird actually splashed down just a few feet in front of a rather startled Cormorant, one of two hunting together. A Rook flew over and I heard a Kingfisher from the hide but failed to see it. With the tide beginning to recede again I decided to head round to the Invergowrie side to see if there was any chance of Mediterranean Gull among the Black Headeds and Sandwich Terns, or even anything else I might have missed.
Another Osprey was seen fishing in the bay as I walked along past the reedbed and railway station. I spooked a Kingfisher as I walked out from the bottom of the small set of steps down to the shore. From a vantage point just south of the extent of the mud I scanned through the birds in the bay. I found 2 Ruff that promptly disappeared out of sight behind the reeds. A pair of Lapwings flew out of the bay minutes later. A Meadow Pipit overflew towards the park before 3 Teal flew in to land just offshore. A Grey Heron was noted stood out on the pipe before a flock of Goosander dropped in just outside the bay. Curlew and Dunlin were both added and a Sparrowhawk drifted over the trees behind me, scanning for potential prey.
I moved out to the small stone jetty-like area at the point but failed to add anything new and once the mud reached the general area I was in I headed back round to the park again. Once there again, Meadow Brown butterfly was found by the path near the picnic tables and yet another Osprey - though very distant out across the river was spotted. I managed to refind the 2 Ruff, as they fed on the mud just beyond the pipe. A Tree Pipit overflew but was only heard rather than seen. I wandered round for a look at the Lochan where Moorhen was added. Seals were seen out on sandbanks in the river from the top of the hill where I spent around 30 minutes or so. A large flock of a few hundred Lapwings were spotted in the air around Kingoodie. They eventually spilt into 2 groups with some landing in the bay, while others chose to land nearer Kingoodie.
A Yellowhammer flew past before I set off on another wander, which added Reed Bunting, Wren and Great Tit as well as Common Darter dragonflies (between 15 and 25) and a few Large White butterflies. As with the previous week's visit things quietened down significantly around lunchtime and although another Osprey and a few Buzzards were seen it was hard going trying to add anything new. I did eventually manage to conjure up a Coal Tit and a Collared Dove (perched in a tree to the north of the railway line) but despite lots of effort that was my lot for the park list. It was a long, rather weary walk home with Pied Wagtail at the airport and a Sparrowhawk over Dens Road all I had to show for the miles walked to get back home.
Although I failed to add anything new for my Dundee 125 list, I did succeed in matching the 2nd highest total for the park with 59 species seen or heard. The Great Skua took the list for the day to a nice round 60 species. Overall it was worth the early start and the 8 hours or so spent mostly on my feet in warm sunshine.
|Black Headed Gull|
|Lesser Black Backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black Backed Gull|
|Black Tailed Godwit|
|Black Headed Gull|
|Osprey & Cormorant|
|Bar Tailed Godwit|
|Dunlin, Redshank, Bar Tailed Godwit, Black Tailed Godwit|
|Herring Gull & Osprey|
|Black Tailed Godwit & Ruff|
|Long Tailed Tit|
|Black Headed Gull|
Birds - Bar Tailed Godwit, Blackbird, Black Headed Gull, Black Tailed Godwit, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Collared Dove, Common Gull, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Goosander, Great Black Backed Gull, Great Skua, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, Herring Gull, Jackdaw, Jay, Kingfisher, Lapwing, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Linnet, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Meadow Pipit, Moorhen, Osprey, Oystercatcher, Pied Wagtail, Redshank, Reed Bunting, Robin, Feral Pigeon, Rook, Ruff, Sandwich Tern, Siskin, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Stock Dove, Swallow, Teal, Tree Pipit, Whitethroat, Woodpigeon, Wren, Yellowhammer.
Butterfly - Large White, Meadow Brown.
Mammals - Fox, Seal sp. .
italics and underline - outside Riverside Nature Park only
italics only - both outside Riverside Nature Park & inside
Normal text - Riverside Nature Park only