Wednesday, 16 February 2022

0940 : Ahead Of The Storm (16/2/22)

Once again my Wednesday off was due to coincide with another 'named storm' arriving. Earlier in the week it had looked as if it would rain heavily all day, however by Tuesday evening it appeared I might be able to squeeze in some birding after all. Rain was forecast for around 0700 but from then onwards there was a break until around 1300. That would in theory give me enough time to visit Riverside Nature Park or even Balmossie, though my suspicion that the window would close a little proved correct as the morning progressed with some rain showers forecast for around 1100 before the main arrival of the stormy conditions around noon.

Black Headed Gull

Having decided to stay in bed a bit later, my early start was shelved and the window of opportunity had already shrunk quite considerably. Having seen an interesting looking Herring Gull at Swannie Ponds at the weekend I decided that I would try to get better views of that bird, in the hope of it turning out to be an American Herring Gull which looked to be a possibility. I headed out into what was a colder than expected but rather grey morning around 0915 or so. Feral Pigeon, Magpie, Blackbird, Starling, Carrion Crow and Herring Gull got the day's list off to an uninspiring start. Rather than my usual route to the ponds I chosen to take the 'low road' option.

This didn't really work out in my favour with very few birds even heard. Passing Morgan Academy I was able to add a Black Headed Gull and a Blue Tit. Woodpigeons were noted on both sides of the road further up the slope of Pitkerro Road, while Robin and Chaffinch were heard calling from inside Baxter Park. I reached the ponds around 15 minutes after leaving home. There were a few Coots and a larger group of Black Headed Gulls on the lower pond. Things were slightly busier on the top pond with a single female Goosander, numerous Tufted Ducks and Mallards and more Black Headed Gulls and Feral Pigeons around. The Mute Swans were around the other side of the island with more Mallard and Tufted Ducks.

Disappointingly there were hardly any Herring Gulls around. This wasn't great news given my target for the day. I had brought some food with me to try to tempt the gulls in from a wider area. The Black Headed Gulls soon demolished that with only 3 or 4 Herring Gulls eventually putting an appearance - none of which was the particular individual I was hoping to see. There was a metal ringed Black Headed Gull but it wouldn't settle so I failed to even see any detail on the ring. A Common Gull put in an appearance on the lower pond and I found yellow 2CA6, another regular overwintering Black Headed Gull just as I set off for Baxter Park having admitted defeat on my "American" Herring Gull.

House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Siskin, Dunnock and Blue Tit were all seen in the park but not surprisingly things were rather quiet there too. I chose not to linger any longer and instead headed for home again. A small flock of Starlings did fly over on the walk back. I got home after around 70 minutes worth of birding time. Given how the weather forecast had looked it was good to be able to get out at all and I did manage to get a few reasonable photos, so it wasn't a waste of time. I managed a grand total of 21 species of which none were new for the year or Dundee 2022 list. Maybe next time....

Black Headed Gull
Tufted Duck
Tufted Duck
Mallard
Coot
Black Headed Gull
Black Headed Gull
Black Headed Gull
Black Headed Gull
Black Headed Gull
Herring Gull
Herring Gull
Herring Gull
Herring Gull
Black Headed Gull (yellow 2CA6)
Black Headed Gull (yellow 2CA6)

Birds - Blackbird, Black Headed Gull, Blue Tit, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Common Gull, Coot, Dunnock, Goosander, Greenfinch, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Magpie, Mallard, Mute Swan, Robin, Feral Pigeon, Siskin, Starling, Tufted Duck, Woodpigeon.

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