Saturday, 26 February 2022

0943 : Wherever I May Roam (26/2/22)

Unlike the previous Saturday, the weather was back to grey and windy to start off this weekend. With a few days off work to come in the first half of next week I wanted to get out birding regardless of the rather unfavourable conditions. I couldn't quite decide on where to go but ruled out the longer walks to Riverside Nature Park or Balmossie. That left some of the birding locations a little closer to home. I decided that I would work my way around some of these until either I lost interest, the weather deterred me from going any further or I exhausted them all. I had a few possible routes in mind but with no real preference as to which I decided on.

Dunnock

I headed out around 0950. I had settled on Trottick Ponds via Caird Park first. Herring Gull, Starling, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, a skein of Pink Footed Geese heading northwards, Dunnock and Magpie got things going. A Collared Dove flew up and landed on a tenement block chimney on Arklay Street, a Blackbird flew across the road in front of me and a Blue Tit called from the bushes surrounding some feeders in a front garden near the top end of the street. Chaffinch and Woodpigeon were both seen on Graham Street before I reached Caird Park.

There were decent amounts of birds around but the flat light made those in the treetops almost silhouettes. I did still manage to add Goldcrest, Wren, Siskin, Song Thrush and Robin before I arrived at the ponds where Mallard and Moorhen were noted and Great Tit shortly after. Goldfinches were heard but not seen. I headed down to the Dighty Burn to check for Kingfisher by the Mill O'Mains weir but with the water levels relatively high it wasn't unexpected that there was no sign of one. I did find a metal ringed Dipper stood on a stone upstream from where the Gelly Burn joins the Dighty though.

It didn't take too long to reach Trottick Ponds where Long Tailed Tit and Feral Pigeon both made it onto the list as I entered the small nature reserve. A few Siskins, Chaffinches and a pair of Bullfinch were in a tree by the burn. The usual mix of species were on the ponds - Mallard, Tufted Duck, Black Headed Gull, Moorhen and Coot. There was also a single Common Gull in with the Black Headeds but there were no Goosander around. I checked the trees around the island for Kingfisher but once again, there was no sign of one. I continued round to check the reedy area for Snipe.

I scanned from the path with the thermal imager finding three birds in the centre. Unfortunately these were Woodpigeons. I moved round for a different angle and spotted a bird across the far side. I scanned with the binoculars and took a photo to try to 'see' the bird properly to ascertain whether or not it was a Snipe, but couldn't see any hint of the bird, except when using the thermal imager. I slowly worked my way round in the direction of the bird scanning at every step or two. Eventually 2 Snipe broke cover and flew off together, even though I was a good distance away from where they had been.

I wandered back towards the ponds and spotted a Sparrowhawk in a stoop. A minute or two, a Sparrowhawk appeared overhead from the north then disappeared behind the trees. I heard a Curlew calling and spotted a pair heading west. A Grey Heron was roosting on the strip of land between the two ponds. A Coal Tit was with the Blue Tits, Chaffinches and Siskins in the bushes and trees behind the houses near the bridge into the park. A Grey Wagtail flew past me towards the ponds as I was about to cross the burn. A Buzzard was seen circling over the bottom end of the golf course opposite.

I continued back along the old road then up through Caird Park but birds were in relatively short supply, though a distant skein of geese were seen off to the west. I could hear a small flock of Siskins in the trees by the practice strip at the 18 hole golf course and as I scanned for those a pair of larger birds arrived in a tree nearby. These turned out to be a pair of Jays and they weren't bothered by my presence just across the other side of the road. I continued up the hill and crossed the Kingsway before heading up towards Swannie Ponds via the scrubby area at Mains Terrace.

Swannie Ponds added Goosander to the list for the day as well as Greenfinch. There were plenty of Black Headed Gulls around and I managed to find 5 ringed birds among them, including a new one for me there - a Norwegian bird - White J0214. The others were all regular wintering birds - Norwegian birds - White JMK7, Green J63P, and 6235280 (formerly Green JN69 but now missing the plastic ring) and Scottish ringed bird - Yellow 2XLD. There were a few Common Gulls around as well as the expected Coots, Mallards, Mute Swans and Tufted Ducks. I chatted to a student teacher who was trying to feed the ducks and swans but the gulls were making things rather difficult for her.

Baxter Park was my next stop and Spring Grove proved to be quite productive - though the only thing new there was the Bank Vole which eventually gave me good views rather than the usual fleeting glimpses. Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Dunnock, Blackbird, Robin, Woodpigeon, Siskin, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit and a pair of squabbling Carrion Crows kept me occupied for a while. The cold wind however was beginning to nip at my fingers and thoughts of going home rather than continuing on to Eastern Cemetry, Stannergate and City Quay began to appear rather persuasive. At around 1330 I decided to call it a day and headed homewards.

I ended the day's birding having noted a total of 41 species of bird as well as the Bank Vole. Despite the windy and grey conditions I was still able to get some decent photos and it is always good to find a new ringed bird at the Swannie Ponds. I suspect this bird will be one ringed in the past few years as the ring has 5 characters rather than the previous 4. It will be interesting to see if it too becomes a regular wintering bird or if it was just passing through on the way back to Norway. As ever, time will tell.

Mute Swan, Tufted Duck & Black Headed Gull
Robin
Bullfinch
Jackdaw
Song Thrush
Song Thrush
Snipe
Sparrowhawk
Sparrowhawk
Curlew
Grey Heron
Moorhen
Coot
Siskin
Blue Tit
Siskin
Buzzard
Buzzard
Buzzard
Dipper
Pink Footed Goose
Jay
Jay
Goosander
Black Headed Gull (white JMK7) & Feral Pigeon
Coot
Coot
Goosander
Goosander
Black Headed Gull & Herring Gull
Black Headed Gull
Herring Gull
Herring Gull
Black Headed Gull (Green J63P)
Black Headed Gull (White J0214)
Black Headed Gull (White J0214 & Yellow 2XLD)
Black Headed Gull (White JMK7)
Black Headed Gull (formerly Green JN69 - metal 6235280)
Carrion Crow
Chaffinch
Siskin
Dunnock
Robin
Chaffinch
Bank Vole
Bank Vole
Bank Vole
Bank Vole
Great Tit
Blackbird
Blackbird
Blackbird
Coal Tit

Birds - Blackbird, Black Headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Collared Dove, Common Gull, Coot, Curlew, Dipper, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Goosander, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Jay, Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Pink Footed Goose, Robin, Feral Pigeon, Siskin, Snipe, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Tufted Duck, Woodpigeon, Wren.

Mammals - Bank Vole.

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