Wednesday, 2 March 2022

0945 : Lesson Learnt (28/2/22)

My intention on Monday was to get up early and walk to Riverside Nature Park. Unfortunately, though somewhat predictably, my legs hurt. Having walked just marginally less than 15 miles on Sunday it was a thought to add somewhere around another 10 miles. On top of that, heavy rain was forecast to arrive around 1100. A lack of shelter at the nature park does make things slightly awkward also in inclement weather. As I was on holiday from work I did want to get out birding somewhere but I chose to wait until the threat of rain had passed. Having previously considered a visit to Camperdown Park a few times but chosen to go elsewhere I decided that with no better options I would head in that direction and see how my legs felt.

Robin

I headed out into what was a rather cold and windy day though there were a few promising looking patches of blue sky around too. Unfortunately these soon disappeared. Feral Pigeon, Herring Gull and Carrion Crow got the day's list started. The House Sparrows on Neish Street noisily announced their presence as I passed. Woodpigeon, Starling, Magpie, Goldfinch and Jackdaw joined the others on the list as I passed Dundee FC's Dens Park stadium. I messaged Lainy to see if the Little and Great Crested Grebes had returned to Clatto reservoir yet as if they had then Clatto would be a preferable choice. I also considered heading for the top of Dundee Law and just sitting and watching what, if anything, flew past. Afternoon outside of migration times was unlikely (though not impossible) to be productive. Lainy got back to me with negative news on the grebes, so Camperdown it was.

I added Robin and Blue Tit on my walk along Clepington Road. My only other addition before reaching Camperdown Park was a solitary Pied Wagtail on Dunsinane Avenue. There wasn't a huge amount of anything happening along the driveway into the park though I did stop to photograph a pair of Roe Deer feeding on the other side of the road. A Great Spotted Woodpecker called loudly from one of the trees beside me and a Great Tit was noted. I decided to check out the northern end of the park which I hoped would be relatively quiet from the seemingly omnipresent dog walkers and their charges. Given the time of day things were very quiet among the trees with only a few birds calling or seen. Wren, Song Thrush, Goldcrest, Long Tailed Tit and Coal Tit made for rather slim pickings as I wandered up to the top end of the park.

Movement in behind some rhododendron bushes on the way back down the western side turned out to be a "Wallcreeper". Well, actually a Treecreeper prospecting on the stone wall for any morsel it could find, shielded entirely from the effects of the wind. Unfortunately, the view and thus the ability to get a clear enough window to grab a photo or two was rather limited so I didn't manage to document the sighting in photo form. I stopped at the first opening in the wall and spotted a cock Pheasant in the field opposite. A little further on the air above the trees was suddenly full of Woodpigeons with large numbers landing in the treetops by the former golf course fairways having been flushed from one of the nearby fields - where what sounded like gunshots had echoed earlier. I checked the now rather sorry looking duck pond where a few pairs of fed-up looking Mallards were the only signs of life.

Moving on downhill towards the southern end of the park things felt even quieter than previously. Although I hadn't been expecting lots of birds I had hoped for slightly better than what I was experiencing. From in below the trees at the southern end I spotted a small bird flitting around in the treetops across the former fairway. I decided to walk along the grass instead of in below the trees. I failed to get onto the bird before it flew off again away from me. A few gulls including a Black Headed Gull wheeled around briefly overhead. A Siskin called and a few smaller birds were seen in flight as a Buzzard cleared the trees to the north. This gave decent views for the next few minutes as it glided around over the wooded area between a few of the fairways. A pair of Blue Tits and a flyover Great Spotted Woodpecker were noted near the netrance to the wildlife park.

I added Common Gull as I crossed the large grassy expanse towards the driveway. there were also a few Woodpigeons, Black Headed Gulls and Carrion Crows on the grass. As I neared the trees again two large Labrador dogs, one black and one golden ran towards me, the golden one barking increasingly aggresively at me. The owner somehow oblivious to this increase in noise walked on up the hill. I shouted at him to get his dogs under control. I then had to try again with some "additional words" for emphasis before he actually started shouting for his dogs to return to him. The dogs eventually wandered back to him after about 30 seconds of repeated shouting while he stood in one spot. There was nothing to stop him hurrying over to get the dogs but he chose not to. He did put the dogs on their leads for the short walk back to the car park and I headed for the exit in an even more fed-up mood than I had been.

I decided to check the flock of large gulls roosting in behind a fence where buildings have been demolished at the start of Dunsinane Avenue and found a Lesser Black Backed Gull among them. Despite it being the best bird of the day, I couldn't be bothered to take out the camera for a photo. The Pied Wagtail showed again a bit further on but the walk home was similarly disappointing to the walk to the park. One slightly brighter spot was a Sparrowhawk which passed over near Wedderburn Street. What was the first Blackbird of the day was added before I finally made it home, rather more fed-up than I had been earlier. Not the greatest few hours birding with just 29 species seen or heard but I will know for sure not to bother visiting Camperdown on windy and cold afternoons in future.

Roe Deer
Roe Deer
Roe Deer
Carrion Crow
Woodpigeon
Woodpigeon
Pheasant
Buzzard
Buzzard
Buzzard
Buzzard
Buzzard
Buzzard
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Blue Tit
Woodpigeon
Common Gull
Common Gull
Common Gull
Black Headed Gull
Black Headed Gull
Black Headed Gull
Common Gull
Common Gull
Song Thrush
Robin

Birds - Blackbird, Black Headed Gull, Blue Tit, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Coal Tit, Common Gull, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Feral Pigeon, Siskin, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Treecreeper, Woodpigeon, Wren.

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