Tuesday, 8 March 2022

0948 : In The Sun (6/3/22)

Sunday's weather was very similar to Saturday's. It was sunny with largely blue skies though there was probably slightly more cloud around but it was a foregone conclusion that the same problems that I faced on Saturday with regards finding somewhere quiet, but 'birdy' would also be a feature of Sunday. Regardless, I knew I wanted to get out and do some birding. Although any new additions to the year, or Dundee 140 list would be welcome, given the time of year none seemed particularly likely. I decided that I would head eastwards trying Baxter Park and Swannie Ponds before deciding whether to continue on to Eastern Cemetery and Stannergate with City Quay also a possible stop.

Blue Tit

I headed out around 1045. As Baxter Park was my destination I took the 'low road' rather than via Clepington Road. Feral Pigeon, Herring Gull, Carrion Crow and House Sparrow started off the day's list. Blue Tit was the only addition along Dundonald Street. Jackdaw, Starling, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Goldcrest were added on the walk up to the Pitkerro Road entrance to the park. As expected, it was quiet busy in the park itself. However, I knew that the path by Spring Grove wasn't too much utilised. With decent light and a bit of luck the photo opportunities would hopefully be reasonably good. I reached the small fenced area around 10 minutes after leaving the house.

There were Siskins providing background noise from the trees round about but there were one or two in the bushes within the grove as well. A pair of Bullfinches were eating the buds on the bush at the top end and posed nicely in the sunshine. A Dunnock skulked around below the bushes nearest to me. There were Goldfinches and Blue Tits popping down to bathe and drink. One or two Greenfinches put in appearances as did a few House Sparrows. A Coal Tit showed up but didn't linger too long. A female Blackbird poked around partially hidden by the small bush atop the Bank Vole's hideout. There were a few noisy Magpies up in the larger trees which could be heard from time to time over the general background sounds of the park and the Siskins and Goldfinches.

Chaffinches seemed to be in short supply though there were a few around. It took around 15 minutes before the first Great Tit or Robin turrned up. The Bullfinches were my main focus as they arean't too common at Spring Grove (at least they don't seem to be when I'm visiting). Around 1130 I had my first sighting of the Bank Vole but failed to get any photos as it sped across the small waterfall and into hiding. A Song Thrush hopped around below one of the bushes further back but did show out in the open eventually. A Redwing was heard from the trees but was finally spotted flying off past me a bit too quickly for me to react and grab a photo. A pair of Mistle Thrushes which landed in a tall tree off to my left were a bit of a surprise.

A dog owner and a lady whose young daughter had almost been knocked off her bike by the dog owner's two dogs and another person's dog fighting had a bit of an argument. The rather arrogant dog owner wasn't taking any responsibility for her dogs almost causing an accident or offering any sort of apology. She was also quite 'snippy' with the understandably upset mum. This sort of behaviour seems to almost be expected these days around Dundee. I'm sure there are some decent dog owners in the city, and from time to time I do meet one or two, but there seems to be plenty who seem to feel completely entitled to do whatever they like regardless of any detrimental effect on other people or to wildlife and the environment in general. My tolerance levels for this sort of dog owner are rapidly diminishing and across social media it is clear I'm not alone.

The first Sparrowhawk of the day was drawn to my attention by the alarm calls of the Tits in the grove. It took a few seconds before I saw the bird but those smaller birds that might have been on the menu were well aware of its presence. A Grey Heron passed over the park but I didn't notice it until my view was mostly blocked by branches. A Buzzard then drifted overhead upsetting the nearby gulls. A pair of Woodpigeons landed in front of me just long enough to grab a photo or two before they were off again.

Over the next two hours I chatted to a few folk who stopped to see what I was photographing. Among them was another mother and daughter who I mentioned the Bank Vole to. Seconds after they left to continue their walk, out came the wee creature. I shouted them back and gestured to them to hurry. The wee girl got back first and I was able to point out where the Bank Vole was peering up at us from below a flat rock. It didn't seem particularly phased by a trio of faces looking down at it and indeed it came even closer. Then it ran towards us and we lost sight of it. However, the wee girl announced that it had actually ran across her foot before it crossed the path behind us and into the cover of the leaves and fallen branches opposite. She was quite pleased to have seen the Vole so closely.

The temperature dropped a bit as some cloud rolled in and I weighed up my options. Another Sparrowhawk put in an appearance and a Buzzard was ushered away by the local Carrion Crows. Around 1430 I decided to head up to Swannie Ponds for a look there after watching another male Sparrowhawk circling up among a group of gulls. It was a fairly typical haul of birds that I found at Swannie Ponds. There were plenty of Black Headed Gulls on the water at both ponds, as well as a few Herring Gulls and one or two Common Gulls. A Lesser Black Backed Gull with a deformed bill was on the water at the top pond and another Lesser Black Backed showed briefly over the top pond too.

Mallards, Tufted Ducks, the Mute Swan pair, a single drake Goosander, plenty of Coots and a single Moorhen were also noted. Among the Black Headed Gulls I had brief views of 3 of the ringed Norwegian birds - green J63P, white JMK7 and the former green JN69. With lots of people coming and going there were few opportunities to see the birds on the paths. There were still plenty of photo opportunities to be had in generally good light before I called it a day around 1530 and headed for home. A singing Wren was added on the walk back taking my total number of species for the day to 36 species which isn't too bad. When I got home I actually found I'd taken over 500 photos and despite the lack of anything too unusual I had mostly enjoyed the day's rather relaxed birding.

Bullfinch
Bullfinch
Bullfinch
Siskin
Chaffinch
Goldfinch
Dunnock
Chaffinch
Bullfinch
Great Tit
Greenfinch
Blue Tit
Greenfinch
Dunnock
Siskin
Blue Tit
Song Thrush
Chaffinch
Song Thrush
Coal Tit
Dunnock
Song Thrush
Blue Tit
Blackbird
House Sparrow

Chaffinch
Robin
Woodpigeon
Woodpigeon
Woodpigeon
Mistle Thrush
Sparrowhawk
Sparrowhawk
Sparrowhawk
Sparrowhawk
Buzzard
Buzzard
Magpie
Blue Tit
Bank Vole
Bank Vole
Bank Vole
Siskin
Sparrowhawk
Sparrowhawk
Sparrowhawk
Blue Tit
Bank Vole
Bank Vole
Bank Vole
Blue Tit
Bank Vole
Coal Tit
Blackbird
House Sparrow
Siskin
Chaffinch
Sparrowhawk
Sparrowhawk
Blackbird
Carrion Crow
House Sparrow
Buzzard
Black Headed Gull (& Common Gull)
Coot
Coot
Mute Swan
Goosander
Goosander
Common Gull
Black Headed Gull (white JMK7)
Lesser Black Backed Gull
Black Headed Gull (formerly green JN69)
Lesser Black Backed Gull
Lesser Black Backed Gull
Mallard
Lesser Black Backed Gull
Mallard
Herring Gull, Black Headed Gull & Mallard
Mallard
Tufted Duck
Herring Gull
Common Gull
Black Headed Gull
Black Headed Gull
Mallard
Magpie
Lesser Black Backed Gull
Black Headed Gull (green J63P)
Black Headed Gull
Tufted Duck
Coot
Tufted Duck
Tufted Duck
Lesser Black Backed Gull

Birds - Blackbird, Black Headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Common Gull, Coot, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Goosander, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Magpie, Mallard, Mistle Thrush, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Redwing, Robin, Feral Pigeon, Siskin, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Tufted Duck, Woodpigeon, Wren.

Mammals - Bank Vole.

No comments:

Post a Comment