Friday, 18 March 2022

0951 : Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head (16/3/22)

Little Egret

When I looked at the weather forecast for Wednesday on Tuesday afternoon it looked like being a pretty good day for birding. I decided that I would try and get out as early as possible and try to get to Balmossie before 0800 in the hope that the combination of the early time and the tide state (nearer low than high) would increase the chances that any birds around would be largely undisturbed, in theory increasing my chances of finally catching up with either Sanderling or Grey Plover, or preferably both. I was also hoping that I might run into my first Chiffchaff of the year, as birds have been turning up earlier than usual, over the course of the past few days.

When I looked out the window around 0515 on Wednesday morning it was raining a little. The forecast however still looked decent, though there was some rain forecast around lunchtime at Broughty Ferry. It was likely I would be on my way home by that time so I wasn't overly concerned. I headed out around 0605. It was still raining but as the weather forecast had said that it would be dry for most of the morning I didn't expect the rain to last very long. As it was a bit wet I shelved my plan to route via the Dighty Burn on the way to Balmossie. A Song Thrush was singing in the pre-dawn gloom at Baxter Park and the early time meant there were around 100 gulls on the grass in the park itself, with a few Lesser Black Backeds among them.

I decided to head for Broughty Ferry road in the hope that I might get a Chiffchaff in the trees between the road and the railway line. Two Buzzards were the main highlights along that stretch however. The walk out from the Stannergate produced Long Tailed Tits and Linnets near the end of the docks. Out on the water and along the shore there was nothing out of the ordinary. The rain continued to fall, though it was still rather light rain. Near the sailing club sheds my ears picked out the distinctive call of a Chiffchaff from the northern side of the railway line. Even if I didn't manage to get the waders I was hoping for on the list, the Chiffchaff was a new addition for the 2022 Dundee 140 list.

I made it to Balmossie around 0730 though there were at least 2 dog walkers on the beach before I got there, both well out by the water's edge. Bar Tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Dunlin and Turnstone were all noted but there was no sign of any Grey Plover or Sanderling. There were some Grey Seals out on a sandbank in the river. Mallard, Wigeon, Eider and a couple of Goldeneye were on the water. I had taken my small scope with me and used that to scan further afield. I could see some distant swans off Monifieth. As they came closer to the mouth of the burn it became apparent that they were a mixed flock of 4 Mute Swans and 13 Whooper Swans. I checked through the gulls but other than a few Lesser Black Backeds and Great Black Backeds they were the expected trio of species.

Pied Wagtail
Carrion Crow
Grey Wagtail

The rain finally stopped. A Scandinavian Rock Pipit showed nicely on the shore below where I was watching from. There were a couple of Pied Wagtails on the beach and a Grey Wagtail also dropped in. A slightly unexpected surprise was a Little Egret in one of the larger pools a little to the west of the burn. A second Egret appeared beside it. Although I'd seen Little Egret at Montrose early in January it was another new bird for my Dundee 140 list (number 91). A single Ringed Plover put in an appearance. Around 1000 the rain began to fall again. I decided that I should head for home as heavy rain was now showing as likely at 1100. I added a Magpie further along the track on the way to the Nature Reserve. The swan flock was also heading upriver at a similar pace to myself on foot though as I had to detour away from the river I did lose sight of them.

Little Egret
(Scandinavian) Rock Pipit
Whooper Swan
Bar Tailed Godwit

Great Tit, Wren and Bullfinch were added at the small nature reserve. A Siskin flew over near the Castle Green playpark and a pair of Collared Doves were noted on a roof. It was a rather wet walk home from there with little to see other than a few Red Breasted Mergansers, Eiders and Cormorants out on the river. A brief stop at the Stannergate added a Redwing feeding alongside a Song Thrush on the grass near the storage tank. The rain had become a little heavier by this time and I decided against routing via Eastern Cemetery and Swannie Ponds even though I would be able to add a few more species to the list. I eventually arrived home rather wet having recorded a total of 49 species of which 2 were new for my Dundee 140 list (and one, in bold, was new for the year-list). Despite the weather and the lack of the 2 wader species I'd hoped to see it had proved to be a decent enough morning's birding.

Mute Swan

Birds - Bar Tailed Godwit, Blackbird, Black Headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Collared Dove, Common Gull, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Eider, Goldeneye, Goldfinch, Great Black Backed Gull, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Linnet, Little Egret, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pied Wagtail, Red Breasted Merganser, Redshank, Redwing, Ringed Plover, Robin, Feral Pigeon, Rock Pipit, Siskin, Song Thrush, Starling, Turnstone, Whooper Swan, Wigeon, Woodpigeon, Wren.

Mammals - Grey Seal, Rabbit.

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