Thursday, 24 March 2022

0953 : Still Seeking Shelduck... (20/3/22)


Having had an enjoyable, and productive, day out to Fife with Ian on Saturday, I was keen to get to Riverside Nature Park on Sunday. My main targets there would be Lapwing and Shelduck, with an outside chance of maybe a Little Gull passing through. Shelduck in particular has eluded me so far in Dundee in 2022 though they have been around. With high tide a bit later in the afternoon there would be a decent chance of finally getting that particular species on my Dundee 140 list. I had intended on an early start but Saturday's early start meant that I needed some extra sleep before getting up and out.

I finally headed out around 1035. Things were relatively quiet on the walk to Balgay Park. I added Buzzard as I wandered along Pitfour Street and another as I neared Balgay Hill. Chiffchaff and Long Tailed Tit were noted as I walked up through the park. Movement over the wall at Royal Victoria Hospital caught my eye and I hurried over. It was one of the park's Nuthatches and I spent the next while photographing the bird as it foraged around on the trunks of trees and the hospital boundary wall. I added Sparrowhawk, Bullfinch and Stock Dove before I eventually moved on again over an hour after I'd reached the park. A Treecreeper was seen on a tree by the footbridge at the eastern end of Ninewells Hospital grounds and a pair of Bullfinches were photographed nearby. Things were rather quiet at the feeders in the Community Garden behind the hospital so I chose not to linger too long there.

Long Tailed Tit
Grey Squirrel

I reached Riverside Nature Park at 1300. The sun was already making things awkward for seeing the birds in the bay against the light. There was a single Mute Swan in the burn and the usual wader species (Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank and Dunlin) were all noted. A Chiffchaff sang from the trees by the hide. There were still some Greylag Geese across the far side of the bay. After 20 minutes or so at the hide I decided to head into the park as the tide still had a bit to go before it would bring the majority of birds into view from the hide. Bullfinch, Yellowhammer, Song Thrush and Stock Dove were noted round by the picnic tables. Despite plenty of scanning over the bay I failed to find any Lapwings but I did succeed in adding Shelduck to the 2020 Dundee 140 list with 8 of the birds seen in the bay.


There seemed to be plenty of Skylarks around at the hill and after spending some time back at the hide again I wandered up over the hill, getting some good close views of some of the birds that will hopefully manage to breed in the park (the 'keep to the paths/keep your dogs on a lead' signs have yet to be put up this Spring). There were a few Teal and Moorhens at the Lochan along with a few Oystercatchers and a Lesser Black Backed Gull. A Rook flew over and a female Reed Bunting took my total at the park to 39 species before I called it a day and headed homewards again, via Balgay once more.

Reed Bunting

Jay and Great Spotted Woodpecker were both heard at the hill but things had quietened down a lot compared to the morning. One final addition before I arrived home was Collared Dove which took my total outwith the park to 32 species and a combined total for the day of  51 species. The main highlight of the day's birding was the Nuthatch showing so well. Obviously managing to add Shelduck (number 92)at last was also a big plus and another step closer to the year's target figure. Hopefully the Summer migrant arrivals will start to pick up pace very soon taking me past the 100 mark. Although it won't be easy to reach the 140 I'm hopeful that I will certainly run the figure close if I don't quite make it. Even managing to beat last year's 135 figure will be a good outcome.
Carrion Crow

Birds (outwith Riverside Nature Park) - Blackbird, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Collared Dove, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Jay, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Nuthatch, Oystercatcher, Robin, Feral Pigeon, Siskin, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stock Dove, Treecreeper, Woodpigeon, Wren.

Mammals - Grey Squirrel.

Birds (Riverside Nature Park) - Blackbird, Black Headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Common Gull, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, Jackdaw, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pied Wagtail, Redshank, Reed Bunting, Robin, Feral Pigeon, Rook, Shelduck, Skylark, Song Thrush, Stock Dove, Teal, Woodpigeon, Wren, Yellowhammer.

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