Tuesday, 29 March 2022

0955 : Spring And A Surprise? (25/3/22)

Stock Dove

With FedEx managing to screw up the delivery of my parcel on Wednesday I changed my planned final annual leave day off work from Monday to Friday. However, FedEx's ineptitude continued into Thursday and despite me attempting to cancel the delivery they delivered it anyway when I wasn't in. Thankfully, it was still outside my front door when I got home which meant that I had Friday free to go birding. Keith had informed me he'd had an Osprey and a Greenshank from Riverside Nature Park on Thursday so my mind was easily made up. I would head for the park, but first I would have another attempt at Spring vis-migging from the Law.

I headed out a few minutes before 0600 and set off for the Law. The birds I saw and heard on the way there were broadly similar to those I would expect on my walk to work with only a heard-only Meadow Pipit being of any real note. It was also a positive sign that I might see a bit more movement than I had on Wednesday. A Chiffchaff once again provided some background noise as I listened and scanned around looking for birds passing the top of the hill. The bulk of the birds seen were Meadow Pipits (15 noted) and Woodpigeon (27), though I did also see 10 Stock Doves in total, and 3 Siskins. Around 200 Pink Footed Geese were seen moving out to the northwest. A Sparrowhawk put in a brief appearance as well around 0630.


Knowing the weather was to be warmer later in the day I had compromised on what I'd chosen to wear meaning I felt the cold more at the top of the hill than I really wanted to. This meant that I called it a morning after just 90 minutes of watching again. I headed for Balgay Hill where I added Bullfinch before I happened upon a pair of Nuthatches to the east of the Observatory. I spent some time watching them and getting some more photos. I eventually moved on again and not far across the bridge I met a trio of dog walkers who happened to have just been talking about the Nuthatches. As they were telling me, I heard one calling and managed to let them see the bird. As I was photographing this bird I could hear another Nuthatch calling from not too far away. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming and a Jay called loudly before I set off for my next stop, at Ninewells Arboretum.


It was around 0900 when I arrived at the community garden and as I headed in I heard a Bullfinch calling. I stopped and took a few steps back to look for the bird I'd heard. Something above me caught my eye and I was surprised when I looked up to see a Red Kite directly overhead. A nice addition to my Dundee 140 list (number 95) and only my 3rd from the city following on from 2 last year, both of which looked like they would also have been in the same general area. This suggest at least the possibility of a single bird perhaps out to the west of the city, though as Red Kites are wanderers it could also have quite easily been 3 different individuals involved. I messaged Keith and Lainy to let them both know.

Red Kite

Keith replied to say he was at Riverside but as he was at the hide he hadn't seen the Kite. I met him at the hide a few minutes later. Scanning from the hide I started to build a list for the park visit. A slight surprise was a flypast Collared Dove but otherwise it was fairly standard fayre in and over the bay. We headed into the park noting Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting on the walk. Keith mentioned that he'd seen Newts in one of the small ponds and we went for a look. We had lots of good views of both male and female Smooth Newts coming to the surface for a gulp of air before diving back to the bottom as well as a number of  Common Toads. When Keith headed off I decided to try to get some decent photos of the amphibians and did better than expected.

Pink Footed Goose

Smooth Newt
Common Toad

When I eventually continued my wanders around the park I added Linnet, Meadow Pipit, Stock Dove, Redwing and Sparrowhawk and a number of other species. Butterflies also began to appear as the temperature crept higher with Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell both noted. Bullfinch and Long Tailed Tit were seen before I decided that I'd exhausted the possibilities around 1400. A 'White' butterfly was seen near the steps up to Riverside Drive at the road bridge over the railway and a Peacock was added nearby.  Despite routing homewards via Balgay and the Law I failed to add anything new for the day on the way. I finished the day's birding around 1600 having noted a total of 50 species - 43 at the park and 33 outwith, 1 of which was a year-tick (in bold). In addition I'd seen 2 species of amphibian, 3 of butterfly and 2 of mammals. All in all a better than expected late March day in (mostly) warm sunshine.

Peacock Butterflies
Carrion Crow & Buzzard
Reed Bunting
Pied Wagtail

Birds (outwith Riverside Nature Park) - Blackbird, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Jay, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Meadow Pipit, Nuthatch, Oystercatcher, Pink Footed Goose, Red Kite, Robin, Feral Pigeon, Siskin, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Wren.

Butterflies (outwith Riverside Nature Park) - Peacock, White sp. .

Birds (at Riverside Nature Park) - Blackbird, Black Headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Collared Dove, Common Gull, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Herring Gull, Jackdaw, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Linnet, Long Tailed Tit, Mallard, Magpie, Meadow Pipit, Oystercatcher, Pied Wagtail, Pink Footed Goose, Redshank, Redwing, Reed Bunting, Robin, Feral Pigeon, Shelduck, Skylark, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stock Dove, Teal, Woodpigeon, Wren, Yellowhammer.

Amphibians (at Riverside Nature Park) - Common Toad, Smooth Newt.

Butterflies (at Riverside Nature Park) - Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell.

Mammals (at Riverside Nature Park) - Grey Seal, Rabbit.

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