Thursday, 19 May 2022

0980 : Just One Of Those Days... (17/5/22)


Rain stopped play on Monday but winds from the east hinted at the possibility of Tuesday perhaps delivering some migrants. Dundee unfortunately is more or less in the wrong place for getting many of those. However, as I'm still avoiding public transport and trying to concentrate on adding to my Dundee 140 list, Dundee it would have to be. I had 3 options - head up the Law in the hope that some migrants might fly past, head to Riverside Nature Park which does sometimes see the odd migrant turn up though it is at the wrong end of the city for easterlies delivering, or to head for Broughty Ferry and Balmossie really early, before the dog walkers were even out of their bed, let alone wandering around disturbing the birds.

I settled on the third option, and to speed up things I decided to use one of the rental E-bikes that are situated in various places around the city. I figured that by using one of these I could shave quite a considerable amount of time off my journey to Broughty Ferry. There are bikes situated 5 minutes or so along the road from me, and I could finish my rental just the other side of Broughty Castle where there is another recharging site. To use the bike I had to sign up for an account which I managed to do on Monday night. It is a long time since I last rode a bike, but I was hoping that it was quite literally like riding the proverbial bike - something you never forget how to do. My intention was to be out for around 0500 but a lack of sleep pushed my departure back till after 0635.

I hurried along to get a bike. The weather was a bit misty, which did suggest that any migrants would stay put, which was a bonus. To hire a bike I needed to activate bluetooth on my phone, which is something I usually have turned off, but I did so. However, I found I couldn't get it to connect. This was frustrating. I was picking up passing bluetooth connections from cars but wasn't getting anything at all from the cycle hub. I figured that there was a chance there was something within my settings on the phone that was causing the problem but failed to find anything obvious. I decided I would try another cycle hub. The closest one that would be useful for my trip to Broughty Ferry was at the V&A so I set off for there. House Martin and Lesser Black Backed Gull were seen while I tried to get a connection.

The walk to the V&A added a few more species including Linnet and Pied Wagtail. However, I had the same outcome with regards getting the bluetooth to connect. By this time I'd wasted around an hour of birding time, and the dog walkers were likely to be beginning to appear at Broughty Ferry. I decided to cut my losses and to head for Riverside Nature Park instead. I passed the 'big Tesco' and could see a couple of birds perched on one of the neaby outflow pipes. A Herring Gull and a Ringed Plover. I decided to get a photo of the Plover. Out came the camera. It wouldn't turn on. I quickly realised that there was no battery in the camera. As I was hoping to find migrants wherever I ended up I needed a working camera. I decided I might as well head home and get a battery before heading out again.

Willow Warbler, Song Thrush, Blackcap, Oystercatcher and Swift were all noted on the walk home. I was really frustrated and annoyed at my own part in the morning's misfortunes. I arrived home around 0830 having in effect walked 5 miles for very little return on my efforts. I put my phone back on charge for a while (the bluetooth efforts having run it down further than it would normally be). I googled what might be the issue and was able to fix the problem (I hoped). I was correct that it was something hidden away somewhere in the menus. I debated not going back out but the thought I might miss something good made my mind up for me. I headed out again around 0915.

Riverside Nature Park was my destination, though my route was my more usual one. Lesser Black Backed Gull, Swift, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Siskin, Blackcap and Buzzard were noted on the walk to get there. By the time I arrived at the park I had already walked around 10 miles. I wasn't in the best of moods, my legs were heavy and I really needed the birding to be good at the park. I set myself a target of 50 species though given my luck already, I wasn't confident I'd get anywhere close. I quickly racked up a number of species including Song Thrush, Blackcap, Swift, Long Tailed Tit, Skylark, Chiffchaff and Swallow. Reed Bunting was seen in front of Buzzard Wood. An Orange Tip butterfly flew past. A Small Tortoiseshell butterfly was also seen a little further on.

A Buzzard was seen to the north as I headed for the Lochan. A pair of Bullfinches flew past me and perched up on the hedge in the sunshine. Moorhen and Mallard were seen at the Lochan. Continuing on towards the bay I added a Yellowhammer and Whitethroat before I realised there was an Osprey circling up above the bay, with a large flatfish in its talons. A Peacock butterfly fluttered past as I scanned the bay and out towards the river. There were very few waders except a handful of Oystercatchers. There were Herring Gulls and Lesser Black Backed Gulls at the burn. I managed to find a couple of Common Gull and a few Black Headeds too. There were a number of Shelduck out on the mud. I thought I had more well out on the river but they turned out ot be drake Goosanders.

I spotted a few Grey Herons and a pair of Mute Swans were seen in the channel of the burn. A pair of Cormorant stood wings outstretched by the edge of the mud. High above a few House Martins were hawking for insects. A Green Veined White butterfly was seen fluttering around in front of the picnic tables. Unfortunately, despite covering the rest of the park I struggled to find anything else and my list within the park stalled at just 42 species. The sun had by this time come out and it was getting rather warm. I decided I would head in the direction of home. I would see if I could get the bike connection to work. I reached the hire cycles by the University playing fields and managed to get the bluetooth to connect without any problems. I released the bike and got on. There were no instructions on what any of the buttons or switches that you don't see on a 'normal' bike were for, either on the bike, the recharging point, or even the website.

I set off along the cycle path towards the V&A. The bike was very uncomfortable - both to sit on and to operate and my lack of recent experience on a bike made for a frustrating and rather awkward experience, with some rather wobbly moments. I had considered continuing out to Broughty Ferry but the bike itself deterred me from doing so. I added Long Tailed Tits and Grey Wagtail on the walk home which took me to 50 species for the day. As it happened there were indeed some migrants around with a Bluethroat (one of my 'most-wanted' species) turning up at Easthaven and being twitched by birders from outwith Angus, including Ian and Matt. Lainy also managed to catch up with it. I suspect that if I'd gone for it on Tuesday the bird would have flown off northwards a minute or so before I arrived. It was definitely that sort of day.....

Reed Bunting
Grey Heron
Small Tortoiseshell
Orange Tip
Large White
Carrion Crow
Feral Pigeon

Birds (outwith Riverside Nature Park) - Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Wagtail, Herring Gull, House Martin, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Linnet, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Oystercatcher, Pied Wagtail, Ringed Plover, Robin, Feral Pigeon, Siskin, Song Thrush, Starling, Swift, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren.

Mammals (outwith Riverside Nature Park) - Rabbit.

Birds (at Riverside Nature Park) - Blackbird, Blackcap, Black Headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Common Gull, Cormorant, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Goosander, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Herring Gull, House Martin, Jackdaw, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Linnet, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Osprey, Oystercatcher, Reed Bunting, Robin, Feral Pigeon, Shelduck, Skylark, Song Thrush, Swallow, Swift, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren, Yellowhammer.

Butterflies (at Riverside Nature Park) - Green Veined White, Orange Tip, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell.

Mammals (at Riverside Nature Park) - Rabbit.

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