Trip reports

An RSPB Outing

An RSPB Outing
Elspeth Sweeney

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

It was an autumnal, wet morning, and we were hoping to see some of the migrating species on the Forth, but the prolonged squalls made the woodland a better choice than the shoreline. However, sitting on the slipway just before the Dalmeny Estate gate was a flock of sandwich terns, and we also saw cormorant, shag, grey heron, eider and oystercatcher before turning our attention to the trees. It was the Lodge chimney pot however that gave us excellent and repeated views of nuthatch, while in the bushes we saw blue and great tit, blackbird, robin and chaffinch. Investigating the plant pots was dunnock, and woodpigeon were active overhead.
The stubble field held at least 7 pheasant, plus a group of 6 young posing on a bale. This would have made an amazing photograph - if only we had remembered a camera! A buzzard was heard overhead, but the hedge rows were very quiet, the birds obviously choosing to hunker down and sit out the rain. On a quick detour to the beach we noted carrion crows, black-headed gulls and herring gulls investigating the seaweed. Moving back to the main path Margaret and I had an excellent view of a male bullfinch on the track ahead of us. Passing the gap behind the Hound Point terminal we watched a number of very active coal tits, and out on the water, large groups of eider. When we reached the Point the weather improved, and it was pleasant enough to have lunch and sea-watch. A flock of 56 sandwich tern were on the sand, along with bar-tailed godwit, curlew, common, lesser and great black-backed gulls. The only other duck seen was a solitary shelduck. The first skua to be spotted was an arctic, followed shortly by a great skua. Groups of barn swallows were seen, and a meadow pipit. The return walk added wren to our list, which although not long, included good sightings of 2 species of skua, large numbers of sandwich tern, and wonderful views of perched nuthatch. We all agreed that, sadly, it was probably time to look out the winter birding gear!
Val Donaldson