Trip reports


Mike Langman (

Sunday, 27 February 2011

A select band of five including our leader Trevor Donaldson met at the Quarrymill Woodland Car Park on a beautiful 'spring like' morning to make the annual pilgrimage to seek out the Hawfinches of Scone Palace. In the area where we met we began our list with Great, Blue & Coal Tit, Chaffinch and Dunnock plus overflying Wood Pigeon and Carrion Crow.

Soon we were on our way towards the grounds of Scone Palace stopping initially near a small pond where we saw a group of Long tailed Tits moving through the trees and on the pond we saw Mallard, Moorhen and a Song Thrush flew past. We then proceeded towards the main policies of Scone and eventually saw an elusive Goldfinch which was heard but not seen for some time, a Cormorant was also spotted at distance flying along the River Tay.

Continuing towards the Palace we moved uphill to a paddock area where we first began to hear, with Trevor's guidance, the distinctive calls of Hawfinch but none were sighted. We did, however, add Pheasant, Jackdaw and Feral Pigeon to the list as we reached the Palace. As we then walked westwards along a driveway the calls of Hawfinch were all around and we began to see small flocks moving across the tree tops and some reasonably good views were achieved. In addition we saw two female Great spotted Woodpeckers high on a tree and they were very active and lots of 'drumming' could be heard.

As we progressed through the area we saw Robin and Rook and at one point a Peregrine Falcon swooped across the sky below a circling Buzzard. Moving then through the Arboretum we had fine views of a male Bullfinch before making our way back towards the Palace via the Friars Den where a wonderful display of snowdrops could be seen.

After a brief visit to the café for pre-lunch coffee or soup we made our way back through the grounds often hearing and sometimes seeing Hawfinches but eventually we found a place where a Hawfinch appeared to be guarding a possible nest site and as it remained static for some time we had a great opportunity to view and video it. In addition we saw Goldcrest, Treecreeper and a Blackbird around the area.

Returning to our cars we drove down to the River Tay which was quite full with evidence of a recent spate. During lunch we saw Common, Black headed & Herring Gull, Oystercatcher, Curlew plus a pair of Goosander when we had a brief look higher up the river.

By this time it was mid afternoon and we set off to our second venue at Loch of Kinnordy adding a Yellowhammer en route. We arrived at the Reserve around 4pm and quickly visited two hides and between them added Whooper & Mute Swan, Teal, Tufted Duck, Lapwing, Coot, Goldeneye, Wigeon, Greylag Goose, Starling and Reed Bunting. During our visit to the second hide it began to rain but it soon stopped and we returned to our cars for the journey homewards.

In total we saw 44 species and had some wonderful views of Hawfinch and so mission accomplished!! Thanks to Trevor for his leadership and bird call knowledge.

Eric Melrose