Trip reports

A birdwatching outing

A birdwatching outing
RSPB

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

A chilly and murky early morning and a poor forecast for the rest of the day might have put some off, but 18 members turned up for our day at Penicuik Estate, a new venue for the group.
As we headed down the estate drive the newly ploughed field next to the car park had attracted a good number of crows, rooks, jackdaws, magpies and a black headed gull. We then headed through the woods to the south-east arm of the drive where we hoped to see green woodpeckers. En route was quite quiet with only a few tits and finches seen. Unfortunately there was neither sight nor sound of the woodpeckers. As we headed towards Penicuik House 2 pied wagtails hopped around on the front lawn and there were wood pigeons in the field to the right. At the top of the embankment with the view over the River North Esk to Ramsay's monument chiffchaff were heard and goldfinches seen. As we followed the haha round towards the house a buzzard was perched on a fence post down next to the Low Pond. So far things had been relatively quiet with not many birds seen, but that changed as we headed along the path leading to the High Pond. On and to either side of a twenty yard stretch of path we saw mistle thrush, song thrush, nuthatch, goldcrest, greenfinch, collared dove, great spotted woodpecker, coal tit, great tit, blue tit, wren and siskin.
At the High Pond we stopped for lunch while it was still dry and saw Canada goose, tufted duck, grey heron, coot, moorhen and two little grebe running across the water chasing each other. Two goosander flew over and a willow warbler was heard.
After lunch, on our way down to the river, pied and grey wagtails were seen, the former nesting in the wall of the old walled garden. There were more coot, moorhen and tufted ducks on the Low Pond and at least 2 dippers were seen on the river. After walking up river then back down as far as the house a decision was made to take the shortest route back to the car park; a good decision given the downpour that hit just as we were getting there.
Although no green woodpeckers seen, a good day was had with 39 species seen. Well worth a return visit in the future.

Dave Stewart