Trip reports

Group Outing

Cuckoo perched in tree

Wednesday, 11 June 2014


On a lovely warm Wednesday in June, 20 people met up at Flotterstone Car park - including two American visitors and their Scottish cousin.

It was disappointingly quiet at first and not many birds were singing, but once at the open fields birds started appearing, with crows and noisy rooks in the trees seen and a black cap heard but not seen, which was to be the only one of the day. A number of robins and wrens were strident in their songs, while usually remaining hidden in the bushes. A whitethroat popped up from a gorse bush and was then spotted at its nest on the ground. Nearby, a linnet created a debate, sitting on top of a gorse bush in silhouette, but was eventually identified.

Suddenly a vole ran across the road and hid in the grass beside my feet. A blackie singing heartily in the trees was in competition with a song thrush on a nearby fence. A reed bunting was spotted on the wires while blue, great and coal tits were flitting between the branches. Goldcrests were found in the trees beside the reservoir and a pair of greylag geese with a brood of 6 goslings were feeding at the water's edge. A juvenile stonechat hiding low in a bush was accompanied by a watchful adult female in an adjacent shrub. The previous week I had heard, but not seen cuckoos, but today we were in luck - near Logan farm not one but two cuckoos were perched on the telephone wires with a third heard nearby and later seen. They also entertained us as we ate lunch - couldn't ask for more! Mistle thrushes also enjoyed balancing on the wires in the breeze and later a solitary female mallard on the river. A kestrel hovering above the hill remained perfectly central in my scope without wavering an inch, a beautiful sight.

Willow warbler and chiffchaff were plentiful and swallows, swifts and house martins continually swooped above our heads. We found a common sandpiper calling at the side of the loch and on our return journey it was perching on a log, in a perfect pose, if only I had my camera.

Dippers and grey wagtail seemed to be elusive, but eventually appeared, then several juvenile dippers were seen looking slightly unsteady landing on stones further upstream. After lunch it was worth venturing as far as Loganlea as we saw a siskin on the telephone wire. A greater spotted woodpecker was seen briefly by a few of the group on our way back downhill.

Strangely, the yellowhammer, usually found on the gorse bushes, was neither seen nor heard, but a good outing and we saw 43 species.

Linda Norrie