Trip reports

Lammermuir Circuit

Lammermuir Circuit
Dave Stewart

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

It was a cool, bright day for our circuit, and the variety of habitats gave us a group total of 61 species seen.

In Gifford, we started with a walk round the Bleacher Field. The usual suspects of blackbird, jackdaw, house sparrow, chaffinch and pied wagtail were in The Square, with wren, siskin and five songthrushes on The Green. A barn swallow was swooping over the field, and in the trees by the river we saw goldcrest, great-, coal- and blue-tits, with a robin accompanying us. We could hear blackcaps singing, and spotted a pair in the undergrowth at the water's edge. A goldfinch and a greenfinch were side by side on the verge, and looking up to trace the nuthatch call, we found one plastering the entrance to its nest hole with mud. A great spotted woodpecker flew down the avenue of trees and woodpigeon and collared dove completed our sightings before we moved on to the moor.

At our first stopping point five red-legged partridge disappeared into the reeds, but the skylarks and meadow pipits were not so shy. Red grouse and pheasant were soon spotted, and a common buzzard and snipe were flying nearby. Lapwing, curlew, a flock of starling, and five brown hares were also seen here.

En route to Fasney Cottage we saw a kestrel hovering, and some of the group spotted a golden plover in breeding plumage, also black headed, common and herring gulls in the fields. Walking down the track to the cottage, wheatear were numerous, a group of greylag geese flew downstream, and a stonechat was spotted, but all eyes were on the lookout for the ring ouzel that we could hear calling. Eventually we found that bird, then another two, and also a dipper. At Fasney Bridge we added grey wagtail to our list, and enjoyed an overdue lunch.

Before the next stopping point carrion crow, rook, yellowhammer and stoat were seen, then looking over Whiteadder Water we watched a deer swim across the river and struggle to get out on the slippery bank. Mallard, teal and moorhen were swimming in a pool, sand martins were very active just above the water, while oystercatchers were catching a nap. We were now entering softer, greener, bushier country as we followed the river towards the dam. A grey heron was seen just before our "warbler stop", where we added willow warbler, chiffchaff, whitethroat and house martin. Stopping briefly below the dam we watched four common sandpipers, and concluded our day's birding looking over Whiteadder Reservoir, with good views of Canada geese with their goslings, tufted duck, lesser black-backed gulls and three mistle thrush.

Val Donaldson