Trip reports

Kinneil Kerse and Bothkennar Pools

Kinneil Kerse and Bothkennar Pools
Jacky Robinson

Saturday, 13 December 2014

I wasn't expecting many members to venture out on this cold Saturday morning so close to Christmas, but the 8 who did were fairly rewarded by good bird watching conditions - little wind, only an occasional hint of rain and excellent winter light.

Our first port of call was Kinneil Kerse. Though icy underfoot and with the tide a long way out, we had excellent views of duck, gulls, and various species of wader, including dunlin, knot, ringed plover, golden plover, redshank, lapwing, curlew and black-tailed godwit (after much discussion about bar-tailed vs black-tailed). A little egret and greenshank were seen in the inlet. Continuing along the raised bank, eagle-eyed Winnie spotted a bird in silhouette that rightly proved to be a kingfisher (a first for one in the group) and we all got good views of this as it flew to different vantage points. Rain threatened as we returned to the cars but fortunately didn't materialise. However we were pleased to eat lunch inside cars, supplemented by a delicious mince pie kindly provided by Val.

Then on to Bothkennar Pools, a site new to several in the group quite close to the R Carron on the far side of Grangemouth, and not far from Helix Park and the Kelpies. We reduced the number of cars by leaving some in a warehouse car park on the A905 immediately after crossing the river bridge, before taking a minor road for 3/4 mile and parking near a gateway to a footpath (signposted) down to the pools. Just beyond the gateway we found about 15 tree sparrows moving from the safety of the hedge to feed on the ground, and then flying back. These were followed by large numbers of reed bunting roosting in the reeds at the side of the track, and numbers of yellowhammer. The first of the pools was the more productive with duck, little grebe, moorhen, coot, mute swan and gulls. The second pool was largely frozen over. However we saw several tit species in the trees, and fieldfare, mistle thrush, blackbird and redwing devouring yew berries, as well as excellent views of a confiding goldcrest.
53 species in total had been seen or heard when the light started to fade shortly after 3pm and we happily retraced our steps back to the cars.

Jacky Robinson