Trip reports

Moorfoots circular

male stonechat perched on bramble
Stonechat - RSPB

Saturday, 16 May 2015

This was the first time our Group has explored the Moorfoots and the Leithen Water from Woodhope, although the walk has been a regular with the SOC. The weather was not promising as a small group of us met at Gorebridge. Our first stop was a small pond near Guildie Howes where we saw a ringed plover, oystercatcher, lapwings with 3 adorable chicks, a coot on it's nest, a common sandpiper and black-headed gulls near the water. We also saw and heard goldfinch and whitethroat in the hedgerow. Sandmartins and house martins were skimming the fields and the water. We then stopped to look over the moorland and saw sky larks, rooks, a pheasant, meadow pipits, a distant view of a kestrel and a red grouse.

The next stop at Heriot Water yielded dipper, red-legged partridge and a couple of buzzards. At another roadside stop we saw a curlew, reed bunting, wheatear, a snipe flying off and some lesser black-backed gulls feeding on a sheep carcass. We parked at the confluence of Glentress Water and Leithen Water and watched the sandmartins popping in and out of their holes on a sand cliff opposite. The rivers yielded common sandpipers, grey and pied wagtails, a pair of spotted flycatchers posing on an overhead wire and swallows overhead. Walking up the track towards Leithen Lodge we saw and heard willow warblers and mistle thrushes as well as the more prosaic robins, chaffinch and blue and great tits. A song thrush sang away but was still difficult to spot. We heard and saw dunnock and a number of wrens. A ringed dipper has it's territory under a small bridge and we also spotted a tree creeper in the woodland and saw and heard goldcrest in a conifer patch. Just before turning back we saw a pair of stonechats amongst the rocky moorland and then a siskin in the pine woods. Although we heard a cuckoo we had no luck spotting it. Our impressive tally was completed by seeing greenfinches on the Lodge feeder, a nuthatch and then a fleeting glimpse of a woodcock in the wood near our cars. This enjoyable walk will definitely be included in our programme in future years.

Margaret Harrison