Trip reports

Doune / Argaty

Robin sitting in grass
Robin - RSPB Images

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Lots of autumn colour, drifting leaves and a fast-flowing river, but the woods around Doune Castle were fairly quiet birdwise.

Our first bird in the car-park area was a goldcrest, closely followed by great- and blue tit, blackbird, jackdaw, carrion crow, then robin and wood pigeon. Moving down to the Ardoch Burn, a grey heron was spotted, then in the trees surrounding the meadow at the confluence with the River Teith, a treecreeper was seen and a wren heard. Skeins of pink-footed geese were flying over regularly, and on the Teith 4 goosander chose to fly upstream rather than battle against the strong current.

Walking back through the woods we noted magpie and 3 varieties of thrush - mistle, flocks of fieldfare and a single redwing. Heading back to the car-park and scanning the fields and trees to see what was disturbing the the corvids, 2 sparrowhawks were spotted circling the area.

The afternoon treat was the visit to Lerrocks Farm to watch the red kites. The bird feeders beside the barn gave us great-spotted woodpecker and coal tit for our list, with dunnock, starling and common buzzard added during the afternoon. But the real highlight of the day was watching the red kites, initially loafing around in the trees, but when a small amount of food was put out and in danger of being hoovered up by various corvids, they decided to drop in for a snack. The team at Lerrocks put out only a small amount of feed so that the birds cannot rely on handouts, and have to locate carrion for themselves. Indeed, the warden, Tom, told us that if the kites had already found food and eaten they wouldn't bother with the provided food at all.

About 30 birds gave a stunning display of flying, gliding in to pick up a piece of meat, and, without missing a wingbeat, drifting up again to then pass the food from talons to beak. A great sight!

Val Donaldson