Trip reports

Cammo Estate and Cramond

Cammo Estate and Cramond
Grey wagtail - Brian Robertson

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The rain stopped, the temperature and wind dropped and the sun came out. Goodbye 2015, time for a lucky start for Wednesday outings in 2016, so out came a band of 24 including young newcomers Courtney from USA and Louisa from Germany. As well as the expected earlybirds buzzard and tree sparrow were spotted from the car park. The first muddy walk to the visitor centre took us to double figures. An extended stop brought tree creeper and great spotted woodpecker. Both turned up later to provide much better views. Climbing the hill into the sunlight brought treetop bullfinch and elusive goldcrest. More muddy meandering meant greater fragmentation of the group so not everyone added mistle thrush, song thrush and nuthatch. All the time in the background were tits, corvids, blackbirds, robins and pigeons. Retrospectively the count for the morning exceeded 20. It was time to head for Cramond and lunch.

The tide was well out but coming in fast so we had a good period on the shore scanning the mudflats and seaweed. Along with river water and seawater there were for once goosander and red-breasted-merganser together so we were able to get good comparisons and fix identification. There will be no more arguments. Close by were pied and grey wagtail. In the middle distance were the five common gull species mostly in adult form but with some immature and, requiring a double-take, two pheasant. The expected shore birds were present but rarer spots were a group of grey plover on rocks by the island, two elegant greenshank amongst the godwit and a well-camouflaged snipe rooting in the seaweed. With the tide in we pottered off along the riverbank. Some people added dipper, cormorant, redwing and wren in this stretch. The highlight however was an obliging little grebe wrestling, eventually successfully, with a more than adequate stickleback. With impeccable timing we were back in the car park for the first spots of rain. The two sites provided little in the way of rarer small birds, birds of prey, wildfowl and divers so a total of 53 for the day felt like a good start to the year.

Alex Wight