Trip reports

Lammermuir Circuit

Spotted flycatcher on perch
Spotted Flycatcher (RSPB Images)

Saturday, 14 May 2016

House martins, barn swallows and swifts were showing against a bright blue sky in Gifford, heralding a beautiful day for an outing. Jackdaws, starlings, collared doves and woodpigeons were on the rooftops, and as we set off for a circuit of the Bleacher Field, great, coal and blue tits were seen, and a blackcap heard. A great spotted woodpecker was drumming in the woods, and a robin and chaffinches were busy in the hedge. On the river an adult dipper was spotted taking food into a bank nest, and then we noticed a very young one, still to acquire its white bib, sitting quietly on a stone. Looking up we found nuthatch and finished this part of our walk with pied wagtail and a song thrush.

Passing herring and lesser black-backed gulls in the fields we drove onto the moor and found our first stopping point quieter than usual. Perhaps the tree felling work had been a disturbance, however red grouse, pheasant, lapwing, skylark and meadow pipit were about, and a mystery bird that we spent a long time trying to identify. But ultimately we didn't come to a conclusion, the distance and heat shimmer defeated us.

The walk to Fasney Cottage rewarded us with our target bird, the ring ouzel, plus wheatear, common sandpiper, buzzard, oystercatcher and mallard. Some of the group noted a rough-legged buzzard that showed once more at our next stop, Fasney Bridge. Here we saw wren, and again ring ouzel, then enjoyed a picnic in the sun.

In the Lonformacus area kestrel, rook, carrion crow and house sparrow were added and, pausing to look over the Dye Water, we noted sand martin, goosander, black-headed gull and grey wagtail.
The stop that we nickname "warbler corner" was bright with gorse and lived up to its name as we saw chiffchaff, willow warbler and whitethroat, also adding spotted flycatcher, mistle thrush and dunnock to our list.

It being a holiday weekend the area below the dam was busy with campers so we didn't expect to see much. However, redshank and curlew were additions, and shortly afterwards red-legged partridge were seen in a field.

At the final stop at Whiteadder Reservoir we saw tufted duck and various families of both greylag and Canada geese, all with small, fluffy goslings in tow, while a cuckoo was calling in the distance.
We had a glorious day out in the Lammermuirs, and enjoyed seeing the ring ouzel. However our favourite sighting was of a ring-tail hen harrier.

Val Donaldson