Trip reports

Flotterstone

Cuckoo perched in tree
Cuckoo - RSPB Images

Saturday, 18 June 2016

The day did not start off well, with the road closed people were arriving late after following a lengthy diversion. We set off at 10.30am with some people catching up with us en route.

We had come especially to Flotterstone as it is a well-known, usually reliable site for seeing cuckoo. We were not disappointed. We saw three cuckoo in total, either perched on the telephone wires or moving to a wire section further on. This allowed for excellent sightings both with bins & the telescopes. For many people this was their first time this year they had seen the bird and also a first for hearing the familiar, but now less frequently heard call. We recognised one as an adult male and a second as probably a first year, returning back to the UK for the first time.

We stopped for lunch just before the dam of Loganlea reservoir and were delighted to be "buzzed" by sand martins which we could see were nesting in a sandy scrape in the nearby field. We were able to watch then popping in and out of their burrows. We also saw swallows and some house martins feeding along the course of the stream with the occasional swift overhead.

Other birds seen along the way were grey heron, pied wagtail, grey wagtail, blackbird, robin, dunnock, wren, meadow pipit, reed bunting, song thrush, mistlethrush, linnet, bullfinch, blue tit, chaffinch, goldfinch and greenfinch. A group watched a coal tit family being fed by their parents. Because the adults were feeding young it was easier than usual to spot chiffchaff and willow warblers as they hopped among the branches often with an insect in their beak.

Since it was such a lovely day we decided to walk further than usual, following the Logan burn past the Howe. A walker told us he had seen a peregrine further up near a well-known nesting site. We saw two young peregrines at the nest site, they were still fluffy but able to hop around the nest. The two adults were perched to the right and left of the path. We watched them for a few minutes, but then felt that we were drawing attention to the nest and deterring the adults from coming back and speculated that the adults were trying to entice the fledglings out of the nest. We were lucky with raptors as we had also seen a kestrel and buzzard earlier in the day.

Returning to the cars we added blackcap, a young common sandpiper, starlings, rooks, mallard, moorhen and greylag geese to our tally.

Margaret Harrison