Trip reports

Moorfoots

Moorfoots
Dipper - Hugh Conner

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

We met on a chilly, but bright day at Gorebridge and pooled cars before setting out for the Moorfoots. A chiffchaff was singing, and chaffinch, blackbirds, jackdaw & house sparrows were seen in the car park. Our first stop was overlooking a pond by Guildie Howes where, to our surprise, a male mandarin duck was on the water. Other birds were a mallard with eleven ducklings, coot, little grebe and teal. Shelducks, a couple of greylags and a snipe were seen in the surrounding boggy area with sand martins and swallows overhead. We then investigated the hedgerows where goldfinch and a dunnock were seen with both herring and black-headed gulls overhead. Moving along, we spotted rooks feeding in nearby fields and a greenfinch. Skylarks were singing overhead as we stopped at various spots along the road and saw lapwings, curlew, both red and black grouse, meadow pipits, oystercatcher, a pair of wheatears, mistle and song thrushes, a stonechat, more snipe and also a buzzard overhead. The Heriot Water yielded a pied wagtail, dipper and a red-legged partridge.

We stopped for lunch at the Woolhope Bank junction with the Leithen Water, but very few sand martins were seen on the sandbank, they had probably moved on, hopefully temporarily, due to the cold conditions. Walking upstream we added a hovering kestrel, a pair of goosanders and heard a willow warbler. A dipper with food in it's beak shown in the photo was flying up and down the river. It probably had a nest underneath the bridge. A treecreeper, blue and great tits, goldcrest, wren and robin were spotted in the woodland and a grey wagtail shadowed us upstream. A great spotted woodpecker alerted us with it's drumming but proved harder to see! We were thrilled to see a pair of ring ouzel on the moorland of Sherra Law and completed our list of 56 species seen or heard, with a bullfinch, coal tit, nuthatch and a flock of long tailed tits.

Margaret Harrison