Trip reports

Field Trip - Where the birds are

Adult whooper swans feeding in fields
RSPB Image

Saturday, 24 November 2018

When 18 Members set off in the morning it was dry and windless; the mist was very low and visibility was almost nil! However, at our first stop - South Kessock - we found that the mist had lifted showing a mirror Firth and just in front of us an otter was wrestling with a large fish. Around it, the many birds seemed unconcerned; grey heron, oystercatcher, wigeon, mallard, some ringed plovers and turnstones and, close in, teal. Further out were guillemot, a red-throated diver, goldeneye and cormorant.
We walked along the path towards the Canal - always hoping to see the local kingfisher! Our main sighting was a "siege of herons", namely 14. We were near the local heronry at Clachnaharry!
Next stop was Bunchrew Caravan Park, where a large group of godwits were knee deep in water with heads tucked under wings. There was enough movement to let us know there were both bar-tailed and black-tailed godwit. Out in the Firth on a sandbank were over 150 cormorants in a line and in the trees nearby, a flock of greenfinch and a redpoll.
On now to Loch Ussie and en route, one flock of pink-footed geese and a lone greylag were spotted in roadside fields. As we ate lunch we watched great spotted woodpecker, some goldfinch a couple of red kites flying around and 2 buzzards sitting on telegraph poles. After lunch, a walk towards the island in the loch, produced a number of mute swans and 2 whooper swans. Also, there was a lone female goosander and then later, 4 males and a raft of tufted duck were seen.
The light was fading by now but we did go to the RSPB Red Kite Feeding Station at Tollie. A few flew low but were reluctant to land. They had found a better source of food, namely dead pheasant after a nearby Shoot! However, a kestrel, some bullfinches, woodpeckers, a jay, and long-tailed tits were seen at the feeders as well as blue, coal and great tits.
It was a very successful day with 65 species seen.