Monday, 1 January 2018

Garden bird log for Longniddry, Lothian

This is a log of the more interesting species seen and heard in, and flying over, a small garden on Douglas Road, Longniddry, Lothian, Scotland (map), since August 2004. The garden is in an estate within 500m of high water - Firth of Forth. Unfortunately there is no view out to the sea, or indeed anywhere beyond the neighbouring houses in the estate.

Annotated species list
Detailed records (spreadsheet) - updated 1/1/18


Pinks moving late evening 6 January - spring migration is underway! Tawny hooting from Longniddry Community Centre trees 01:05hrs, first there since 20/2/13 and 28/11/07 (also passing our house itself on 27/7/08 (family) and 3/9/14)


Overview of the year 2017

75 species recorded is second only to 77 in 2010, with a single addition to the list, being Red-throated Diver (total now 103), also notable second records of Little Egret and Nuthatch, and third of Quail. 1294 weekly peak counts were logged totalling c. 15k individuals with an average weekly list of 24 species. A new weekly list record of 45 species seen in/from the garden in week of 5th November. Also, a new high of 27 species were recorded *in* the garden during the course of the year, out of 41 in total for all years*, quite a surprising total given the tiny extent of the plot, the back lawn is about 5x5m, but for example hosted 40+ Starlings one day in May, and Rooks in late April - and Herring Gull has regularly plundered that bird table; Barn Owl may be hard to believe, but I could have caught it flying low over our garage a few years ago.
Some highlights of 2017: the year started well with a few Waxwings and a Nuthatch calling nearby. A Small Tortoiseshell butterfly overwintered in garage and came out on 9 April. Further records of nocturnal migrant Moorhen and Coot in spring, also Sandwich Tern in late May. The calling Quail was heard at 02:19hrs on 9 June, but aside from often daily Sandwich Terns, nocturnals were fairly poor in late summer, one more Coot on 8 July and Dunlins on 24 July and 10 August. Down in the garden, bumblebees peaked at 85 mid-June including a new record of 13 Tree Bumblebees. An interesting sounding Crossbill flew over on 8 October. Geese were prominent in autumn with over 10k Pinkfeet logged and several flocks of Barnacles and Whoopers, but it seems like I made a bad error in ID of the first flock of swans on 29 October as possible Bewick's - was not aware then of a Fife record two days previously but it now seems impossible that mine could have been, must have been deceived by the distance! No doubts on the Little Egret flying down Douglas Road the same morning, and vismig efforts during the same spell also revealed a strong Siskin passage (up to 70/hr), and just the second migrant Brambling, but not the hoped for Hawfinch.

Quick analysis of two species pairs, shows Grey Wagtail increase (often daily in autumn/winter, may even roost near Braid Burn bridge), and Greenfinch bearing up after trichomonosis, though clearly it is suffering at a national level. Clearly these graphs can be significantly impacted by even a single resident breeder, at it seems this year we had Greenfinch and Goldfinch breeding somewhere nearby, while Grey Wag was absent from early March to mid-July, so clearly bred elsewhere, but often heard daily after that. Nearly all Pied Wags are recorded in roost movements, concentrated in autumn.

* All species seen in garden (or low airspace): Sparrowhawk, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Tawny Owl, Barn Owl, Common Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Treecreeper, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Bullfinch

Full records: Excel s/s.

Older records (to end 2017)


  1. Hi
    apologies for getting in touch via blog comments. Thought you could help re BH Gull darvic rings. Ad Esk Mouth 29/8/11 white ring J1J4 and Ad Esk Mouth 30/8//11 black ring P834. Also had 2nd winter Med Gull with white ring but no details - watched for 2 hours with no luck!
    all the best
    Stuart (

  2. Thanks Stuart, good to hear from you and these seem to be Norwegian (white) and Lithuanian (black) - I'll chase them down.

    Your Med would be 32A4 reported on LBN* at Musselburgh 20 August*, a new one - ringed as a pullus on 24/06/2010 at De Kreupel Island, Ijsselmeer, Noord-Holland, also reported in Wexford on 06/04/2011; in general white is for Netherlands/Belgium/Denmark:


  3. J1J4 ringed Frognerpark, Oslo, 1/4/00 - thus a friend of metal-6158812, ringed same place same day and present at Eskside last December (see blog post*). Perhaps the colour ring had dropped off the latter bird? NB - same seen again at Musselburgh this evening (per Ian Andrews).