Monday, 28 January 2019

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 1/1/19


2+ Sandwich Terns calling high over village 21:40hrs 13 May.

Female Mallard low in through houses towards the Braid Burn evening 2 May. Kids reported pr Mallard loitering on path when they went to school, not seen that yet in our village!

Tawny hooting again in village near house, to NW, on 1 May.

pr Tawny in noisy hoot and kewick calls, to NE, 28 April.

Moorhen calls over late evening two consecutive nights 22 and 23 April.

pr Tawny again on 21 April.

Cock Pheasant calls 24 March and 7 April, not very exciting but only 4-5th records here.

Tawny hooting continuing on 22 March, Gosford Road area.

pr Mallard low over 22 March, a regular sight in spring, duck seen a week later in burn by community centre.

Tawny hoot and "bubbling-call" (call 2 in BWP, apparently common but audible only over 30-40m, hence perhaps why I've very rarely heard - described there as a mate "summons" and given by either sex) very close to house on 21 March, beginning to wonder if nesting in village.

Tree Bumblebee daily in early March, on redcurrant flowers.

Small Tortoiseshell found below freezer in garage around 3 March, flapped so placed securely high up to continue hibernation - but later gone - flown off or moved?

Tawny vocal again 01:15hrs 27 February.

Collared Dove visiting probable nest site still 26 February.

Calls from another nocturnal migrant Coot low W 01:18hrs 26 February, 12th record and by far the earliest spring record.

25 February - first bumblebee, queen Tree (also rescued one from pavement at work last week); also nice to hear the Greenfinch in song again - regular spring song (=local breeder) here most years since 2005 (only missing in 2008-10, 2013-14).

Tawny hooting and roaming through village 24 February.

Tawny calling continuously for over an hour 18 February.

Bizarre - 01:40hrs on 13 February, daughter screams having seen a large spider by her bed, while looking for it I hear a Magpie calling outside, followed immediately by Tawny Owl kewicks - one seems to be lingering in Community Centre/burn trees!

Starling and Blue Tit alarms late afternoon Sunday 3 February, expected Sprawk failed to materialise but about a minute later a wonderful lanky Peregrine appeared only about 50m over veering NW, probably a female on size (10th record, previous in 04/05/06/07/09/2x09/13/18).

Blackcap still daily into Feb, often in control of bird table; seems to confirm it definitely first arrived around 19 Jan, no way would have missed it earlier.

c. 50 redpolls low over on Sunday 27 January, record count - unfortunately did not perch for further scrutiny.

Blackcap the first on the BGBW - initially seeing off sparrows coming to bird table but eventually sitting with 8 of them eating bread crumbs, ignoring fat ball!

Blackcap still on bird table in sub-zero conditions 23 January, fighting for scraps with House Sparrows, Robin and Starlings.

Blackcap again on 20 January, on same apple.

She's back, female Blackcap present 27/1-7/4/18 see eating rotting apple on ground in garden on 19 January! Presumably same bird as hopping around on a similar circuit.

Daughter reports male Pheasant at Community Centre on 16 January, I've only seen one previously in the village, same location on 19/12/14, but heard distant birds twice.

Waxwing heard again 11:00hrs 2 January. On 6 January Collared Dove flying to and from conifer where nested in March 2018, likely either nest building or sitting - song continues for long periods.

Signs of spring on New Year's Day with Collared Dove (above) and the three tit species in song. Woodpigeon (below) is the most regular species in the garden, up to 4 at once on the tiny bird table.


[Overview of the year 2018

72 confirmed species is similar to recent, with two further additions to the list (now 106), Snipe in early March "beast from the east" snow and a very distant singing Sedge Warbler in early May; unfortunately it was a year where potentially the three best birds went unconfirmed – calls matching Wood Sandpiper on 15/8, a falcon sp. chasing hirundines on 3/9 (and again over Fernyness Wood on 4/9) which was surely a Hobby (and actually 3rd seen from garden, but none confirmed), and 2 chunky pipits giving a non-Mipit “ppzzz” call on 4/11 which seem likely to have been Water Pipits. Confirmed scarce this year included Peregrine on 3/3; more nocturnal gallinules and waders - 4 Moorhens 21/4, 5/5, 14/5, 27/7 (now at least 12 recorded), 1 Coot 9/5 (total 11), Whimbrel 5/5, 3 Common Sandpipers (1 in May, 2 Aug), 1 Green Sandpiper recorded low over house on 3/8 (second record), Dunlins on 9/8 & 4/9; then 15 Barnacle Geese on 22/9 and Waxwings 28/10, 9&18/12; nocturnal Sandwich Terns were prominent from 9/8 to 23/9, often daily; a wintering female Blackcap from 27 January was last seen on 7 April. On downside another year passed with still no record of Reed Bunting or Hawfinch.]

Full records: Excel s/s.

Older records (to end 2018)


  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).