Saturday, 30 January 2010

Wknd 30-31 January

After worrying news from Borders of Barn Owls being found dead in nest/roost boxes, and 3 recent road-kills on the A1/A720 (male above), was pleased to see yet another out hunting this evening along the Mill Burn btwn West Fenton and Gullane. Moreover, this was an atlas tick for NT48W - now part of a solid block of about 30 tetrads in lowland East Lothian where recorded in winter atlas. Certainly, they have been faring very well in these areas in recent years, time will tell whether the hard weather has knocked them back significantly.

Earlier, juv Feral Pigeons in nest at Waterston House - eggs must have been laid during the big freeze?!

Previous day (Friday), an unusual record of a Mute Swan high over Claverhouse Drive in Liberton, Edinburgh, first NE, then SE - surprisingly seems to be the first record for the NT26 10km in the winter atlas! 3 Mutes also on Blindwells during wk, and 9 Teal - following melting of most of the ice.

Sunday TTV in NT47U took us to Maggie's Waas Wood, above - first daytime visit, been here often for owls - which delivered most of the expected, with Nutch, Woodcock (new for tetrad), Jays (2), Treep, Lotti (worryingly, just one!), Siskin and a fine female Peregrine powering over. A beauty of a wood, very open and much in common with Gosford with a thick dead leaf layer and many boggy areas, but a significant proportion of the trees are yew, also a few holly and plenty of dead wood. All in all looks perfect for Woodcock, Tawny, woodpeckers, etc.

Thereafter called in at Muir Park Estate, Aberlady to finish the 2nd-hour count. A glance in the stubble field there revealed a large corvid flock and pigeons, and a diving duck on the far resr - more of the same Rooks and Woodies I expected, and perhaps a Tuftie? How wrong I was - 170 Carrion Crows, the largest gathering I've seen inland here, and 32 Stock Doves, equally a record for me. The resr ducks turned out to be f/imm RBM and pr Goldeneye, and completing a productive half hour FLABs in same field included 25 Skylark, 4 Reed Bunting and 4 Yammer, plus Redpoll. Thus concluded with 8 additions for NT47U taking current species total to 69, plus Jay was new for NT47Z.

En route home, 12 Grey Partridge at Craigielaw a warming sight in late winter, and a fairly young juv Wood Pigeon in flock in cereal there - neck marks just emerging but not full size, begging the question when it had hatched?! Sunset over Longniddry shore below, small gulls having a final wash on sea at mouth of Wood Burn (?) before heading out for the roost.


  1. Do you know how they are faring in West Lothian? Used to see a regular one near A70 but not for about 2 years.

    P.S. The "beak" is neotropical if that helps. And spot-on with the other!

  2. Just a handful of atlas records in West Lothian*, no great change from last atlas (1988-1994), whilst there seems to have been a vast expansion in East Lothian since then; however, quite a few road kill reports off M8 in last few years so probably under-recorded I suspect.


    Not having been to the neo-tropics probably explains which I was stuggling to fit the "beak" to anything I knew...

  3. Thanks for the info. I've not been either - I am just an ultra-anorak! I believe the current thinking puts this bird with the tanagers.