Saturday, 3 April 2010

Easter wknd, 3-4 April

Saturday took us to the East Links Family park where the only birds of interest were captives - a pair of Mandarin Ducks, both pinioned but only female with a leg ring (red tie-cord) and the resident Emperor and Swan Geese. A large domestic Mallard captured the female Mandarin and mated with it several times, goodness knows what any offspring would look like!

After, at Belhaven Bay, a single White Wagtail and at least one Scandinavian Rock Pipit (littoralis), right; headed home and at the Tyninghame turning saw geese up over the North Berwick road so pulled in at the Ware road to check them out - they alighted in flooded cereal fields on the north side. Just completing count of 410 Pinks, 1 Greylag, came across a bird with orange legs, but unfortunately walking away; only when it reached the far side of the field, c. 300m, did it turn and allow proper scrutiny - orange wedge on bill confirming it was a Bean, most likely a Taiga [Postscript - subsequently nailed by Calum Scott as a Tundra, which would be 4th record (6th bird) for Lothian after two Feb 96, two Jan-Feb 06 and a single 7/2/09 - perhaps even same individual as latter]. After watching for a short period a man with a gun appeared in wood opposite and birds flew at 18:36hrs, heading east into the Bay area. Photos poor, bird central in this one below. Also in the fields just inland of Buist's Embankment still a few Whoopers present amongst at least 8 swans visible.

If accepted the Bean Goose will conclude a long search for the species, commencing with regular trips into NE Scotland farmland with my father for several years from mid 1980's and inconclusive views of one at Marshside RSPB in Lancs throo a resident birder's scope, also about 25 years ago!

Sunday, required to visit Edinburgh, popped in at Shorthope Street c/p in Musselburgh and managed to read the metal ring on an immature Herring Gull throo telescope (GC41079) - submitted to and will post origin here when received [ringed as a nestling on the Isle of May, visible 41km ENE, 1004 days previously on 5/7/07]. Also a Sand Martin there, and 3 Chiffchaffs in song by scrapes.

Easter Monday took us back to Garleton for egg rolling, aka a Rouzel hunt; for about the 10th consecutive spring visit there were none of the latter, despite the site having apparently ideal habitat, at least as good as some traditional sites further south, e.g. Pitstone Hill, and despite others being found in the Lammermuirs, the hills directly opposite, the same day :( Check on the BHG colony showed progress to nest building and copulation with 40 birds present plus a sprinkling of other waterbirds.

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