Scotland Trip – Day 1 – 18/xii/14

Having driven north on the evening of the 17th, I headed out along the Lothian coast arriving at Musselburgh lagoons at dawn. There were plenty of birds at the rivermouth – mainly Common Gulls and Oystercatcher. There were 26 Bar-Tailed Godwits mixed in, quite a few Redshank, several Turnstone, a couple of Curlew and a Dunlin. A pair of Dipper chased each other along the river, and good numbers of Wigeon and Canada Geese were on the banks too.

Just offshore there were eight Red-Breasted Merganser (five males and three females). The males were carrying out their strange display and chasing each other around, which was quite a spectacle in the good early morning light. Also offshore were good numbers of Velvet Scoter aswell as a few Eider and Long-Tailed Duck.

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Further along the coast, were plenty more seaduck, and in with them were four Slavonian Grebe, 2 Great-Crested Grebe and a Red-Throated Diver.

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On the lagoons, there was nothing else of note particularly, other than large numbers of Teal, Wigeon and waders.

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Next, I headed to some fields to the south of Dunbar. There were large numbers of Pink-Footed Goose here, but unfortunately a couple of hours of searching failed to produce the ‘Tundra’ Bean Geese which had been reported. Good views were had of six Grey Partridge which made up for the absence of the geese.

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I spent the last few hours of daylight birding at Tyninghame Bay to the west of Dunbar. First I checked the estuary from the car park. There were a few Wigeon and waders present including a Greenshank, a few Lapwing and three Grey Plover. I checked Seafield pond and came across the female Mandarin which had been reported there. There were other common species here too such as Tufted Duck, Grey Heron, Moorhen and Coot amongst others.

Further upstream, I found a flock of finches feeding on the saltmarsh. They turned out to be Twite which is a species I haven’t seen for a long time. There were about thirty of them present and they fed actively at quite close range alowing for some record shots.

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As the sun set I continued around the saltmarsh, flushing plenty of Snipe as I went. A Little Egret also showed briefly (still a scarce species in Lothian) and a Kingfisher flew up the stream as the last light faded, concluding a good day of birding.

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