We’ve all had them. One of the days where you just aren’t quite satisfied with what’s been seen. Or perhaps what you haven’t seen.
I had one of those days yesterday. Again at Gladhouse Reservoir. I’ve never felt this bad about a session at Gladhouse. Everything was just… Underwhelming.
Dad was giving me a lift in the car and since I had this facility, I asked if we could go and look for Black Grouse as I knew (or thought I knew) roughly where to look for them. I have never had such a birdless experience whilst out birding. Out on some Moorland south of Gladhouse, I thought I heard Meadow Pipit but didn’t see it, other than that… Nothing. Obviously not high enough for Red Grouse and it wasn’t quite right for Stonechat, but I was expecting something, anything! I gave up. We headed back to the car and met a guy who was taking pictures of the landscape I think is what he said. To rub it in even more he said he’d seen Snow Bunting quite recently. Poo.
So dad drove me back to Gladhouse and dropped me off by a field where there was a large finch flock, maybe 50 birds. Mainly Linnet, certain a couple of Tree Sparrows mixed in. But what I was really looking for was Twite, a bird I have never knowingly seen. I, however, hadn’t had a good look at my ID Insights book before leaving the house so wasn’t sure what I was looking for that would tell Twite from female Linnet. I now know that Twite has a pinkish rump, a buff wing-bar, a deeply forked tail, and is overall more buff coloured than the warm reddish brown of female Linnet. Oh well, another bird for me to look for. This field did provide me with my only tick of the day, which came in the form of a Skylark. A year tick, I mean. There’s plenty of them about in spring and summer, you almost can’t escape their song. After that I had a male Reed Bunting by a inlet into Gladhouse Reservoir (man made, not a stream) and a Kestrel above it on over head wires. And then further along those wires, a pair of Mistle Thrushes.
From the road heading towards Moorfoot Village I heard what I’m pretty sure were Jays screeching in the woods behind me, I decided to come back to them later as I’d just seen a lot of geese coming off Gladhouse and on to the surrounding fields. Before reaching the geese, I saw a lovely Buzzard enjoying the sun in it’s face.
Once I got to the geese however, I was disappointed to find they were Greylags and not the Pink Feet I’d been hoping for. Nevertheless, I set my scope up and digiscoped a couple of videos and then had a good scan of them in the field. No White-fronted, Pinkfooted, or Bean geese amongst them. I let out a long sigh which the walkers behind me probably heard.
I traipsed back to the woods where I’d heard the Jays, and I’ve actually seen one there before too. Once I got there it occurred to me that I wouldn’t be needing my scope in the woods so I hid it amongst some trees where I’d pick it up later.
Unfortunately I didn’t find anything in the woods except a few Roe Deer and a portable radio hanging from a spruce, a bit creepy.
After finding my way out of the woods I realised I’d left my scope, and as I was coming back out the woods a car went past which turned out to be a guy I’ve been trying to meet to do some birding with. I must’ve looked pretty sketchy coming out of those woods…
I was picked up by dad at 4:30 by which time you could barely see any birds that were about. Not a very successful day, but probably needed as every birding day before it had been great! Means I’ll hopefully appreciate next time I have a good day.