After School Searching

Last night I heard that you can find Water Rail, amongst others, in the Hermitage which almost annoyed me as I spend so much time in there and the Water Rails haven’t got the common decency to show for just a bit to give me a life tick. (I am of course joking) but joking aside, I really want to see a Water Rail, and to see one on my local patch would be awesome.
After school today I decided I was going to go out into the Hermitage just as far as I needed to go to get to the right habitat for Water Rail.

Went out the back garden into the field to see if the Red-legged Partridge might flush but they did not. Next I headed on to the golf course on the other side of the burn to check their little water hazard area, which is just a very reedy pond that is fed by the Braid Burn. But it was too early for there to be no golfers so I left them to do their golfing as I know how annoying it is when someone distracts you.
Walking down the road to the Hermitage I saw a lovely Song Thrush, 2 Moorhen on the golf course, a Crow who is a regular at that spot, plenty Blackbirds rustling the leaves and some Woodpigeons flapping about in some shrub that was covered in Ivy.




Quite a few finches were flying overhead, mainly Chaffinches I think but a couple of Goldfinches too. The regular Herring Gulls were joined by one Common Gull on the golf course.

IMG_4934 Plus a third Moorhen and a Dunnock both doing their best to be as loud as the Woodpigeons whilst rummaging in the leaves. And on the other side of the road there were plenty Corvids, mainly Jackdaws and Crows but a few Rooks and Magpies in there too. A small flock of 7 Goldfinches also made an appearance.



IMG_4937 One of the few little birds I saw was a Blue Tit which made photographing it pretty tricky. And a very nice sight was one of the Dippers having a little sing-song with itself in the burn.


IMG_4939 I continued upstream to the area I’ve been informed can hold Water Rail and the Dipper followed me, giving a nice little chirp chirp as it went back to its original post.


IMG_4941 I strolled about the sort of tall grass in one place by the burn but nothing other than a Wren flushed out. A few Great Tits and some Long-tailed Tits were heard and very briefly seen nearby.

IMG_4942 I continued back downstream on the other side of the burn strolling through some boggy patches. A Robin greeted me, the Dipper flew over my head again and I found a Grey Heron staking it out in the burn. Also found some interesting ice formations along the burn.





IMG_4950 No luck in this area, but alas! There was still hope! I headed back to the golf course, picking up 2 Redwing, lots of Blackbirds, a Dunnock, 2 Rabbits, some more Corvids, 5 Roe Deer on the golf course, a Blackbird having a wash in the burn and one single Bullfinch overhead.






IMG_4956 Once on the golf course, my first good find was a male Sparrowhawk sitting in a birch tree, whom I saw just as I got home from school as he was upsetting some finches a few gardens down.

IMG_4959 However, this Sparrowhawk distracted me from what was probably a Moorhen that was crossing the burn just upstream from me, but I couldn’t tell what it was so it was possibly a Water Rail. It was right next to a very reedy pond and was crossing the river, but by the time I had got my bins up to my face it had vanished. I sighed as I looked at the sunset.


IMG_4958 I kept seeing Redwings flying past me, plus a Coal Tit. I also managed to flush a female Teal out the burn, a patch tick for me and one of the birds I’d been told I could find in the Hermitage which I hadn’t added yet. As I was leaving the golf course there were still a lot of Blackbird, Dunnock and Wren alarm calls coming from where the male Sparrowhawk had been. Strange. And of course there were plenty Redwings and Blackbirds calling as I left to head home. All in all a pretty good day, bird-wise. Made even better by the fact that I got an offer from the Scottish Rural College to do Countryside Management! This can lead to jobs such as Scottish Natural Heritage area officer, RSPB Warden, and Countryside Ranger. Awesome.

After School Searching

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