Midlothian Reservoirs

On Saturday I felt I could reward myself for doing my prelims which didn’t go bad at all, so me n’ dad went out for a walk, first across farmland to Roseberry Reservoir and then he went home and I continued on to Gladhouse Reservoir.

First noteable sighting was a Red Fox out in a patch of grassland. Definitely the healthiest looking fox I’ve ever seen, and it looked even better in the golden sunlight. However, being the timorous creature that it is, it quickly ran off at the sight of me taking my camera out my pocket. A nice experience though.

On through farmland there weren’t that many birds to see other than a flock of c10 Fieldfare, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers being rather noisy, and a Nuthatch being even noisier.
Once at Roseberry, found c25 Tufties were paddling about. Also had a Dipper down at the outlet of the reservoir, and another Great Spotted Woodpecker.

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Scoped at the far end of Roseberry were 2 Teal and at the opposite end where I could see them, 3 Wigeon, and c10 Mallard resting on the ice, or should that be chilling on the ice? There was also 1 male Goldeneye.

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Passing the very small settlement of Yorkston a Buzzard flew out of one of the fields being mobbed by the many Common Gulls in the fields. Stopped for lunch at the bottom of the hill past Yorkston and whilst there I added an easy year tick, a Lesser-black Backed Gull had joined the Common and Herring Gulls and was feeding in the massive field in front of me. For whatever reason I didn’t take any photos of it but here is one of the Common Gulls.

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Also had c5 Redwing in the trees to my right. Only one stayed for the picture though.

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Dad then left me and headed for home to do some work or something, leaving me to plod off towards Gladhouse. In the spring/summer the fields to either side of the road to Gladhouse have loads of Curlew, some Lapwing, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Hares, sometimes Dunlin, and some other less frequent birds. In the winter however, it’s Crows and Gulls and sheep. I have however seen two Skylarks kicking about and I think Meadow Pipits are starting to repopulate further inland. So hopefully it won’t be long before I’ll be seeing these birds again.
A quick check of my photos has shown that I did in fact see Fieldfare in one of the fields.

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When I reached Gladhouse, the Gladhouse Kestrel was there but too distant for photos. I was amazed to see how much of the reservoir had frozen over. I’d say around 80% ice. And it was thick. I threw a large rock at it and it just bounced off. Made some cool noises though.
Across the reservoir I could see the birds were all grouped on the ice along one strip if water that went straight through the middle of the reservoir. I headed off round the east side to get a better view. Whilst I was traversing a field, a Woodcock flushed from amongst the Pine trees by the water. Another easy year tick for me! Easy to see the shape of the bird with it’s badly proportioned head and longish beak.
Once I finally found a good point from which I could see the action on the ice I set up my scope and started snapping pictures. I only managed this picture…

IMG_5042 … before a fine gentleman decided he’d sit in front of me and try to pose. Of course I didn’t mind too much so I took a few pictures of him and then gave him a few crumbs from my lunch.

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IMG_5047 Of course the fine gentleman was a Robin 🙂 he comes back in a bit, but before that, here are some of the better pictures I took of the birds on the reservoir.

IMG_5049 Although you can’t make any of them out in my pictures, the ducks consisted of Mallard, Wigeon, Tufted Ducks, Goldeneye and Teal.

IMG_5050 Lesser Black-backed Gull (1 of 3) having a drink.

IMG_5051 Goldeneye fly-by.

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IMG_5052 Gulls and Corvids on the ice and in the water.

IMG_5054 Had a total of 7 Cormorants, a record for me.

IMG_5055 Trying to ID these duck silhouettes… Can’t work it out though.

IMG_5056 Gulls, Cormorants, Ducks.

And then the Robin returned, expecting more crumbs so I obliged.

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Then a few more pictures of the water birds.

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IMG_5060 I then decided to walk around to the other side, once again underestimating how far I was going to need to walk. I did manage a nice couple of photos of a Carrion Crow in the sun, albeit one of him flying away.

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Whilst walking around I had 7 Geese sp flyover, probably Greylag. I didn’t get very good photos of the birds from where I got to but I did get some nice scenic shots on my phone.

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IMG_5014 And there was one good photo of a lonely Herring Gull, obviously fed up with the pettiness of his kind!

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From here dad came and picked me up, and took me home. The photo opportunities didn’t end there though, a great sunset gave me my last couple of photos of the day:

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Bored of the TV I decided to draw something, so I opened my field guide at a random page and of course, it teases me by giving me a Stonechat. A bird that I set off into the Moorfoot Hills specifically to see and I didn’t see it. I drew it anyway. The legs could do with being shorter but it’s not too bad in my opinion.

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Midlothian Reservoirs

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