Mortonhall/Braids

Over the last couple of days I’ve been exploring the Braids and Mortonhall, areas I’ve never really been for birding, played golf there once but that’s about it.

Sunday started out with a lovely Kestrel just by the house sitting on the roof of a disused sort of farm building. Flew away and landed in a bush, which in turn revealed about 4 Greenfinches, quite a nice find given the recent worry over their declining numbers. Further up into the Braids I had lots of crows about, didn’t check for hybrids though. By Liberton Tower I was looking for a particular type of sparrow but found the House variety, about 10 of them being very noisy. Passing a golf course I saw somebody lying on their side with their dogs sitting next to them. Looked like something had gone wrong but it turned out it was just a guy enjoying the sun!

Not many very interesting sightings throughout the rest of my walk but did see a flock of c70 Linnet in a stubble field up near Alnwickhill. Also at Alnwickhill I checked out an area that I read used to be a great site for all sorts of birds. It used to be a Waterworks but now… Drained. Not just drained of water but drained of all bird life as well 😦 oh well…

Today, before going out, I saw what I’m pretty confident was a Mediterranean Gull flying across the field with 4 Common Gulls. The reason I say it was a Med Gull was that I couldn’t see any black on it’s wing tips and it was quite a faded grey on it’s wings. Although I am sure of this, I’m not sure I feel experienced enough to tick it off my list… Hm…
Anyway, I decided to go deeper into Mortonhall as I think (might be wrong) that Grey Partridge can be found in the fields up there. No luck, and dipped on Tree Sparrow again too. Again nothing much of note, other than some quite playful Rooks and a hybrid Hooded x Carrion Crow playing with the lid of a Starbucks coffee cup. Quite entertaining to watch, and my first hybrid crow of the year. On the way home I saw a couple of pigeons fly over the field and had a look at them through my bins, because I couldn’t see the white marks on the wings that would indicate Woodpigeon. I noted down that they had a blue sheen on their necks and black tips and trailing edge to the wings, otherwise mainly blue-grey. After looking at one of the pictures I took it also had a small black mark where it’s wing joins on to the body. Then I saw another two pigeons land in the field ahead of me, also not showing the white wing marks, or white collar I should add. From where I was standing I took one look and thought “flipping feral pigeons having me on.” But once I got a bit closer and they lifted their heads for a while, I was certain I had FINALLY seen Stock Doves and the other two I’d seen previously were also Stock Doves. I have no idea why it’s taken me so long to see this relatively common bird. Turns out they feed in the top corner of the field so if I need to see them again I’ll head up there!

Before I’d left to go up to Mortonhall I’d been giving somebody pointers as to where I’d seen the Red-legged Partridge (which made a short appearance on Sunday but were there for most of Wednesday (I think it was Wednesday, can’t remember)), and he, James, then replied saying there was a Kingfisher by the Braid Burn on a bit of Craigmiller Golf Course. But, obviously, I didn’t bother checking for a reply until I got back from my walk at Mortonhall. At that point I headed straight back out to have a look. Unfortunately it had left but James came out and met me and showed me the pictures he’d taken. It was definitely a Kingfisher and it had definitely been there. Oh well, another day.
James then joined me for a quick look about in the Hermitage for Nuthatches, and I still haven’t seen the Grey Wagtails! Saw a couple of Kestrels, Buzzards, a Treecreeper at a spot I hadn’t seen one before, couple Pied Wagtails flew over and quite a lot of Dipper action on the Braid Burn. Otherwise just a lot of Great Tits and the usual suspects. Nice to meet someone with the same passion though and get to go out on your patch with them too.

Hopefully I’ll manage to get to Musselburgh this weekend as I really need to for my photography project. This will also give me a nice refreshing blog post that isn’t about my local patch!

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Mortonhall/Braids

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