Late nights Pt. 1

Recently I’ve become more interested in mammals, probably due to reading a couple of forums on BirdForum of people doing mammal year lists. After reading those it struck me that I’m not doing very well on my mammal life list. ..

1. Rabbit – everywhere

2. Brown Hare – in fields near my dads

3. Mountain Hare – Moorfoot Hills

4. Brown Rat – by Blackford Pond

5. Mouse sp. – I need to work on my mouse ID

6. Shrew sp. – same again

7. Otter – a fleeting glimpse of one sliding into Loch Leven

8. Stoat – on Blackford Hill

9. Weasel – Holyrood Park, by Dunsapie Loch

10. Roe Deer – from the house

11. Grey Seal – Findhorn Bay

12. Bat sp. – again, needs work

13. Red Fox – seen in a few places round Edinburgh

14. Grey Squirrel – everywhere

15. Red Squirrel – near Fort William

… and I think that’s everything. Probably have missed something out. Oh:

16. Hedgehog – one crossing the road near my house

That should be everything. I think I’m just interested in mammals, not so much wanting to tick them off (although that would be nice too). So I’m investing in a mammal field guide and I’ve started to actually look for them. Mainly the wee ones; mice, voles and shrews; but stoats and weasels are good too. And this leads on nicely to my outings today!

I’m at my dads this weekend and I didn’t really have time to go out to Gladhouse Reservoir today due to rugby and revision. So at 5pm I headed out for an hour long stroll around Temple (the village my dad lives in).

First sight as I hopped over the garden fence Ito te field was a large flock of Jackdaws with a few Rooks in there for good measure. Shortly after this was a group if 5 female Pheasants which quickly fluttered over the wall and into the undergrowth. I was heading for the river bank of the River South Esk as it’s a walk I’ve walked a few times and it’s produced fox and deer before. Sure enough, the first thing I came across were some Roe Deer tracks in the mud on path it was walking on.

 I presume they are Roe Deer tracks as that’s the most abundant deer around here, although I’ve read you get others including Sika Deer I think. Some more tracks further along the path:

These pictures were taken whilst I was being serenaded by a Dipper who was proudly declaring his/her section of river. I crossed the river, giving it a quick, optimistic glance up and down to check for Kingfisher. No luck. 

I did get lucky , however, as a bright yellow Yellowhammer flew out of a gorse bush behind me  giving me a year tick (about flippin’ time) as I was taking this pic of more tracks in the mud.

 I’m not sure it’s very obvious where the tracks are in these pics so…

 I’ll have to do some track revision to work out what these are, they might not even be footprints but I’m hoping they are.

I continued walking up this muddy path and a group of gulls circles owe my head, drifting in a northerly direction. 

 I walked past quite a few wee holes, here is just one of them.

 Heading on towards the big beech trees that you can see in that landscape picture, I managed to hear both Long-tailed Tit and Nuthatch. I’m not sure where I took the next pic, but I’d guess it was on the same muddy track as the others. I think this one is a Mustelid of some sort. 

 this could actually be a dog of some sort now I think about it but oh well. All part of the learning experience!

 Walking along a country road now, heading towards the place I first ever saw Nuthatches; a very old coal mine at the bottom of the village which now has some very nice deciduous forest on it. On my way there I did hear a lovely Song Thrush singing away in the bushes. And in the same bushes I saw some corrugated iron sheets, which I thought I’d read can be good for finding voles.

 Nothing as far as I could see. Here’s the view on my way to the coal mine. 

 Once at the coal mine it was getting late and most birds had settled down, except for another Song Thrush and a load of Goldcrests. This Pheasant, however, was having none of it and was roosting in a spruce. 

 Walking up the hill that the village is on I had 1 Grey Wagtail flyover and a very close and trusting Dunnock in a hedge. Quite a nice walk , but that wasn’t the end of my adventures…

Late nights Pt. 1

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