Last days…

So my holidays are coming to an end, and I’m not looking forward to the increase in revision that I’m going to have to do. Less patch birding, probably a lot less lifers than the past couple weeks, and less looking out the window which is something I do a lot by the way.

Yesterday I had a pretty good day. It’ll be a short summary just based on the few lines I’ve written in my notes.

The first significant sighting was the 2 Grey Wagtails which have evaded me all year this far so that was nice to see. It looked like they were sort of displaying above the burn, flapping about a lot.

I then headed up the north side of the valley to look for Buthatches as I hadn’t seen them in a while, a long time in fact. Before getting to their usual haunts I noticed a lot of Grey Squirrels in the trees above me, I counted 9 in total in one small area, about 20 square feet. And then I saw the wee holes where they’d obviously buried and redound their nuts from last year.

My ears then alerted me to a call I hadn’t heard in a while. It was a sort of warbling, almost sounded like the bird was muttering to itself. It was a fair bit away, on the other side of the valley across the bridge I estimated. I wrote in my notes: “Also Warbler sp. heard near Scout Bridge, suspect Blackcap”

I’d never been able to ID Blackcap by call, as last year I’ don’t really gotten into bird calls after most of the summer visitors had left. So I wasn’t confident about my suspicion.

I tried to get to the other side of the valley as quick as possible which meant sort of sliding down a steep dirt bank in front of a family who looked at me liek I was mad.

Once across the bridge I heard the ever present Chiffchaffs and observed one fly catching for only the second time, after seeing them doing it loads on Saturday at Barns Ness.

I heard it again, fainter now and I looked into the gorse to see a bird flitting about quite deep in. Then it emerged for a second, and as I brought my bins up to my face it dived back in. However, I saw enough of the bird to get my hopes up. A flash of silvery grey as it submerged itself in the yellow flowers. A couple more minutes of searching age me this note: “YES! Was a Blackcap (m) in gorse on other side of valley!”

A male Blackcap which I had managed to ID by call from the other side of the valley. Boy was I chiffchuffed, a year tick which I had managed to ID by call from a distance. Anyway, that was good.

I continued along the path to check this side for the Nuthatches, and sure enough I heard a Nuthatch distress call on the other side of the valley. So I turned around and headed back across the bridge and along the path by the burn. Eventually I got to the bit where I’d heard the Nuthatch calling, and there was nothing but a Great Tit. I checked my watch, which told me it was time to wander back home. A Dipper was singing in the burn and as I was snapping pictures of it I was nudged in the leg by a dog, who’s owner, after a short conversation, told me a bit about the Otters, most interesting was that she went on an Otter Walk led by one of the rangers about 3 years ago, meaning I know that I can say that I have found a lot of evidence of Otters along the burn. I wasn’t sure about the secrecy of the Otters along the burn so didn’t want to put it out there for all to know. Anyway, the rangers were giving Otter walks so they must be pretty well known.

After my wee chat with the lady I saw a Dipper only fleeing a dog at the last second, a Treecreeper calling from the Howe Dean path, and a riverside Wren acting like a small rodent.

Today wasn’t particularly good, Otter spraint, Chiffchaffs, Linnets, and Mallards. My next post will probably be on the weekend 😦

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Last days…

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