Study leave

Yup, I’m on study leave so unfortunately not all my time can be spent birding. I have, however, managed to get out a couple times recently. Here’s my wee report from the 26th (of April that is)

First sighting of note was 5 unidentified birds flying west towards Blackford Hill. They were about Great Tit-sized and had a sort of finch-like call. Probably finches of some sort but it wasn’t a call I recognised. A suspected Brown Rat in a patch of Hawthorn by the field that I call Hopeful Hawthorn as I’m hoping something good turns up there, just looks like the sort of place something good would turn up.

I managed to find the Tree Sparrows at Liberton Tower which hadn’t been seen in a while. Just a couple of them but that’s enough to breed! They were with a bunch of House Sparrows and Starlings.  


 Walking along Braid Hills Drive I had a semi-decent view of a Shrew scarpering away from me in the leaf litter by the pavement. A pair of Willow Warblers was also nice to see. 

 Spot the Willow Warbler!

A pale Buzzard flew low per the field beside me, one of the individuals I usually see. And below him/her was two Wheatears in the top corner of the field! That would have been a patch tick had I not found one the day before with James in another section of the field. Nice birds to see nevertheless. 

  Down the Howe Dean Path I always seem to hear a Meadow Pipit call, which is weird as the Howe Dean Path is all mature deciduous woodland. Perhaps they always happen to fly over as I’m going down. At the bottom of the path I was confused at a high flying bird with a long tail, which turned out to be a Long-tailed Tit, highest I’ve ever seen one. Walking back along Blackford Glen Road I was treated to a couple of Blue Tits transferring food from one beak to the other, probably nesting in the Ivy covered bush that they were in.

On to the later on in the day…

Managed to see all three Wheatear that I knew of in the field which was nice. A wee late evening walk with Janes up to the fields by Sevenacre Park (bit further south) revealed at least 5 more Wheatear in the fields thrre, probably more. 

Back to the 26th, walking through the valley alongside the burn I noticed a Sand Martin fly over me, and then another, and another. In total 6 of them flew over heading down down the valley, mate looking for a nest site, maybe just hunting, I don’t know.

A pair of Blackcaps gave nice views as they flitted about in some Blackthorn by the Braid Burn. And I heard a metalli rattling from a boggy area, probably just a Wren but I wasn’t so sure. A Song Thrush shree-ed as it darted over my head across the valley and some Goldcrests were calling by the Scout Bridge.

A slow, boring search around Blackford Hill resulted in 20+ Blackcaps as opposed to the newly arrived Whitethroats that I was hoping for. I did manage to see my first 7-Spot Ladybird of the year on my patch, a Kestrel being mobbed by a Carrion Crow over some houses, and a singing Linnet in the gorse.

Only notable sighting on my walk home was a fish of some sort, I suspect Brown Trout, making a splash just downstream of the Scout Bridge.

Study leave

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