Less and less for me to see

I’m getting closer to not having any relatively easy lifers now. Yesterday at Musselburgh helped me get rid of a few glaring omissions from my list; here’s how it went…

James’ texts never seem to reach me so he called and asked if I’d like to go to Musselburgh for a bit. The answer was never going to be no, so we were on our way to the scrapes, saw Collared Dove fairly close to the patch, and a couple Buzzards too.

Once at the scrapes we headed to the first hide, closest to the sea wall. Not too much going on at first, a lot of Sandwich Terns were there making a racket, a couple of them juveniles; a handful of Common Gulls; some more Black-headed Gulls; a couple Common Terns were there too; and then the standard Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwits, Oystercatchers, Lapwings and Curlew were spread across the rest of the lagoons. A Gannet passed very close over the sea wall, it’s big 6 foot wingspan dwarfing the Herring Gull that was tagging along behind it. Not much on show, there were a couple other birders having a conversation about birder-y stuff, including the fact Golden Plovers had been seen at the River Esk mouth, probably this year’s young. Interesting… So we moved to the next hide and as we were walking James asked if I’d seen the two Little Gulls, which I hadn’t. We went back later to confirm them…

In the next hide I had a scan through the Bar-tailed Godwits, some of which were actually Black-tailed now that I think about it. Then moved on to the Lapwings as I was hoping a Golden Plover might have found it”s way in amongst them. Sure enough it had, my first Golden Plover, finally… And also my first tick of the day.


On to the next hide we had better views of Black-tailed Godwits, about 6 of them just in front of the hide. They flushed a couple times but I got some pretty good digiscoped shots of them, the two best shots here…


So, back to the first hide to go and check out these two possible Little Gulls, whilst looking for the female Brambling who’s clearly lost her calendar as she’s a few months earlier than she’s supposed to be. Didn’t find the Brambling, but once in the hide James pointed out the two dozy gulls by a couple of Common Terns and we confirmed them as my first Little Gulls. They are quite little, about a third the size of a Black-headed Gull who kindly stood next to them for comparison. These were the two 1st summer birds which had been reported almost daily recently. Nice wee birds, and my second tick of the day. Not many good shots as they snoozed the whole time we were there.#


Whilst we were waiting for the impossible, the Little Gulls to show face, I had a scan of the other gulls and noticed a gull fly over and then come down to land amongst the Black-headed Gulls. I noticed it’s tail pattern was a bit odd. Once it had settled itself amongst the other gulls and waders I had a good look at it and thought, “That has to be a Med Gull,” so I pointed James in it’s direction and he agreed. My first Mediterranean Gull. Another 1st summer bird, but it had a well developed hood and the nice chunky, deep red bill that I was looking for, so I was happy. 3 lifers = a good day.


Not amazing shots, but they show the difference in head shape, head colour, how much of the head is hooded, the colour of the beak, and the size of the beak too. All quite important ID features of a Med Gull. It doesn’t show the white primaries but you can’t have everything! Including untimely female Bramblings, which James and I dipped on again despite a slow walk back past the hides. Off to the sea wall where we managed to see rafts of Eider, some Guillemots, a Razorbill very far off, a Puffin even further out towards Inchmickery (an island in the Forth), and perhaps a couple Gannets and lots of Sandwich and Common Terns. Thunder boomed behind us so we quit while we were ahead and headed to the car. Just in time too as the rain came on pretty heavy on the drive back into Edinburgh.

Not much to report on patch or from the garden, other than one of those fake falcons that are used to scare away pigeons or gulls. It’s on the houses across the road and this is the first time I’ve noticed it as I don’t look out my sisters bedroom window much. Got my hopes up of getting Peregrine Falcon on the garden list. But it wasn’t to be. I’m sure one’ll fly over at some point…

Less and less for me to see

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