Saturday 5th October 2013
Thirteen members of the NNBC met at Aberlady Bay for a walk on the reserve, hoping to see the large numbers of Pink-footed Geese that arrive in large numbers to winter on the mudflats, we were not disappointed! Just beside the wooden footbridge, a Little Egret was feeding, Wigeon, Teal, Curlew, Shelduck & Redshank were on the mudflats, a good start to the day! As we crossed the footbridge, we could hear the constant ‘wink wink’ calls of Pinkfeet flying randomly on the reserve. Apparently a total in the region of 10,000 had been present earlier in the week. We continued to walk across the reserve; one could notice the Sea-Buckthorn bushes were covered in berries, great feeding for the arrival of the winter thrushes! All of a sudden 3,000 Pinkfeet took to the air. It was a marvellous sight, & sound, perhaps disturbed by an unknown predator. On arrival at Gullane Point the group had the chance to sea-watch, an Arctic Skua (dark phased.) passed near to the shore, rafts of Common Scoter & several Velvet Scoter were close in & gave excellent views A Stonechat sang nearby, Eider Ducks (adults & young) rode the surf, in the distance, a flight of Knot wound its way across the rocks in characteristic formation & a Sandwich Tern flew past low over the sea. On our return to Aberlady a Kestrel hovered motionless over the dunes; also seen were a flock of Long-tailed Tits, Linnet, Coal Tit & Reed Bunting. From the wooden bridge at the car park a further 3 Little Egrets were seen, & in the distance 6 Redwing flew over the mudflats & across the main road a Great -spotted Woodpecker was seen in one of the nearby trees. After some well earned refreshments in the village, the group visited the HQ of the Scottish Ornithological Club to view an exhibition of paintings by local artists. It was now about an hour before sunset, time to wait for the arrival of incoming Pinkfeet to roost on the mudflats, Right on cue, at least 3,000 flew overhead, & joined the main group of 5,000 + an awesome sight! The sunset was to say the least spectacular with all the different shades of colour in the decreasing sunlight. An excellent day out, highly recommended!