Sunday, 23 March 2014

Arrivals and Departures

Having recently flown back home from warmer climes, we were keen to check out the 'Arrivals and Departure' board at nearby Branton Ponds for ourselves. Over on the East Pond there's barely room to take off from the little island where the smartly garbed black-headed gulls are gathering to breed. What a cacophony of sound they make!
 Further round it was good to hear the chiffchaffs  still announcing their recent arrival, and the Great-crested Grebes were indulging in a little courtship display over on the West Pond. However, the Whooper Swans (mentioned below on 11th March) appear as if they have yet to depart to Iceland; or is Branton used as a staging post for successive herds of swans to overnight? Whatever- they looked splendid in the morning sunlight.............

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Springtime at Branton

What a superb few days weather, a real feeling of spring in the air and at the ponds the birds are answering the call, this morning we heard the distinctive call of Chiffchaff and discovered not one but two of these harbingers of spring. On the water the Coots were fighting for supremacy as were a noisy group of Shelduck, a quieter note was struck by Teal and Wigeon, not yet ready to depart. On the island Black Headed Gulls are staking their claims to territories along with Oystercatchers and the first Redshank of the year for the site, however as if to remind us that we are not totally out of winter's clutches 19 Whooper Swans overnighted on the west pond last Friday on their way back north,lets hope they have a safe journey, a successful breeding season and honour us with their presence next winter.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

A Riverside Wander

Today's bright sunshine found us at Paxton House for a change of habitat.Having parked ,a quick visit to the hide in the woods gave us a hurried visit from a Greater Spotted Woodpecker,a Goldfinch and a plethora of Blue,Coal and Great Tits.No Red Squirrels unfortunately,which haven't been seen there for some time.The loud, clear calls of Nuthatch  were a reminder that Spring is indeed on the way.
Down to the Tweed  next,which was flowing a little more calmly than of late,and where 2 pairs of  Goldeneye were feeding as were several pairs of Gooseanders .Oystercatchers were noisily announcing their presence downstream.
Once across the Chain Bridge,we headed for West Ord, passing 6 Moorhen on a small island.A little further we spotted a single Snipe,Jay,Yellowhammer, Goldcrest and heard a Tawny Owl calling from across the river.Three Mute Swans feeding in an adjacent field were accompanied by a Grey Heron.About to turn back at West Ord, we spotted a very white bird flying upstream,then landing on the Scottish side-a Little Egret!
Back to the Paxton woods we added Greenfinch ,Bullfinch and Long Tailed Tit to our final total of 33 sightings.

Ducking and Diving

Ducking and Diving
An early start saw us at Long Nanny, there was very little in terms of small birds except 6 Snow Buntings on the beach, meanwhile offshore lingered 300+ Wigeon and a single Red Throated Diver, whilst scanning the Gull flock on the beach we picked out a single adult Mediterranean Gull.
Our next port of call was Stag Rocks, yet again this winter we were not disappointed, Birds offshore included a single Red Necked Grebe giving great views, also 11 Red Throated Divers, 4 Slavonian Grebes, 4 Long Tailed Ducks, 6 Red Breasted Mergansers and at least 500 Common Scoter.