So what have been the highlights and the disappointments?
in the woodlands the bullfinch for its bright pink and blue-grey plumage and the fact that it seems to be thriving along the river, which is wonderful to see as it is a species that has really suffered in recent years and is only just starting to recover.
the birdsong highlight is difficult to choose - but despite it being wonderful to hear song thrushes so often (like the bullfinch they're a species that has had a bad time) I would choose the blackcap for its wonderfully rich warble (follow the hyperlink below its name to listen to its song!).
on the river today's highlight was a grey wagtail dancing in the air as it hunted for insects, it flew up and twirled several times almost directly in front of my face. What a graceful bird and no wonder the Italian's call wagtails ballerinas.
in general though the river highlight is the dipper, which must be one of the most characterful birds in the UK. I can sit and watch them for ages as they dip and bob and dive.
the nicest surprises have been the two sightings of roe deer.
the biggest disappointment in wildlife terms is not seeing the kingfishers. Other people see the kingfishers, just I don't. In the past year of looking after the river I've seen two kingfishers - one in a garden near the Union Canal (!!) and once along the River in Dumfries. So why do I never see the Water of Leith kingfishers?
The overall biggest disappointment is the amount of rubbish people leave along the river. The worst thing being the disgusting habit people have developed of wrapping dog poop in plastic bags and then throwing it into the trees or piling it up by the side of the path. Dog poop is biodegradable, if you can't bag it and bin it, just make sure your dog leaves it out of the way of the path and it should be fine!
But the Water of Leith Conservation Trust has a large team of river patrollers (like me) and conservation and clean up volunteers who take part in regular big clean ups to keep the river looking nice for the many people who walk and run along it and helping to keep it a healthy environment for the wildlife. If you live in Edinburgh or along the route of the river, its a great way to spend time outdoors and to feel you're being productive. If you live elsewhere perhaps your local river has a similar conservation trust looking after it?