I lead the last of this season's Beginners' Birdwatching classes today. We walked along the mouth of the River Esk in Musselburgh and onto the shore. The river was full of geese - Canada Geese, Greylags and one lone Pink footed goose, which allowed me to do a nice compare and contrast with this species and the Greylag which are superficially similar though once you see them close together they're quite different really.
There were lots of mallards, one female goosander and a whole load of herring gulls and black headed gulls. I had hoped to see wigeon, a very pretty duck that I've seen at Musselburgh before, but there were none.
On the shore the tide was fairly far out but we did get to see a couple of curlews, some oystercatchers and a couple of redshanks among the gulls and crows. Also two pied wagtails, with their heads turning slightly yellow for winter.
As the walk came to an end a group of Canada geese glided upriver then took off into the air and flew over the bridge.
It's been a good group and we've had reasonable luck with seeing birds - but so much of it is about luck and having a group of 14 people isn't ideal in terms of minimising disturbance to the birds.
The walks start again on 20 February 2012. I'll post the details (and the link to the booking form) here when they're available.
As ever, text in red contains hyperlinks which take you to other websites where you can find out more.