Saturday 31 December 2011

Brilliant Birding

We went up Corstorphine Hill today. It's a lovely place to walk and usually offers some good birdwatching (along with moments of great anticipation of seeing something rare as you can hear the animals and birds in the nearby Edinburgh Zoo!).

Today's birding treat was a kestrel! This used to be the most common bird of prey in the UK, when I was growing up, any motorway trip in my parents car would have at least one kestrel hovering alongside the motorway. These days they're much more unusual, and buzzards have increased in number and are now our most common bird of prey.

This kestrel really put on a show for us. It sparred with a buzzard, got into a long and exciting chase with a magpie and hunted some long tailed tits. I'm glad it didn't catch a long tailed tit while we were watching, as those are a particular favourite of mine (and we got some lovely views today!).

Later, a buzzard flew very close over our heads, and we got a real sense of how big a bird it really is!

Crafty Green Boyfriend said he saw what might have been a green woodpecker in a scrubby area of trees. If I'd seen that it would have been an extra bird for my year list, and exciting too as I haven't seen a green woodpecker for a few years and rarely see them at all in fact. However I was very pleased to see a great spotted woodpecker high up in some trees and all in all it was a lovely day of birdwatching.

Especially as it didn't start raining until we had left the hill....

As ever, text in red contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.


Kay said...

so wonderful!! I had a kestrel who decided he and his mate would nest in the back of my property years ago. They nest on the ground and were next to an old wooden fence post..long since torn down when a new neighbor decided to put up a welded pipe fence..
They were constantly having to battle the neighborhood cats..and never returned to nest there. I have a friend who is a licensed falconer and he said I could get licensed and start with a kestrel and you don't know how tempting that is!! But I have no where to keep such a bird safely at this time so not for a while! The wind blew so ferociously here last night that the skies were clear and bright blue and not a bird to be seen..hunkered down somewhere I suppose. Have a wonderful New Year

eileeninmd said...

Sounds like a great birding outing. The kestrel out on a good show for you. Sorry you missed the green woodpecker though. Great report and post. I hope you and your boyfriend have a Happy New Year!

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Juliet,

Sounds like the perfect way to end the last day of the year.
I enjoyed reading and hearing about the birds you saw on your outing.
Happy New Year and best wishes for a wonderful 2012.


Christina said...

Most beautiful birds and thank you for sharing the links. I love looking at bird photos.

Marly Youmans said...

Oh, that sounds wonderful... I always feel a bit bird-deprived (my birds, that is!) living up North now. But I have plenty of buzzards--huge dead tree nearby holds up the local colony. One day I was walking in the middle of the street in deep snow and two burst out of the snow in front of me and waddled for about a hundred yards in front of me, looking a bit addled at wake-up time. Very dramatic, all white and black and red.