I was watching a couple of jackdaws today. They were both collecting feathers for their nest. One of them was rushing around at top speed filling its beak with as many feathers as it could fit in there and if one dropped out the bird would pick it up again. The other bird in contrast, wandered slowly around, picked up the occasional feather and then let it go again immediately. They both flew off at the same time, the first bird had at least six feathers in its beak, the second had none!
One of the things I live about birdwatching is noticing this type of interesting behaviour in any species of bird. No species is too common to take notice of, and, these days, who knows how long any species will remain common anyway?
The other thing I love about birdwatching is seeing unusual species. Today I walked from the mouth of the River Esk to Musselburgh lagoons. Over the sea wall I was delighted to see 14 velvet scoters - the makes have such weird faces! Near to the scoters were two shags, beautiful green birds related to cormorants with sweet tufts on the top of their heads! Then at the Musselburgh Lagoons I was very excited to see a snipe - a bird that has been reported from this area a few times recently but this was my first sighting of it here (in fact only my second ever sighting) and then a pair of grey partridges! I can't remember when I last saw grey partridges, they used to be common farmland birds but their populations have decreased dramatically and now they're pretty rare. They hid in the long grass and at first all I could see were their beautiful brick red faces but then for some reason they broke cover and chased each other across the short grass, such lovely markings they have, very handsome birds.
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