Monday 31 October 2011

Birdwatching along the River Esk

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.


The Fab Furs said...

The movie The Big Year has a nice sequence about a pink footed goose. Will you see the movie when it comes to your area?

The Weaver of Grass said...

We have pied wagtails in summer but they seem to disappear in winter.

HKatz said...

I really ought to learn to identify birds better. To me geese are just geese :) I'm always impressed that you can pick out different kinds; it adds a richness to your posts.

dosankodebbie said...

I never could tell birds apart from one another until I started drawing them. Writing about them, as you do, must hone the ability to observe and remember the details too. I regret all the wasted years before I really started paying attention to such things...

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Juliet,

Must be lovely going out birdwatching and that you are able to identify all the birds.
Happy new week


Caroline Gill said...

How lovely to see the Goosander; we only see these birds on Skye ...

RG said...

That sounds like a successful venture right there!

Take 'em all out for beer and watch The Big Year for graduation!

Our huge flocks of wintering snow geese and trumpeter swans are back in town!

Jo Potter said...

Hi Juliet,
I love nature, but I have never been out properly birdwatching. It is something I would like to do!
I have several books about birds and enjoyed the last place I lived because we used to feed the birds in the garden and we had lots of small ones visiting which was lovely.

I think it's great that you can identify so many bird varieties.
Anyway, I hope you had a good Halloween. It is good to be back blogging again!
Best wishes,

Wild_Bill said...

It is impressive how much water fowl you share with the states. I wonder if many have been introduced both here and there. I would love to go bird watching in Scotland, it must be just great. Thanks for the tour!