Sunday 17 June 2012

Terns and other birds

Terns are beautiful, graceful birds closely related to gulls. They're summer visitors to Scotland and I don't see them that often. When I do see them, they tend to by flying at some distance away and it's hard to tell which species they are!

On Thursday, one of the rare days of good weather we've had over the past couple of months, I visited Musselburgh Lagoons. I was delighted to see 26 Sandwich terns, sitting nicely on one of the lagoons and keeping quite still so I could fully appreciate the little yellow tips to their black beaks!

I was also pleased to see four reed buntings in nearby fields. The males of this species are very handsome birds and have a nice little song.In the same fields meadow pipits were flying up from the fences singing their flight songs then falling back down again. Skylarks were singing overhead. Skylarks are an iconic species of British farmland and are declining hugely so it's exciting to know places near Edinburgh where they can still be regularly heard.

There were 100s of eider ducks in the estuary of the nearby River Esk and I saw three females with a creche of over twenty ducklings that were all diving into the water and then bobbing up again like corks, making a cute little sound as they did so.

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Naquillity said...

sounds like this was a week full of scouting out birds. i'm pleased to hear you were able to see the terns at closer range. i got to see an indigo bunting this past week. it was such a delight. it was so blue. it stood out around everything else that was dark. hope all is well~

Ms Sparrow said...

Sadly, caring for ducklings is a mother ducks job. It's not for amateurs!

Christina said...

All the birds are lovely but I really like the Eider ducks. Amazing colors.

Sallie ( said...

What a cool place to walk on a nice weekend! I recognize terns, but can't distinguish one kind from another.

Kitchen worktops guy said...

Terns are absolutely beautiful, aren't they. Recently a friend of mine found what she reckons was an abandoned baby tern and took it to the vet's but sadly it didn't survive :(. Oh dear, and on that happy note...(!)

eileeninmd said...

Juliet, it sounds like a lovely day birding. I have not seen the Sandwich Terns but I do love the Terns I see here. The Reed Bunting is a pretty bird. 100 Eiders would be cool to see. Great sightings and post. Hope you have a great day!