Sunday, 23 September 2018

More open day birding...

Yesterday we were at another university open day - this time in Edinburgh - and the fact we drove there meant that we could do some birding afterwards...

Musselburgh was our first port of call as we hoped to improve on our views of the White-winged Scoter from the spring. When we first arrived it wasn't looking great as no one on site had seen it, despite good conditions, though I did pick up a Red-necked Grebe in one of the Velvet flocks. We walked further east along the sea wall and eventually my dad located the drake American White-winged Scoter among some more Velvets. We watched the bird for quite a while, and it came closer and closer as time went on. By the time we left we had had some really good scope views.

We also estimated that there were 100+ Velvet Scoters offshore, as well as similar numbers of Red-breasted Mergansers including one very large group, and a single Arctic Skua flew west.

After finishing at Musselburgh we drove a short distance south down the A1 and arrived at Barns Ness. As we were driving down the approach road we saw a couple of birders scoping White Sands Quarry from the north side so joined them and were soon were onto the Buff-breasted Sandpiper on the south shore. The views were very distant but still distinctive.

The light was starting to go now, but we continued down towards the lighthouse and joined a small crowd admiring the first-winter Woodchat Shrike. It wasn't doing much this late on in the day, but at one point it did fly round and land right in front of me and my dad. A nice way to round off an excellent afternoon!

Woodchat Shrike

American White-winged Scoter with Velvet Scoters - video should be viewed at 1080p

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