Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Aberlady Bay and Gullane Bay

I've made a couple of visits to Aberlady Bay over the last few days to look at the flock of approximately 20,000 roosting Pink-footed Geese that gather here every winter.

Bridge at Aberlady Bay

This morning I arrived at 06.30am and waited for it to become light. I could hear the geese out on the mudflats and, after scanning the area with the scope, I began to pick up the birds. I not great at estimating large flocks of birds, but there were "many thousands" present. Quite a sight!

Distant Pink-footed Geese
As it became light, small skeins started to fly out of the roost and I managed to get a few shots of these birds.
Pink-footed Geese
Other birds seen yesterday evening and today were: Shelduck (200+), Wigeon, Teal, Eider Duck, Mute Swan (2, including a colour ringed individual), Redshank, Curlew, Great-crested Grebe, Goosander, Black-headed Gulls, Common Gulls, Linnets, Wren and a Redpoll sp, which could have been a Mealy Redpoll, as it looked larger than a Lesser and was very pale on the breast. Unfortunately I didn't get very good views before it flew off!!
Next stop was Gullane Bay, a few miles nearer North Berwick. I made my way down through the sand dunes out onto the bay.
Gullane Bay/Bents
On arrival I scanned the water's edge and found a few Oystercatchers, Black-headed Gulls and one Great Black-backed Gull. Shags were flying out on the water and, after about half an hour's searching I spotted a lone male Common Scoter. A Red-throated Diver was fishing just behind the scoter and then a male Long-tailed Duck flew past. Another male Long-tailed Duck was soon found feeding nearby and a winter plumaged Slavonian Grebe was also spotted in the same area!! A very productive time!!!
Year List additions:
156- Common Scoter
157 -  Long-tailed Duck
158 - Slavonian Grebe

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