Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Edinburgh Weekend - 4th-6th December

Sarah and I spent the weekend in Edinburgh with our good friends Trevor and Julie Codlin, it was Julie's 50th Birthday celebration so we intended to spend much time having fun in the city. Trev and I did manage to get to Musselburgh Lagoons on the morning of the 6th. Information on the lagoons can be found here and here. The weather was good with intermittent sunshine but a fairly cold southerly wind, the tide was high for much of our stay. A male Surf Scoter had been present since 29th October and was our main target. We got a taxi from the hotel at 07:30 and was at the mouth of the River Esk by 08:15. We began by scanning the waders and gulls at the river mouth, these included Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed GullCommon Gull, Bar-tailed Godwit, RedshankCurlew and Turnstone. There were many Goldeneye (c.150) offshore and small flocks of Eider (c.70). We walked eastwards scanning the inland grassland and sea seeing relatively little but for a fine male Long-tailed Duck which was relatively close to shore. We then walked back westwards, around the River Esk and over the footbridge and as far as Beach Lane at Fisherow where scanning produced Velvet Scoter (around 50), Common Scoter (10) Long-tailed Duck (c.50) and eventually Trev picked out the Surf Scoter, asleep, at some distance with Velvet Scoter. Here there were also small numbers of Great-crested Grebe and three Slavonian Grebe. I had visited Musselburgh Lagoon previously in December 2013 when there were several thousand Common Scoter offshore and I was somewhat surprised to see that there were so few birds present at the site now. We walked to the small harbour at Fisherow and birded this area seeing nothing new and eventually got a taxi to collect us at 12:00 to return us to Edinburgh and lunch with Sarah and Julie.

View of Edinburgh from our hotel, the Balmoral Hotel

On 5th storm Desmond struck and so we did a whisky tour, the rest of the day is a bit of a blur!

Male Long-tailed Duck - Musselburgh

The River Esk at Musselburgh