Saturday, 4 August 2018

Seamill and West Kilbride :: 30 July - 03 August 2018

Our summer visit to my parents in Scotland usually results in a number of coastal walks, before breakfast each morning. I almost managed each of the five days but on Thursday we opted for a shopping trip with the girls to Silverburn in Glasgow.

Ever hopeful I was on the beach by 6.40am and noted the usual suspects at the bottom of the burn leading into the sea - lots of gulls, carrion crows, rooks and jackdaws. I turned and headed for the bridge that crossed the burn hoping to see the dippers - my last few visits have resulted in zero sightings, I suspect due to the rebuilding of the wall beside the burn and the disturbance this caused. Unfortunately no sign.

Ringed ploverAlong the beach and I picked up linnet, redshank, curlew, oystercatcher and gannets out to sea. I stopped and watched some rocks, picking out some juvenile dunlin who comically hopped higher and higher up the rocks as the sea came in. Both shag and cormorants out at sea with shelduck flying past (single).

As I returned to the hotel I watched sand martins entering the pipes in the hotel retaining wall. These were joined in flight by house martin and swallows.

Dipper juvenileThe next morning I was back on the beach but on this occasion was overjoyed to see a juvenile dipper feeding ahead. This was followed shortly by close views of an adult. Out further along the coast to the Waterside Inn I had good views of ringed plover and willow warbler. Out to sea I could also see a pair of sandwich tern fishing.

A ringed plover started calling and then lead me away from where it must have been nesting. It clambered across the rocks, making sure I was paying attention and following.

On the third morning I decided to head out to Portencross beach and hoped to catch up with e sandwich terns that usually hang out on the rocks. Unfortunately there were none. DipperTo begin with there wasn't much else but eventually as the sea went out small mixed flocks of ringed plover and dunlin arrived. Not the best morning I've spent there!

On my final morning I saw some interesting looking ducks and got quite excited - they turned out to be juvenile shelduck. No sign of the dippers as I headed out but I came across a young willow warbler in the hedge ahead. As I reached the turn I saw small flocks of linnet and meadow pipit. As I watched I saw a pied wagtail chasing a linnet along the beach. The linnet dropped and then sized up to the juvenile pied wagtail. After a short standoff, the linnet flew at the pied wagtail and then off Linnet vs pied wagtailback down the beach with the wagtail in pursuit. I thought this odd behaviour but then remembered the juvenile pied wagtails at Grimsbury Reservoir chasing a common sandpiper earlier in the summer.

The ringed plover performed the same show as I passed.

Back at the burn I found that the juvenile dipper was feeding, further out of view than my previous visit. Glad they are back and looking forward to following them again.

Willow warblerSightings on my walks (42) included: black-headed gull, blue tit, carrion crow, common gull, common sandpiper, cormorant, curlew, dipper, dunlin, dunnock, eider, gannet, goldfinch, great black-backed gull, grey heron, herring gull, house martin, house sparrow, jackdaw, lesser black-backed gull, linnet, magpie, mallard, meadow pipit, mute swan, oystercatcher, pied wagtail, ringed plover, robin, rock dove / feral pigeon, rook, sand martin, sandwich tern, sedge warbler, shag, shelduck, song thrush, starling, swallow, whitethroat, willow warbler and woodpigeon.

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