Weekend Away To Lothian - February 2018

The Birdwatching Group enjoyed a successful weekend trip to the Lothian coast. Here are some of my photos from the trip.

[click on a photo for a larger view]

We stopped at the WWT's Washington reserve on the journey up. First stop for me was the Hawthorn Hide where there are feeders up to attract woodland birds.

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First up is a Great Spotted Woodpecker, in to feed on some fat spread on a tree. You can see how it uses its tail as a prop.

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There were several Bullfinches coming in to the feeders. These are the colourful males. They squabble a lot.

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This is a female, much drabber than the males.

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A family party of Long-tailed Tits were frequent visitors in to the feeder area.

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This Treecreeper was flitting about at the bottom of the trees in the feeder area.

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Great Spotted Woodpecker again. This one is a male - you can tell by the red patch on the back of his head. Compare this bird with the first image. Again you can clearly see how he uses his tail for support.

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This Redshank was feeding in the lagoon next to the River Tees.

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A drake Goldeneye out on the River Tees.

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Part of the Collection, but always nice to see Common Cranes.

On Sunday morning some of the Group were persuaded to go out at 7am for a pre-breakfast walk by the River Tyne that flows through Haddington (not to be confused with the River Tyne that flows through Newcastle-upon-Tyne).

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It was still quite dark as the sun had barely risen above the horizon.

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The old stone arch bridge in Haddington, the scene of much excitement to come. This is now just a pedestrian crossing.

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The river is quite calm and slow flowing at this point due to the weir just downstream.

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A view of the weir and the modern Victoria Bridge that carries the road traffic over the river.

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The view upstream from Victoria Bridge showing the weir. You can just see the old stone arch bridge in the distance.

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There was a flock of Goosander on the river above the weir. The first photo is a male while the second photo is a female.

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Some Mallards on the weir.

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There were also Tufted Ducks on the river. This one is a drake.

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Great excitement on the way back to the hotel! There were otters in the river by the old stone arch bridge. Unless the otter is a contortionist, it looks like there may be 2 otters in the first photo. However they soon separated and I could only photograph one at a time. They were obviously feeding but I'm not sure what they were feeding on - I never saw them eating any fish. Apparently there were 3 otters in total.

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As if the otters weren't good enough, we also had a Kingfisher here at the bridge. Some members had briefly seen a Kingfisher earlier in the morning but we all had the best views now. It was successfully fishing and catching some small fish. Maybe it was following the otters to take advantage of any fish disturbed by them. The hazy blob in the background of the third photo is an otter.

Later in the day we visited Aberlady Bay and walked out to Gullane Point.

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There were a lot of Roe Deer about. I reckon we saw at least a dozen over the weekend.

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We stopped at Gullane Point for lunch. It provided a good vantage point to view the large numbers of birds out on the sea.

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The view across Aberlady Bay. Edinburgh is just off the extreme right of the photo. In the foreground you can see some of the World War 2 defences. The Firth of Forth area was rated as a likely site for a German invasion so thousands of large concrete blocks were installed along the coast to impede the progress of enemy tanks and other vehicles. Many have since been removed but these ones still remain.

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Roosting Turnstones and Redshanks on the sea wall near Musselburgh.

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A closer view of some of the Redshanks.

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There was a considerable flock of Oystercatchers on the spit on the River Esk estuary at Musselburgh.

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Oystercatchers flying.

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