One of the things I am doing this year is a bird challenge along with some other bird watchers where we have to record as many different species of birds seen in our home patch. We have to stick within a five mile radius of our house. This has resulted in us visiting places in our area where we have not actually been to bird watch and revisiting places close at hand which we had forgotten about.
The year started well as I had lots of winter visitors in the garden. I also saw some birds that I might not have seen easily. The first of course was the Kingfisher but I also saw a Merlin down at Findhorn. The Merlin was too far away for a picture but I managed to video it for identification. So far I have reached seventy-five in my bird count.
With this in mind I have been going regularly to Sanquhar Pond in town and to Brodie Castle Pond. As well as the usual Mallards and Moorhens at both places, the swans have returned to Sanquhar and there have been swans at Brodie for a while. At Sanquhar there has been a pair of Tufted Ducks and recently there were three Goosanders, a male and two females. Then a few days later at Brodie I saw three Goosanders, again one male and two females although one of the females flew off. It was possible that these were the same ones seen at Sanquhar so we went up to Sanquhar to see and certainly the ones there were not around, but they have been seen in Sanquhar since then. There was also a Cormorant sunning itself on a log at Sanquhar. There used to be one or two Cormorants a few years ago at Sanquhar but I don’t think I saw any last year.
At Brodie Pond there were four Tufted Ducks and lots of Mallards. Although the male Mallard is the more striking of the two, in the right light the tawny-brown and black colours of the female can stand out also. Brodie Pond has a lot of Moorhens and some Coots. It also has at least four Little Grebes. Little Grebes are very shy birds and although you can hear them they usually disappear under water as soon as they sense your presence. However, I think they are getting more confiding as certainly the ones at Brodie seem to swim past ignoring people. It would be lovely if they breed there so that we can have a chance to see their young.