Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Guess what I spotted...

The weather today (20/06) was nice and sunny again so I decided to take a walk this afternoon. I wanted to stay local so I headed down to the Conon River. I took the route of the Lady's Walk which takes you West up along the Conon River and starts at the Drouthy Duck, the local pub.

I parked in the small carpark and straight away I could see a group of young Blue Tits flying around the trees and 3-4 Willow Warblers. It was a great day to be out and everything was in full bloom and buzzing. I made my along the track under the railway bridge where there is a small group of large Larch trees, one which had snapped in half years ago. I got a brief glimpse of what I thought was a medium sized bird, brownish in colour and assumed it was a Song Thrush. Then the bird popped out of nowhere and landed on one of the Larch branches not 3 metres in front of me. I knew straight away what it was, a Spotted Flycatcher! My first ever and I was so pleased as it was nice to see something new and so close to home. As I watched the bird it was joined by a second bird, a pair! I watched them both for a good 30 minutes getting great views as they flew in and out of the big broken Larch and hopped off branches catching beakfuls of flies.

Carrying on with my walk the path takes you out of the trees and alongside a field. You can usually walk through the edge of the field but a new fence has been put up and a new path has become more obvious although it is currently very overgrown.

There didn't seem to be a crop in the field it was full of Clover, Red Clover, Buttercups, Oxeye Daisies, Dandelions and some stunning Poppies. Plently of Swallows flying over the field catching insects and a group of young Goldfinches begging for food in a large Oak tree was nice to see. After several hundred metres the track goes back down to the river edge and I spotted an Oystercatcher on one of the shingle banks calling repeatedly and a Grey Heron flying upstream. There were also Chaffinches, Robins, Blue Tits and more Willow Warbler song coming from the Alder trees. Further along again where the river splits to create Dunglass Island I found a Common Sandpiper on a different shingle bank on the far side and it was probing in and around the water's edge for food. I took a few moments to sit in the sun and watch it as a pair of Bullfinch landed in the tree above me.

A Buzzard and a Red Kite gave pretty good views over the adjacent fields as I decided to make my way back along the way I came. I was actually pretty keen to get back to the Spotted Flycatchers to see if they were still there and they were! I enjoyed them for a further 20 minutes before heading back to the car. It's always great to see something new but it's even better when it is just down the road from where you live, a very enjoyable afternoon.

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