Thursday 8 November 2012

Linlithgow - Airngath Hill, circle walk, Saturday 3rd November, 12.30pm to 2.40pm

Something I love to do when out on a walk is to make a complete list of all the bird species seen. It makes me that little bit more observant and I end up with a page in my notebook (more often a scrap of paper) that I can look back at and compare the next time I take that route. The British Trust for Ornithology's BirdTrack is an easy-to-use online system where you can record these complete lists. The information is really valuable in the understanding and protection of our wildlife and countryside.

So, last Saturday I decided to treat myself to an afternoon break. It was a nice day and I'd been indoors all morning. My brother's 'Hallo-Fawkes' fancy dress party was that evening and I'd nearly completed the owl mask I was going to wear. I made a circular walk through Fiddler's Croft at the east end of the Loch, up the tree-lined avenue towards the Grange then turning right at the top into the thin stretch of wood along the south side of Airngath Hill.

A deer a little upslope -antlers starting to grow- looked alertly then bounded away, white rump bouncing. I stopped in the woods to climb two trees, both horse chestnuts, one still living but lying on its side. I got far further 'up' this one than under normal circumstances! My circle was completed by coming down the country road past the Bonsyde Hotel and skirting back into Linlithgow.

Birds seen:

coal tit
blue tit
great tit
siskin - three or four, in large hedgerow at the east end of Fiddler's Croft.
song thrush - in Airngath Hill woods. Probably two. Beautiful fawn-white-tan colouring.
pied wagtail
tufted duck
greylag goose
great crested grebe
little grebe
common gull
black headed gull
mute swan

30 species... only two hours. You don't realise just how much is out there until you really start to look.

Of course, the walk being over I then have to come home, write it up, prepare it for my blog, log my bird list online - a two hour walk becomes rather longer.

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