Day two in Edinburgh, Good Friday, and we awoke to glorious bright sunshine. A hearty breakfast was taken as our hosts at the B&B regaled us of tales when the sun last shone this brightly in Scotland!
Travelling into the city centre together, Team Sausage parted at Waverley Station and I embarked on the two-mile walk to Duddingston Loch in Holyrood Park.
My chosen route took me around the bottom of Arthur’s Seat, the large hill formed by an extinct volcano that rises above Edinburgh. As I made my way along Duddingston Low Road, the yellow gorse flowers around me were alive with bird song. Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Wren, Robin and Greenfinch could all be heard and fleetingly seen as the day got warmer and brighter. I was able to pick out the odd Greenfinch as I made my way around.
It was the corvids that were really dominating Arthur’s Seat though. Crows were constantly soaring up above, their guttral caw-caw call cutting through the melodious warblers and finches. Curious, strutting Jackdaw were also in good numbers and looking quite handsome in the sunlight.
Duddingston Loch was a shimmering mirror of water as I made my way down to the water’s edge, greeted by a quite unafraid Canada Goose.
Bird activity though was more akin to a sleepy summers day. Despite it being spring-time, when nest-building, courtship and breeding are all under way, it was as if the un-Scottish weather had caught the local wildlife out and they had to take time to adjust. At least the Mute Swans were looking active. There were several contretemps between the dozen or so Swans on the Loch, feathers raised in aggressive poses to warn of un-wanted suitors.
At times though, an even more intimidating pose was needed:
The trees around me were still active with Chiffchaff and Blue and Great Tits particularly numerous. On the water I had one distant Great Crested Grebe, half a dozen Greylag Geese and the usual Mallards, Coots, Moorhens and a few Canada Geese.
In the trees across the Loch, the occasional sound of a woodpecker drumming echoed across the water. Herring Gulls could be seen settling in groups in the middle of the Loch and generally everything was quite sedate and peaceful. Hopes of a passing Osprey or the chattering scratchy calls of summer warblers remained forlorn hopes for me.
I did discover that Duddingston Loch is home to a large heronry. As I climbed up Arthur’s Seat to walk along Queen’s Drive I could see at least twenty Grey Heron nests on the far side of the Loch. If you click on the picture to enlarge you can just about make out Herons sitting on the nests.
Butterflies were very active in the warm temperature, Peacocks and Orange Tips were by far the most frequently seen.
On my way down Arthur’s Seat Chaffinch and Greenfinch continued to show with great regularity and I could not leave without a few more Greenfinch shots.
Although not a great day for sightings, the weather and the beautiful landscape softened the blow. Shirtsleeves in Edinburgh in April cannot be taken for granted.