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Another Successful Foray Into East Lothian
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My intentions were to go to Tyninghame but with the reports coming out on Friday of the Red Necked Phalarope in Ayrshire and the Cattle Egret in Lothian, some detailed planning was required.
I looked into both options, public transport wise, and both were doable. Next consideration was if they go 'pear shaped' are there any back up plans. Again yes to both there were other birds locally if the targets had gone.
In the end Lothian won simply because I know the area better and can chop and change any plan and still get to the birds, usually. So Lothian it was to be.
My plan was not to charge straight to Praro Farm because if the bird had gone, I would be stuck out in the middle of nowhere!
So I went to Musselburgh to see if it appeared on BirdGuides or Twitter.
I went to the scrapes and quickly got Little Stint (year tick), Spotted Redshank, Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper and all the usual suspects. Unusually there were one or two Oycs!
I then went down to the sea wall where I quickly picked up Red Necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Velvet Scoter and the drake Surf Scoter (first time it has been seen since April/May so it's back for the winter). There were Terns and Gannets aplenty offshore with one marauding Bonxie. Then 5 skuas went west but I couldn't identify them. Geoff Morgan got a photo of one and he isn't sure what it was either! (Now identified as juvenile Arctic Skuas)
Then I got word on Twitter that the Cattle Egret had reappeared.
So I packed up and walked from the sea wall to Wallyford Station only to find there were no trains running all day. Wonderful! There were replacement buses running but nothing to tell you where they left from because a bus wouldn't be able to turn in the car park outside Wallyford Station. Eventually I found out where they left from after running around in a panic/rage because as usual Scotrail had totally forgotten about their customers!
Any way eventually I got on the bus heading for Drem. I got off and started walking towards Praro Farm. There were a few people on the road but none of them had seen it. Eventually someone saw it distantly on the other side of the railway. We then had to try to find a route that took us over or under the railway!
We went down to the farm and met the owner. He couldn't have been more friendly and helpful. He was absolutely delighted to have a Lothian first on his land.
I should say at this point that this guy was very enlightened. Behind his farm buildings he had a solar panel array and a sewage treatment plant which drained into a common reed bed to finshed the job off.
There were Swallows aplenty near the farm as well.
We headed off down the track which led to a bridge under the railway, there was a gate under there which we had to climb over. Just beyond the bridge there was a field with cattle in it and there it was the Cattle Egret! A cracking little bird which was quite confiding. We watched it for about 30-40 minutes busily feeding away and the headed back.
On the way back, there was a guy with crutches and bins heading down to see the bird. We told him about the gate and offered to give him a hand to get over it. It required a bit of effort but we all had a bit of a laugh about it. Comments like "I might have to shove your a*** a bit to lift you up but it doesn't mean we're engaged or anything" were heard.We walked him down so he could see the bird which he duly did.
On the way back I decided to check the chain which was holding the gate shut and it wasn't even locked! We absolutely p*****d ourselves laughing at that point as we walked easily through the gate. But we all got to see the bird and that is what matters.
On the way home there was a bad accident between Prestonpans and Levenhall Roundabout so we got diverted. 2 hours to get from Gullane to Edinburgh.
A great day, lots of laughs and lots of quality birds.

Bluebill Send private message
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Post Re: Another Successful Foray Into East Lothian 
bluebill another very good report.

i am looking for advise suggestions, at present i use a swarovski ATS80hd with a times 45 eyepiece, have been looking at the new swarovski 25-50 eye piece and wonder if anybody out there has used or tried it out and what if any hints , suggestions they may have would be much appreciated

bemused eagle

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