2nd February 2014 - Loch Leven, Mussleburgh and Innerleithen

The plan the day before we left was to pack as much in as possible.  This involved going to Loch Leven in the morning, Mussleburgh in the afternoon and then on to try and find a road South of Edinburgh we had once driven down and seen our first Red and Black Grouse - we vaguely knew it was South East.  Hmm.

As we had to drop Stuart's dad off at a set time, we only had a short while at Loch Leven, where we practically sprinted to the hide, had a 5 minute scan of the view and then sprinted back to the car.  I'd definitely like to spend a lot longer there at some point as it's lovely.  The quick visit came up with a decent 20 species, including Pink-footed Goose, a new one for the year list.  Stuart also saw a Red Squirrel but unfortunately I was lagging behind trying to find the Goldcrest I could hear and completely missed it.

After dropping Stuart's dad off, we headed to Mussleburgh.  Everyone should go to Musselburgh, I had an excellent afternoon there, despite not finding out they had lagoons filled with birds until we were leaving.  A Dipper on the River Esk filled the time as we waited at traffic lights to head up to the point.  The first exciting spot out to sea was a group of Long-tailed Duck.  We've only ever seen individual female Long-tailed Duck before, so a mixed group was absolutely amazing.  Plenty of Goldeneye were in the mouth of the river and large groups of Eider just a little further out.  A few Oystercatcher flew by making a racket and a couple of Red-breasted Merganser flew past, the second time I'd ever seen them.  The other side of the wall were a group of Turnstone and a group of Redshank.  The Turnstone were rather confiding but the Redshank flew off the second I even peeked over the wall!  

Credit goes to Stuart who found and IDed a lifer for us - Velvet Scoter.  We spent a lot longer than we meant to at Mussleburgh because we were busy admiring them.  Some Common Scoter joined them and then we really did have to tear ourselves away and head to find the mystery road.

After some googling and staring at a map, we determined that the B7007 becoming the B709 was the right road.  It was getting close to dusk so we headed down the road towards Innerleithen.  Within a short while we spotted a Grouse but unfortunately it was silhouetted and flew off immediately - no ID!  However round the corner were 3 Black Grouse happily on the hillside.  We didn't come across any Red Grouse, but also saw many Rook, a couple of Yellowhammer, a Buzzard and a Kestrel.

We had dinner at the lovely Pig'Halle in Perth, definitely recommended.


Trip list: 27
Year list: 88
Lifers of year list: 3


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