Outing to Glen Esk 8th May 2022

Fifteen members gathered at Edzell with two more joining later. The weather started fair but cloudy and not too cold, temperature in the low teens. Five cars made their way to the car park at the top of the glen where we started walking up to Loch Lee. On our journey up the glen those in our car saw song thrush, mistle thrush and blackbird, a few swallows, jackdaw, oystercatcher and plenty of lapwing, which was heartening to see. Two partridge were spotted in a field close to the road, so we stopped to identify them, they were grey partridge, and within a few hundred yards on the other side of the road there were three red legged partridge. Also seen were pied wagtail and curlew. Others on their journey reported seeing herring gull, lesser black-backed as well as shelduck, collard dove and a black grouse. We failed to find either adder or slow worm in the field by the river but a slow worm was seen later by two members. Crossing the river there was a dipper feeding a youngster and also grey wagtail on the river bank. Willow warblers, blue tits and coal tits were merrily singing away. A cuckoo was heard calling some distance away, and we heard them quite a lot during the day but unfortunately never saw one. A redstart was heard singing and, while we were looking for it, a tree pipit was seen and two redpolls flew overhead calling. The redstart was eventually located but good views of it were limited, A treecreeper was also seen at this location as well as a red kite. Walking further along the path, house martin and meadow pipit were seen as well as common sandpiper. By the time we reached the loch we had not seen any wheatears as expected, but soon we were seeing quite a number on the mountainside. We spent some time looking for ring ouzel, one of the target species for the day. One of our group had reported seeing one briefly not long after reaching the loch, but this was not seen by others. After quite some time we eventually heard one calling but despite all of us searching the mountainside we could not locate it. We were about to give up and start our walk back to the carpark for lunch when a ring ouzel was disturbed and flew by, giving us lovely views. While sitting at Tarfside for lunch in the sun a peregrine was spotted some distance away over the hills and a siskin was calling nearby. After lunch we returned about half a mile up the road to try to see moorland birds, we did not see grouse as we had hoped for but saw another red kite, raven, common gull and some adorable lapwing chicks. On our return down the glen we stopped at various places. At the sand martin colony site, we saw a few sand martins flying around. Further on, in a wooded area we were surprised to hear a wood warbler singing as this is not a common bird in Angus. We located it with some difficulty and everyone got stunning views. Also a garden warbler was seen and heard and an osprey flew overhead. One eagle-eyed member spotted a woodcock hunkering down in the grass beside a stone, we were all amazed at how she had managed to spot it. We had seen 57 bird species throughout the day. We also saw, roe deer, red deer, red squirrel, rabbit, hare and rat. Two “peacocks” were seen, peacock butterfly and a peacock, not recorded on our list as not wild in Scotland. It had been a wonderful day birdwatching and a very enjoyable outing to Glen Esk.