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Thursday, 5 February 2015

Inverleith Pond, Edinburgh, February 3rd 2015: Highlights - Redwing and Water Rail

Having heard through the Lothian Birding network (www.birdinglothian.co.uk) that a Water Rail was present at Inverleith Pond, and therefore being only a short walk from work, this was an opportunity for me to see a new bird.

Inverleith Pond, in Inverleith Park, is to the North West of the centre of Edinburgh surrounded by park-land and allotments, and only a short distance from the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Map of the area:




I arrived first thing in the morning as the sun was coming up - it was freezing cold. No sign of the Water Rail. The pond was frozen solid and the Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) were having difficulty getting around and finding broken patches of ice.






I then noticed signs of movement on the grass bank around the pond. Lots of medium size thrush-like birds. Some were quite accepting of me being quite close. Red underwing patches were clearly visible which helped the identification: Redwing (Turdus iliacus), and there were 27 in all.







Still no sign of the Water Rail though. Looking through the reed beds from the convenient walk-ways two other species of wading birds were present, other members of the Rail family (Rallidae): Coot (Fulica atra) - who were looking like they had had a cold night on the ice. Interesting to see those amazing feet in close-up.





and Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus), who had at least found some moving water.



There were other birds there too including a Robin (Erithacus rubecula),




and a Blackbird (Turdus merula),




and a flock of Black-headed Gulls (Chroicocephalus ridibundus).




After lunch the search continued....

There were a couple of other bird-watchers present when I arrived which was a good sign and sure enough it wasn't long before the Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus) was spotted. Oblivious to the noisy school-children passing, and the dog-walkers, it walked round the reed beds trying to find insects to feed on. It was a great looking bird with striking plumage, including the flashing white tail and red bill. Fantastic to see three members of the Rail family all on one pond.









I also took some video footage of it carefully walking across the ice. A great time spent watching a new bird, and some old favourites.

LINK to YouTube






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