21/2/17 – Clarissa on Corstorphine Hill

I think it’s official. I am a bit of a birder. It’s one thing to spend some time peering out the window at the birds in your garden… but it’s another entirely to go out on a cycle specifically to a destination you hope you’ll see more of them! Even worse, I learned about this place from a “bird walk” I went on a year or so ago. I guess I may as well hand off some bucks to the RSPB–because I am smitten!

My location of choice was Corstorphine Hill. One of the amazing bits of living in Edinburgh is just how much access there is to green space, particularly those in the form of big ol’ volcanic remnant hills like Arthur’s Seat and Blackford Hill, along with Corstorphine.

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Here’s a cheeky map used in something called the 7 Hills Run, which features all the various hills and crags around Edinburgh. My birding area is in upper left hand side right smack alongside the Edinburgh Zoo. You can actually hear the monkeys howling and peer through a bit of fencing inside where you can see wallabies and zebras. In my case though I just saw people lined up looking back at me–disappointing for all parties, really.

I did spot a tiny wren though. I love how diminutive they are and their wee stubby tails.

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It was a lovely day, if overcast and windy, and eventually as I traipsed up the hill I found myself at the place I’d seen loads of birds on my prior bird walk. It’s a stone wall overlooking a particularly stunning view of Arthur’s Seat.

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Look at those posh golfers. Psht. Just ignoring the beautiful scenery and punting balls around.

Just to maximize the loveliness of it all, there’s a bench for sittin’ and the birds are used to people bringing them snacks every day. I was disappointed to see that no one had left food out for them at my arrival, but as I’d brought a PB&J and some nuts, I generously decided to share.

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Here’s a nuthatch after enjoying some PBJ crumbs. Good tastes mate.

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And here’s a great tit spitting out a blurry piece of apple I also left out for them. Cheeky bugger. He liked the crumbled walnuts though, so it’s fine.

To finish here’s a wee robin as I was leaving who gave me what I’ve discovered is a “whisper song.” The robins at my nursery job were very curious and hung about as close as they could basically get without being stepped on. It was then that I noticed they would warble quietly to themselves from the bushes nearby. After some research I found other people had noticed some birds doing this as well, and many think it’s a sort of practice for their big gutsy songs that warn off competitors or attract the ladies.

Whatever the reason, I think it is absurdly adorable. I had a hard time catching any in the act–when they spotted me trying to record them they would inevitably stop and just give me the beady eyeball.

This one however gave me a little song! It’s less than a minute before he darts off to hunt for some worms, but at least I finally caught one in the act.

 

 

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