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Firth Watching at Joppa

Long-tailed Duck

It’s not quite sea. I suppose there’s some technical line where the Forth ends and the North Sea begins but I’m sure it doesn’t cross Edinburgh. I suppose also there’s a line in the Forth where Edinburgh ends but I count everything I see from Joppa on my city list.

So it was that yesterday I added grey plover to Edinburgh. Actually, it was picking around on the shore rocks, so no question there. Farther out – some very far – I also scoped red-breasted merganser, velvet scoter, eider, goldeneye, great black-backed gull and a very handsome male long-tailed duck. The rocks also added ringed plover, purple sandpiper, turnstone and the usual suspects of redshank, curlew and oystercatcher for a cracking haul of species.

That shifted the year list, up to 64, but more surprising is Edinburgh’s new total of 119. As a bona fide city, this is second only to Mountain View, in Silicon Valley, which has the huge advantage of Shoreline Park – a site I birded extensively for three years. A site to which I also always drove whereas a year’s worth of Edinburgh is down to foot- and bus-power. It’s my top eco-city list!

Is anyone else sad enough to keep such counts?

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