Linlithgow’s Nuthatch – is this a first?

On retiring in 2002 it was a great delight to linger over dishes when really watching birds at our feeders in the back garden. I wrote then for LT about the joy of watching a tree creeper on our splendid Betula albo-sinensis.

In September 2015 these delights were surpassed by what became almost daily sightings of a Nuthatch. It made frequent visits at different times of day and was last seen in late October.

Checking out with the Scottish Ornithologists Club reveals that the recently published 2013 Lothian Bird Report says there were only six Nuthatch reported for West Lothian that year, five of which were at Hopetoun House. In East and Midlothian it is widespread. But in West Lothian, Allan Finlayson of Lothian Bird News confirms the Nuthatch is still a rarity, although he heard one calling in Wester Shore Wood, Blackness, on 24 August. Gavin Stewart also heard one at Abercorn on 1 October.

Please keep your eyes open for this delightful little bird with slate back and buff belly, sharp beak and eye-stripe. Be enchanted by the way it hangs upside down when feeding, and do note that sunflower hearts seem to be irresistible.

Averil Stewart