Scotland Day 26: Baby Coots, Hen Harriers, and Arthur's Seat

Birds sighted: Graylag geese, Mute Swan, Coot, Hen Harrier, Raven, Jackdaw, Rock pigeon, Mallards

Looking down onto Salisbury Crags and Edinburgh from Arthur's Seat

Today we were supposed to go to Roslyn Chapel, but the bus never came (Prince Harry was attending a memorial at St. Giles and the ensuing traffic scluffuffle turned everything on its head). Thus we decided to climb Arthur’s Seat instead. Fortified with bananas and peanut butter and good strong Scottish breakfast tea, we set off once again for Holyrood Park.

Jackdaw (I like how these birds manage to look jaunty and snarky at the same time)

Sadly, the gorse is no longer blooming and Salisbury Crags and Arthur’s Seat are no longer glowing yellow. Instead the birds decided to put on a show. We watched a young male Hen Harrier hunting, hovering and diving into the grass after its prey, in the saddle between Whinny Hill and Arthur’s Seat.


After conquering Arthur’s Seat This Traveler returned to St. Margaret’s Loch. Sometimes patience is rewarded. When I was last here, the female coot was brooding on her nest, out in the middle of the loch. I was able to photograph the male. But now, three weeks later, the eggs have hatched and the proud couple are parents to four of the ugliest little babies you ever did see. I fell in love with them immediately.

Mother Coot and three of the four cootlings (Click for larger view)

Father Coot bringing dinner

Mother Coot

A rather wet Mute Swan

Mute Swan shaking the water out of its feathers

Graylag goose

Tufted Duck

Graylag Goose

Father Coot on the hunt


  1. Arthur's seat is such a bracing place to visit, the view from the top is spectacular! I'm visiting Edinburgh again next weekend so you have whetted my appetite :)


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