On Sunday past, two House Martins were circling the houses at the end of Cotgreen Road, obviously stocking up their flight resources for their autumn migration flight.

Elsewhere in the Borders there have been reports of Swallow and Sand Martin this past weekend. At 9.15pm on Saturday night a flock of Pink-footed Geese passed over my house from north to south, probably heading for the Solway or Lancashire.

On the same day, a trip was made to the middle Teviot to look for Whooper Swans as two were reported earlier in the week and six noted at Dowlaw Dam near Cockburnspath.

However, the trip produced nothing, so they may have moved on.

On September 17 the local branch of the Scottish Ornithologist’s Club organised a field trip to St Abb’s Head. Several members met up at the main car park at the visitor centre and shared transport to the car park just near the lighthouse.

The sun was out but a strong wind was encountered. The group set off to explore the west side of Mire Loch but found the wind too strong to make the birds show.

Birds were present but keeping a low profile and the noise of the wind rustling the leaves did not help to locate birds by their calls. A Blue Tit appeared along with Wren and Dunnock. Several Chiffchaff uttered their contact calls and a Goldcrest was seen briefly.

On the Mire Loch a pair of Mute Swans protected three well-grown cygnets. Tucked into the reeds was a Little Grebe and as we walked down to the dam end several Moorhen called.

Mallard, Tufted Duck and Coot were added to the site list.

As the group moved slowly along the track several Speckled Wood butterflies sunned themselves. At the dam end at the edge of the willows there were about 20 Red Admirals. But no unusual migrant birds.

The group headed up the path back towards the carpark, but again few birds. In the bay and on the cliffs near the car park were a few Fulmars and a steady passage of Gannets. The odd Guillemot passed but no significant movement on the sea. At the lighthouse a pair of House Martins were still catching insects for a late brood. The lighthouse walled garden had been receiving migrants but on the visit only two Robin made an appearance. Interesting, however, was the discovery of male and female Small Copper butterflies and seven Pinkfeet coming in off the sea.

After lunch at the lighthouse garden, the party headed down to Burnmouth to examine the shore for waders. After scanning the foreshore Curlew, Redshank, Oystercatcher and Turnstone were found. Around the harbour were several Great Blacked Gulls, one of which carried a yellow colour ring, the details of which have been registered on the British Trust for Ornithologist online form for reporting ringed birds.

At the moment the result has still to be received as regards where it was ringed. A Mute Swan was feeding in one of the rock pools and a Goosander was asleep at the edge of a pool. The only other birds of interest were a Rock Pipit and Peregrine.

From Burnmouth some of the party headed inland to Foulden to view a small pond for wildfowl and waders. On the way down to the site from the village two Tree Sparrows and some Collared Dove were noted. On the pond we found a couple of Greylag but a few days previously there had been several hundred. Some 21 Pink-feet were present but before we left another 23 arrived. The pond was scanned thoroughly but no waders present, only four Pied Wagtails. A few Wigeon and Teal were added bringing the total for the three sites to 56.

After the members had finished up for the day, the warden at St Abb’s reported on a short sea watch which he had undertaken later in the day. During our visit there was nothing unusual moving over the sea but the warden accounted for an adult Pomarine Skua, a Manx Shearwater and four Red-breasted Merganser. Then at 9.20am the next day another birder had a Sabine’s Gull with Kittiwakes and an Artic Skua. Then on September 19 a Mediterranean Gull appeared over the warden’s cottage and there was a fly-past by a Grey Plover.

These sightings had obviously aroused interest and a two-hour sea watch first thing on September 20 saw three Arctic Skua flying north, 14 Red-throated Divers, nine north, five south and 18 Common Scoter flying north.

Less common migrants began to appear towards the end of the week with Lesser White Throat, Yellow-browed Warbler, Wood Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Barred Warbler, Yellow Wagtail, Redstart and Black Redstart.

In the following week Barnacle Geese passed over. This illustrates that birdwatching at this time of year can be exciting. An odd sighting was that of an Albatross species flying north but it looks as though no one else picked it up.