A heron, an egret and an otter walk into a bar ... no joke, but it made me smile

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After my “stushie” last week about seeing what I thought was a glaucous gull on my local stretch of the Ettrick, I finally received confirmation from the experts that it was indeed that rare arctic visitor, after seeing my photographs.

How can I top that? Maybe I can’t, but reader P.Y. has already gone one better. While walking her dogs along the banks of the Tweed last week, she was excited to spot a pure white egret on the opposite bank, being stalked by a heron.

It didn’t stop there.

Just as she attempted to take some pictures (without the benefit of a telephoto lens), an otter popped out from an upturned boat and moved into the frame.

So not only did she capture the heron (good) and the egret (brilliant) but also the otter (once in a lifetime).

I have reproduced her picture here for your collective amazement.

Don’t forget, if you see anything of interest and manage to get a decent picture, drop me an e-mail to corbie@homecall.co.uk

The fine open weather has restricted the birds in my garden to basic numbers, but last week I did notice a couple of handsome male bramblings amongst the chaffinches.

There seems to be a few around this year, so it is worth checking chaffinch flocks for these more brightly coloured Scandinavian visitors, whose white rump is a giveaway when they fly off.

On the subject of garden birds, I hope you have all registered for the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, which takes place during this coming weekend (January 25 and 26).

I have just done so and will be sitting with binoculars at hand and a supply of coffee and Hobnobs, ready for all-comers.

Sunday was my first wildfowl count of the year and the lack of ice at the three lochs which I survey, facilitated quite a high count.

At one loch, I was particularly pleased to account for an unusually high number of whooper swans (23).

It was flat and calm, and the birds’ eerie honking was echoing off the surrounding hills, making a strange cacophony of sound, mixed in with the whistling of more than 40 wigeon.