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Old Tuesday 11th May 2004, 22:30   #26
Andrew Whitehouse
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Must have missed the Whimbrel this evening Rob, but saw the 2 Greenshanks. Also saw 6 Goosander (including 5 drakes) and 5 Pink-feet around Guardbridge. On the outer part of the estuary there were at least 15 Little Terns and, rather unusually, a drake Velvet Scoter.

Have a good time in the Hebrides.
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Old Tuesday 11th May 2004, 22:49   #27
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Surprised you've had so few Whimbrel - there's been loads of them in Northumbs the last 2 weeks (flocks of 30+). But no Greenshanks. Maybe its a different type of mud, that Whimbrels don't like, and Greenshank do?

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Old Tuesday 18th May 2004, 09:18   #28
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Got back from the Hebs last night and have added swift to the garden year list (no. 93). Will post a report on the trip shortly (cinnamon teal, harlequin, all 4 skuas etc.)

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Old Wednesday 19th May 2004, 16:32   #29
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Just been for a twitch home for a little egret! I know they're common darn sarf, but this is about the 4th for Fife. The second was on the saltmarsh in front of the house a week before we moved in (and I dipped it). A helpful colleague gave me a lift home (thanks Chris) as I was on the bike today. I discovered why Sue didn't answer the phone when I rang her - she was down the garden watching it!

When we got there I just saw it fly out of view so we went round to the Eden Estuary Centre for some cracking views. It then flew on to the saltmarsh so went back home and I was able to get proper domestic views!
Sue had goosander earlier (94 for the year), so that's 128 in total and 95 for the year.

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Old Wednesday 19th May 2004, 17:19   #30
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Nice :)

Onny had the one egret here... and it was during an air display! Everyone else was watching the red Arrows!
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Old Thursday 20th May 2004, 15:38   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane Turner
Nice :)

Onny had the one egret here... and it was during an air display! Everyone else was watching the red Arrows!
Don't talk to me about air displays. Made the mistake of not going away for the Leuchars Air Show last year ...
Quite apart from the noise, plane spotters make twitchers seem law abiding, upstanding members of society. You point out to those camped out halfway down the drive that they are on private land and they look at you as though you have 2 heads ...

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Old Thursday 27th May 2004, 09:35   #32
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Well it's all fairly quiet at the moment. I had brief flight views of the little egret on Monday and it may still be around. It's remarkable how elusive a fairly large white bird can be! Goosander sightings are becoming more regular - had a nice drake on Tuesday evening. We should start getting Canada geese soon - on their moult migration to the Beauly Firth. By contrast the black-tailed godwits have departed, I only saw one on the rising tide last night.

At the feeders tree sparrows are very much in evidence, spending a lot more time in the garden than they ever have before. I suspect there is a nest close by.

Rob
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Old Thursday 27th May 2004, 09:38   #33
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Hi Rob,

I think the Canadas are already in! I saw 11 on Balgove Bay on Monday and yesterday evening had 23 flying over the middle of town towards the estuary. Always seem like a slightly more exciting bird here than in most other places. Ahh, the majestic sight of wild geese. Well, fairly wild anyway
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Old Thursday 27th May 2004, 09:43   #34
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Hi Andrew,
I'm not surprised, I half expected to see some this morning. It's good that we only see these "migrant" birds in Fife - long may it continue.

Rob
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Old Thursday 27th May 2004, 09:56   #35
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by edenwatcher
I had brief flight views of the little egret* - remarkable how elusive a fairly large white bird can be!
I saw a Little Egret on my birthday this year, it was on the opposite side of the cut off part of river at beachy head that we were watching Common gulls from about 2 hours earlier on, if that is hard try finding an Egret nest site in the U.K!? Has anyone at BF ever seen a Little Egret at nest in the U.K?
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Old Thursday 27th May 2004, 11:44   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake Apps
I saw a Little Egret on my birthday this year, it was on the opposite side of the cut off part of river at beachy head that we were watching Common gulls from about 2 hours earlier on, if that is hard try finding an Egret nest site in the U.K!? Has anyone at BF ever seen a Little Egret at nest in the U.K?

Yes ...in Cheshire what is more!
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Old Wednesday 2nd June 2004, 12:08   #37
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The egret was showing very well on the saltmarsh when I got home from work yesterday. It flew upstream as I got the video camera out. It seems possible that it will oversummer, which would be nice. Last Thursday evening there was a family of goldcrests beside the drive - an adult with at least 5 newly fledged young. By heck they were small!
Had a possible sighting of a juv. tree sparrow on the bird table last night, but it flew before I could get a proper look at it. It seemd to be begging from the adult sat next to it. The daily appearance of adults in recent weeks has strongly suggested that they are nesting nearby.

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Old Saturday 5th June 2004, 20:47   #38
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Quite a good day for June, although the egret was playing hard to get in the outer estuary.
Lapwings are starting to reappear, there were 17 over this afternoon's (very) high tide. Other waders are in short supply but there were more curlews around and a single blackwit remains.
A flock of a dozen goosanders have showed well the past couple of days. We saw the first shelduck brood this afternoon - an impressive 9.
Best birds of the day were first little gulls of the year (96 for the garden year list) - 2 first summers. Had a new bird at the feeders yesterday morning, a smart jackdaw (a species we under record hugely - with a little effort they can be seen on any given day, but we don't usually have time or inclination). Today the garden was overrun by starlings (>100) - shame none of them was pink ...
Speaking of pink, our star wildflower is in full bloom beside the drive at present - 9 flower spikes of northern marsh orchid.

Rob
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Old Saturday 5th June 2004, 21:28   #39
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Hi Rob,

I still haven't seen the Little Egret. I went down to the outer estuary this afternoon but the tide was quite high by then and I suppose it had gone to wherever it goes at high tide. There wasn't too much else about except at least half a dozen Little Terns.
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Old Monday 7th June 2004, 15:13   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fifebirder
I still haven't seen the Little Egret. I went down to the outer estuary this afternoon but the tide was quite high by then and I suppose it had gone to wherever it goes at high tide. There wasn't too much else about except at least half a dozen Little Terns.
Keep trying Andrew! I think it may spend quite a bit of time at the Goosepools. Haven't had little tern at our end of the estuary yet this year, which is disappointing as we has some nice flocks of up to 16 in early May last year. Caught up with canada goose for the garden yearlist (97) yesterday evening with a flock of 32. Also yesterday had a roe deer on our side of the estuary, although it clearly didn't like it - it swam across to the north shore. I've finally confirmed the presence of a juv. tree sparrow, at least one has been begging enthusiatically the past 2 days. Nice to have them breeding nearby.
5 wigeon and 2 redshank on this morning's high tide - perhaps it's autumn!

Rob
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Old Friday 11th June 2004, 10:07   #41
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Well as Arkwright might say - it's been a funny old week...
At the start of the week dabbling ducks were the source of interest, with at least 3 wigeon remaining until Wednesday, 6 drake teal on Monday evening and most unusually 4 drake gadwall on Tuesday morning. This is a real rarity for us and our highest ever count.
Speaking of highest ever counts 27 mergansers on Wednesday morning was also a record, with 13 goosanders in view at the same time (now up to 17). There are now 2 shelduck broods around with a new brood of 5. All 9 of the first lot are surviving, which is a surprise. Somewhat bizarre was a lone pink-footed goose on Wednesday evening.
Waders have been putting in an appearance in the past couple of days with a ringed plover on Wednesday evening and 3 last night. They normally stay in the outer estuary and are unpredictable in their occurrence with us. Lapwing, curlew and redshank are reappearing, but a whimbrel last night was most unexpected (is it coming or going?).
Also last night 4 1st summer little gulls appeared on the rising tide, and this morning 6 little terns gave very nice views. Our first of the year so that's 98 - the century beckons.

I've been rambling on long enough.

G-G-Granville f-f-fetch a cloth!

Rob
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Old Wednesday 16th June 2004, 21:34   #42
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Well we had our hundredth species for the year this evening - of which more later.
It was a quiet weekend, though we did add a duck scaup to the year's list (present on both days). Strangely we see them most often during the summer months when they appear post breeding, presumably having come from Iceland. I suspect this is too early for that however. Also around at the weekend were a single little tern and an adult little gull (both on Saturday). Shelducks seem to be having a good year, as in addition to the first brood of 9 we have also seen a creche of 20. They are starting to suffer a few losses as the 9 have become 6 and the creche looks like about 15. A fox was seen on both Saturday and Sunday and again this morning.

Species 100 for the garden year list was a treecreeper which began in our lone Scot's Pine and then worked its way along our line of poplars. This is our first record since December 2002.

Rob
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Old Tuesday 22nd June 2004, 17:02   #43
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We were away for the w/e, back yesterday lunchtime. Immediately had the frustrating experience of hearing a moorhen - a species not on our garden list. They occur in the ponds at the bottom of our neighbour's land (where they can be seen from the Eden estuary centre), but these aren't visible from our garden. I feel they should come out on the saltmarsh occasionally but no sign yet ...

Last night I saw a whimbrel among increasing numbers of curlew, and yet another shelduck brood - there are now at least 35 young in our part of the estuary.
This morning a spotted flycatcher became species 101 for the year. They aren't at all easy to see in Fife these days, so it's a privilege to be able to see one from the living room.

Rob
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Old Monday 28th June 2004, 21:23   #44
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Evening all,
It has been quite a varied few days.
Wildfowl:
Yesterday we had 3 drake tufties and a drake scaup. There are still plenty of shelducklings around, the first two are close to fledging. We have seen the first brood of eider ducklings of the year (5). Few pairs breed on the Eden, usually with little success. Yesterday we had our highest ever count of goosander - 36.
Raptors/gamebirds:
Saw a peregrine yesterday, the first for some weeks. Last night 2 grey partridges almost came into the garden itself, the first record of the year (species no. 102).
Waders:
A whimbrel has been around for several days now, a particularly short-billed individual. Also present up to 3 greenshanks. Meanwhile lapwing and curlew numbers are approaching 3 figures.
Gulls and terns:
A single sandwich tern yesterday and 5 this evening. A curious gull was in the roost last night, looking superficially like a med gull. It was a leucistic black-head as far as I could tell (it was 10:30 pm).
Passerines:
The treecreeper past through the garden briefly on Saturday morning.

Time for a summer plumage spotshank ...

Rob
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Old Monday 5th July 2004, 09:54   #45
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A good weekend, with wader passage picking up and some good gulls and terns.
Both days featured very high spring tides, which are always popular with us as the birds are much closer to the house.
On Saturday we had 10 greenshanks among more common waders, whilst yesterday there were 14 (a very high count for early July), plus 4 whimbrel and the first returning black-tailed godwit.
Saturday's highlight was a kittiwake - a species we had been expecting but new for the garden list (#129). Also on Saturday we had 2 arctic terns, 4 sandwich terns and our first common tern of the year (104 for the year).
Yesterday afternoon 8 little gulls appeared (4 adult summers), one of my favourite "garden" birds. This mirrors last year when we had a succession of records in early July (high count 45), mostly adult summers.

This morning as I was refilling the feeders I saw a crow mobbing a buzzard, which in turn was mobbing a fox!

Rob
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Old Monday 12th July 2004, 10:22   #46
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Hi all - is there anyone out there?
Trusting that I'm not talking to myself, here's another update from the Eden.
Yesterday we caught up with one of our bogey birds with a stunning full summer plumage curlew sandpiper (130 for the garden list, 105 for the year). Although the Eden is the best place in Fife for the species, last autumn was so poor for them that we failed to see any. It showed really well over high tide in the morning and was still present this morning.
Other wader highlights include 11 greenshanks and 3 bar-tailed godwits including 2 in full summer plumage ("best" we've had from the garden). Other wise it has been fairly quiet but a pair of common terns has been coming upstream with the tide for past few days and a 1st year female peregrine caused panic among the waders on Saturday morning.

Rob
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Old Monday 12th July 2004, 10:50   #47
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Hi Rob

Just thought I'd send this to let you know there are people reading your reports! Sounds like you have a great garden and a good selection of species. I always enjoy watching waders and your area sounds a particularly good one for them.

Anna
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Old Monday 12th July 2004, 10:53   #48
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Hi Rob,

I went down to Guardbridge yesterday afternoon but didn't see the Curlew Sand. The best birds were 2 Little Gulls, 2 Whimbrel and a Tufted Duck! Also had a Short-eared Owl at Out Head last Tuesday - the first for ages.
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Old Monday 12th July 2004, 11:02   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fifebirder
Hi Rob,

I went down to Guardbridge yesterday afternoon but didn't see the Curlew Sand. The best birds were 2 Little Gulls, 2 Whimbrel and a Tufted Duck! Also had a Short-eared Owl at Out Head last Tuesday - the first for ages.
Hi Andrew
Yesterday afternoon it was a bit distant on the north shore, this morning it was on the bend by the Motray confluence.
Didn't see any of your species yesterday! Quite a few whimbrel around at the moment though. Short-eared owl is still missing from the garden list - over the airfield is probably the best bet ...
Anna - thanks for the reassurance!

Rob
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Old Tuesday 13th July 2004, 09:49   #50
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Last night was a bit of a tern fest, with 4 spp.: single arctic and sandwich, 2 common and, best of all, 10 little (our highest count of the year). Also heard moorhen again (grr!).
This morning 2 new species for the year list (now 107). First were 3 common sandpipers at the mouth of the Motray. We don't see many, as this is as about as far downstream as they ever get and close to as far upstream as we can see! The second new species was a willow warbler on the fence by the drive at a range of about 6 feet - only our second ever sight record (bizarrely).
No sign of the curlew sandpiper but the tide has not been high enough ...

Rob

Last edited by edenwatcher : Tuesday 13th July 2004 at 10:53.
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