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Wild in Aberdeen - City and Shire

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Old Friday 7th August 2009, 18:29   #76
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fox, roe deer, stoat and otter are sometimes seen, but can't be guaranteed.
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Old Friday 7th August 2009, 18:33   #77
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fox, roe deer, stoat and otter are sometimes seen, but can't be guaranteed.
Would love to see the latter three! Stoat and Otter are on top of my 'to see' list!
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Old Friday 7th August 2009, 21:13   #78
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at least 2 Quail calling this evening near the Tarland hide. (Mill of Kincraigie road end)
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Old Friday 7th August 2009, 22:24   #79
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I'll have to check that out!
Anyway spent an hour wildlife watching at Den of Maidencraig where I seen the Mallard family, lots of Roe Deer playing, lots of little toads and a HUGE frog. I also heard a Grey Heron but couldn't see it.
Just spent the past half hour roaming the streets with a camera looking for hedgehogs, in the end only seen one running into bushes never to be seen again I was also getting some very suspicious looks from people Strathbeg on Sunday, might go to Tarland tomorrow but I have a wedding to attend
Oh and for anyone that might want to know apparently Scotstown Moor (another local nature reserve) has some Long-Eared Owls!
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Old Saturday 8th August 2009, 18:06   #80
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I had a wander from Blackdog to Donmouth this afternoon. The scoter flock was all about half way down off of Murcar and in amongst it I found three Surf Scoters (sorry Joseph!). Two were adult drakes but the other was a 1st summer, with a white nape but no white on the forehead and a duller yellow bill. Several Velvet Scoters around too.
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Old Saturday 8th August 2009, 22:19   #81
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This'll be my last post until I'm back from Strathbeg, wish me luck!
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Old Sunday 9th August 2009, 21:35   #82
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I had a wander from Blackdog to Donmouth this afternoon. The scoter flock was all about half way down off of Murcar and in amongst it I found three Surf Scoters (sorry Joseph!). Two were adult drakes but the other was a 1st summer, with a white nape but no white on the forehead and a duller yellow bill. Several Velvet Scoters around too.
As my Dad and I saw on ABZ Rare Birds. Very well done Andrew! Don't worry, I am not that frustrated, as a Surf Scoter isn't a bird I haven't seen before. All three times my Dad and I have been looking at the Scoters this year they were a long way out. How far out were the duck flock when you saw your Surf Scoters? And do you think they will still be there? We might go and have a fourth look for them but it depends if my Dad is busy this week.

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Old Monday 10th August 2009, 07:34   #83
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As my Dad and I saw on ABZ Rare Birds. Very well done Andrew! Don't worry, I am not that frustrated, as a Surf Scoter isn't a bird I haven't seen before. All three times my Dad and I have been looking at the Scoters this year they were a long way out. How far out were the duck flock when you saw your Surf Scoters? And do you think they will still be there? We might go and have a fourth look for them but it depends if my Dad is busy this week.
Two Surf Scoters were reported again yesterday. My guess is that they'll stay around a bit longer but that later in the autumn they'll probably move off. Blackdog is really best for them in late summer/ early autumn as it's mainly a moulting site for scoter. I'd assume some of the birds we see at Blackdog/Murcar end up further south at sites like Lunan Bay and the Forth for the winter. The Surf Scoters were relatively close on Saturday, closer than quite a few of the other scoter, although it was a bit rough, which made viewing harder. The two adult drakes were mostly together.
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Old Monday 10th August 2009, 19:13   #84
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Den of Maidencraig today, between showers. Several Willow Warblers, some arguing Robins, the usual gulls, including a Black-headed one with a trailing broken leg, a Grey Heron catching a frog in the pool, a Buzzard calling, Wood Pigeons, Goldfinches, Wren, Blackbird, Swallow, Carrion Crows, Magpies and Blue Tits. The Mallards family now consists of 2 adults and only 5 ducklings. A very attractive Roebuck was on the meadow on the north side. One particular oak tree at the car park was covered with hundreds of hover flies.

Calvin, thanks for the note about Long-eared Owls at Scotstown. I'll add that to my list of local places to visit.
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Old Monday 10th August 2009, 20:45   #85
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Two Surf Scoters were reported again yesterday. My guess is that they'll stay around a bit longer but that later in the autumn they'll probably move off. Blackdog is really best for them in late summer/ early autumn as it's mainly a moulting site for scoter. I'd assume some of the birds we see at Blackdog/Murcar end up further south at sites like Lunan Bay and the Forth for the winter. The Surf Scoters were relatively close on Saturday, closer than quite a few of the other scoter, although it was a bit rough, which made viewing harder. The two adult drakes were mostly together.
Ok thank you for that Andrew. My Dad and I will consider going down there soon. Do you think it is worth just having a wee walk down the coast from Blackdog if the flock aren't there like you did?
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Old Monday 10th August 2009, 20:48   #86
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Den of Maidencraig today, between showers. Several Willow Warblers, some arguing Robins, the usual gulls, including a Black-headed one with a trailing broken leg, a Grey Heron catching a frog in the pool, a Buzzard calling, Wood Pigeons, Goldfinches, Wren, Blackbird, Swallow, Carrion Crows, Magpies and Blue Tits. The Mallards family now consists of 2 adults and only 5 ducklings. A very attractive Roebuck was on the meadow on the north side. One particular oak tree at the car park was covered with hundreds of hover flies.

Calvin, thanks for the note about Long-eared Owls at Scotstown. I'll add that to my list of local places to visit.
Good one with the Grey Heron, it's on my heard list. And with the Goldfinches as well, never seen one round here. According to my leaflet there's also Long-tailed Tits at Arnhall Moss. Anyone been to Gight Woods Wildlife Reserve? My leaflet says "A steep path leads down into a deep ravine cutthrough by the River Ythan. The broadleaved woodland includes hazel, sloe, oak, and rowan. Roe deer, foxes, badgers, red squirrels, and hares all live in the woods, and otter and heron can be seen hunting in the river." Which sounds really worth a visit in my book.
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Old Monday 10th August 2009, 21:35   #87
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Ok thank you for that Andrew. My Dad and I will consider going down there soon. Do you think it is worth just having a wee walk down the coast from Blackdog if the flock aren't there like you did?
If I go to Blackdog I usually get the bus (I don't have a car) and then walk from there to Donmouth. A lot of the birds are often quite a long way down from Blackdog. If you're driving, an alternative might be to park at Murcar golf club, which is about half way. The Surf Scoters were roughly offshore from this on Saturday.
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Old Tuesday 11th August 2009, 14:52   #88
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Good one with the Grey Heron, it's on my heard list. And with the Goldfinches as well, never seen one round here. According to my leaflet there's also Long-tailed Tits at Arnhall Moss. Anyone been to Gight Woods Wildlife Reserve? My leaflet says "A steep path leads down into a deep ravine cutthrough by the River Ythan. The broadleaved woodland includes hazel, sloe, oak, and rowan. Roe deer, foxes, badgers, red squirrels, and hares all live in the woods, and otter and heron can be seen hunting in the river." Which sounds really worth a visit in my book.
Gight Woods is one of these places I've been meaning to go to for ages but never got around to. I've been reading up about it and I agree it sounds really good. If I get up early enough I could combine it with a visit to Strathbeg.
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Old Tuesday 11th August 2009, 20:55   #89
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If I go to Blackdog I usually get the bus (I don't have a car) and then walk from there to Donmouth. A lot of the birds are often quite a long way down from Blackdog. If you're driving, an alternative might be to park at Murcar golf club, which is about half way. The Surf Scoters were roughly offshore from this on Saturday.

Thank you Andrew for all the information given, my Dad and I are going out birding tomorrow, and may do just as you said. We may also check Donmouth, Girdleness and maybe the Ythan. I'll report back to you if I see the Surf Scoters or anything else noteworthy.
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Old Wednesday 12th August 2009, 14:31   #90
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Anywhere in Aberdeen good for seeing Kingfisher? I presume Strathbeg wouldn't have any?
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Old Wednesday 12th August 2009, 15:12   #91
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Anywhere in Aberdeen good for seeing Kingfisher? I presume Strathbeg wouldn't have any?
Along the Dee or Don would probably be best. I see them sometimes along the Dee near Inchgarth Reservoir in Cults (which is a pretty good spot for birding more generally).
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Old Wednesday 12th August 2009, 15:41   #92
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Along the Dee or Don would probably be best. I see them sometimes along the Dee near Inchgarth Reservoir in Cults (which is a pretty good spot for birding more generally).
Thanks, on a related topic I am after so much talk and delays finally going to Strathbeg tomorrow. I also might go somewhere else wild as well, is there anywhere good between here and Strathbeg?
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Old Wednesday 12th August 2009, 16:16   #93
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Thanks, on a related topic I am after so much talk and delays finally going to Strathbeg tomorrow. I also might go somewhere else wild as well, is there anywhere good between here and Strathbeg?
There's the Ythan Estuary, although it depends which way you go to Strathbeg. Rattray Head is near Strathbeg and is good too.
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Old Wednesday 12th August 2009, 16:43   #94
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According to Google I'll be going from the A9013 to the A956 then the A90 and the A952 if it helps, it's basically all north then a little flick north-east.
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Old Wednesday 12th August 2009, 18:56   #95
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Mid-Deeside Meanderings

A summary of the past few days:

On Sunday it was the annual Capercaillie brood count at the lek site I monitor. This involves five or six hours of ankle-breaking walking through deep heather, bogs and blaeberry with a couple of skilled surveyors from RSPB Abernethy with their pointer dogs. Disappointingly, for the first time in the six counts I've taken part in we didn't find a single Capercaillie. There were a few freshly moulted feathers about which suggested that there were probably 2-3 males and a similar number of females in the area but we didn't find them. It's hard to believe that in 2003 we found 19 Capercaillies in exactly the same area, but unfortunately numbers have dwindled away after a couple of years of total breeding failures and numbers are now critically low in Deeside. Apparently it has been a good breeding season in Speyside this year, so hopefully a few broods have got away in Deeside too to keep things going.

The only interesting bird sighting of the day was a young Short-eared Owl which was flushed from the heather by one of the dogs before landing clumsily at the base of a young pine and glaring at us.

Yesterday evening I took a trip up to the Tarland hide which was pretty quiet with about 12 Teal, 5 Mallards and a few Moorhens. I drove down the road to Mill of Kincraigie where the Quail had been heard and found Hugh Addlesee (who had originally found them there) already listening for them. There was no sound of them for a good while, but at about 9pm they started calling. First one, and then two Quails. There may have been a third but we couldn't be sure.

This afternoon work took me out to Sauchen, meaning it was fairly easy to come home via Tarland again. The hide didn't seem much more interesting than last night at first. Fewer Teal, no Mallards, but about 20 Lapwings on the main pool. I was just getting ready to go when I noticed a small bird on one of the fenceposts in front of the wetland. It turned out to be a Whinchat, soon joined by another. Both in indeterminate autumn plumage, but apparently a new addition to the hide list.

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Old Wednesday 12th August 2009, 19:22   #96
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Anywhere in Aberdeen good for seeing Kingfisher? I presume Strathbeg wouldn't have any?
The Dee in Peterculter was very reliable for them when I stayed there a few years back.
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Old Wednesday 12th August 2009, 19:23   #97
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Belated news from Sunday- an imm Glauc was kicking around on the beach about half way between the don and dee.
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Old Wednesday 12th August 2009, 20:09   #98
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Well, Andrew, my Dad and I went to have a look for the Surf Scoters, parking at Blackdog and going down to the beach, to find that there was no duck flock in sight. So doing as you suggested, we walked down towards Murcar. On the way we found a stretch of freshwater just offshore that had some waders on it. Interestingly, the waders on there were 2 Common Sandpipers and a Greenshank, undoubtedly passage birds.

We walked about a mile down the beach, and eventually we spotted where the Scoter were, but they were a hell of a way off, and due to the Scotland v. Norway match being on in just an hour later (and with a fair old trek back to the car) we decided that we would call it a day. My Dad and I will be going to have a proper look at the Scoter flock in a couple of days time, providing the weather conditions are right and the flock doesn't move. I'm hopeful still.

During the morning we checked Strathbeg, where we saw a Little Egret, 3 Marsh Harrier, the Wood Sand we had seen the previous week there, a Snipe, a long distance Osprey, 14 Pink-footed Goose, and fantastic views of a juvenile Peregrine both in flight catching birds (it succeeded in catching a starling) and on ground (where it ate the starling!). In the afternoon we went down to the Ythan, to be greeted by low tide and a large number of waders. Amongst them were the usual bunch: Dunlin, Curlew, and most predominantly Lapwing. My Dad and I were scanning each and every bird with care, hoping to see a slightly more unusual wader with them. However, we were interrupted by another Peregrine, which then scared all the waders off down of the estuary and out of our sight. Oh well.
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Old Wednesday 12th August 2009, 20:15   #99
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There were a few Dunlin on that bit of freshwater when I was there the other day, but Greenshank and Common Sand is good. I think with hindsight you should have stayed out to look for the scoters rather than watching the Scotland game!
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Old Wednesday 12th August 2009, 21:07   #100
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How do you get to the Ythan Estuary? I'm going there after Strathbeg and don't know directions...
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