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Seafield to Kinghorn

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Old Thursday 7th May 2020, 21:10   #301
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Originally Posted by delia todd View Post
I do so agree with you Paul.

I'd not seen or heard one here for a few years but I got one singing in the trees by the car park when I was unloading the car early in the lock down. Sadly not heard here since, but there was one down by the river a couple of days later.
Hopefully they are on the up, having gone through their own epidemic.
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Old Friday 8th May 2020, 15:45   #302
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Not so common

Today, I returned to the strip for my morning constitutional. I was soon tracking birds around the edge of the car park, with Linnet, that were strangely absent on Wednesday, now showing well.

At the bottom of the car park, I turned to the right, off the main coastal path. There is a track here that runs parallel with the path. This track passes through a short corridor of scrub, before rejoining the path. Just as i entered this corridor, there was a movement in a bush to my right, that caused me to stop. Scanning the bush, it was not long before a small bird popped into view, albeit, very briefly, before slipping back into the cover of the dense undergrowth. That brief view however, revealed a Whitethroat peering straight at me. Although my view was brief, I knew straight away, that something was different about this Whitethroat. It was distinctly grey backed, with no sign of the warm brown tones of a Common Whitethroat. Added to that was the way it held itself. It was as if it was trying to flatten itself down at all times. Skulking was definitely the term that came to mind.

Soon the bird was on the move, and a game of cat and mouse ensued. Up and down the corridor, and along the scrub at the back of the car park. More glimpses of the bird, but my ability to track it was greatly aided by the bird calling each time it settled in a leafy palace. This was a call that I had never heard before. I went to great pains to memorise that call, even writing down my version of it. I am familiar with the sounds of Common Whitethroat, and I certainly had not heard one make this call.

Eventually the bird moved deeper into the bushes, and switched to silent mode, so I moved on, although not before I noted the ongoing presence of Greenfinch, as seen on Wednesday. On my way back, following a walk along to the back of Lime Kiln beach, I paused in the fruitful corner, but nothing more was produced.

Arriving back home, I was straight onto the computer to check the bird call. I confirmed that it was nothing like a Common Whitethroat, before playing the call of the bird I suspected it to be. It was instantly recognisable, and the final piece of irrefutable evidence that my bird was

126. Lesser Whitethroat

A fine addition to my patch list, and the first Lesser Whitethroat that I have seen on dry land, with my previous two sightings of this species having been seen in recent years offshore, where there are less bushes for them to hide in.

Last edited by Gander : Friday 8th May 2020 at 15:50.
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Old Tuesday 12th May 2020, 06:15   #303
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I relocated the Lesser Whitethroat yesterday. Still i at the bottom end of the car park. Despite much effort, I was not able to get a photo.

Heading along from the car park, I was on the high point of the path, above Seafield Cave, when lo and behold, another Lesser Whitethroat called out from the thick Hawthorn briar that borders the path. I stood for a while, camera at the ready, but this one was even more furtive than the car park bird.

I am wondering now if these birds have just been missed by me over the last few years. I was not familiar with the call, and it is possible that without a sighting, I may have put previous audio encounters down to Tits. Bill Oddies advice that if you hear a call that you don't recognise, it's probably a Great Tit, does not necessarily apply to me.

I also noted on Birdtrack, when I checked after the initial sighting, that a Lesser Whitethroat was reported at Seafield in May of last year. Now that the species is on my radar, hopefully, their sightings here will be an ongoing trend in future years.
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Old Wednesday 13th May 2020, 11:11   #304
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Mission Impossible

Not having seen the phone mast Lesser Whitethroat on Monday; by yesterday, I'd relegated it in my mind to a possible. This demotion was based on a bout of self doubt in the area of my audio skills, and the nagging thought that one Lesser Whitethroat, was great, but how unlikely was it to get two.

This morning, I set off on mission impossible. The brief was simple. Get a photo of the car park bird. The phone mast bird, if it existed, would be nigh on impossible to photograph, as my view over the top of the Hawthorn hedge that forms a wall at the side of the path, was very limited.

Arriving at the car park, I found a flock of Goldfinch having a right old tear up in the bushes. No sign of the Greenfinch though. Standing at the bottom end of the car park, I soon identified the call of my original LW. The bird was even deeper in the scrub than on previous occasions, and it was moving away. I gave it a bit of time, but it was a hopeless task. Mission impossible indeed. Still, there was a possibility of getting a shot on the way back, so I ambled off down the path.

Approaching the tower, I again noted a pair of Stonechat on the grassy bank below the houses. It looks very much like I have a potential breeding couple this year, so I'm quite pleased about that.

Reaching the phone mast, I decided to pause for a while. Peering over the hedge, I picked out a “Willow Wren”, but otherwise, there was no activity until I went to step away. As I did, the distinctive call of a LW, filled the air. Better still, as I turned back, and again scanned over the hedge, I quickly picked out my bird calling from a high point. Camera was pulled out with haste, and a record shot taken. Mission Impossible completed.
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Old Wednesday 13th May 2020, 11:16   #305
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Oooh! Well done Paul.

Persistence paid off at last.
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2006 63, 2007 52, 2008 46, 2009 32, 2010 31, 2011 27 Total 81 Last Patch tick: Magpie (locally scarce)

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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 20:53   #306
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A few photos from last month.
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Old Saturday 20th June 2020, 19:53   #307
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Visits to both the Seafield strip and Kinghorn Loch this week have been productive. On the strip, a large flock of Common Scoter were seen far out in Kirkcaldy bay. At first I thought they would be Eider, but the photos told otherwise when enlarged on the computer screen at home.

Also found was another Lesser Whitethroat. This one was just past the harbour on the scrubby embankment below the gardens. Although, with no sign of last months birds from either the car park or the phone mast, it is possible that it is one of them, having re-located.

Off Lime Kiln Beach, Puffins were seen. Always a welcome spot.

At the loch, summer was in full stride, with nine birds added to the loch list. Amazing numbers of Blackcap seen and heard, also a strong Bullfinch presence. Out on the loch, two Pochard are still present, and the Great Crested Grebes have grebe-lets.

Highlight though were my first Swifts of the summer. That and a very inquisitive Stoat that came to take a look at me.
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Old Sunday 21st June 2020, 18:14   #308
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Loch List

Trying to tidy up my lists a bit. Today, the Loch List.

1. Blackbird
2. Black-headed Gull
3. Blue Tit
4. Bullfinch
5. Buzzard
6. Carrion Crow
7. Chaffinch
8. Chiffchaff
9. Coot
10. Dunnock
11. Feral Pigeon
12. Goldcrest
13. Goldeneye
14. Goldfinch
15. Goosander*
16. Great Spotted Woodpecker
17. Great Tit
18. Greenfinch
19. Grey Heron
20. Greylag Goose
21. Herring Gull
22. House Martin
23. Little Grebe
24. Long-tailed Tit
25. Magpie
26. Mallard
27. Mistle Thrush
28. Moorhen
29. Mute Swan
30. Pheasant
31. Pochard
32. Redwing
33. Robin
34. Rook
35. Sand Martin
36. Skylark
37. Starling
38. Swallow
39. Swift
40. Tawny Owl (call only)
41. Treecreeper
42. Tree Sparrow
43. Water Rail
44. Whitethroat
45. Woodpigeon
46. Wren

Last edited by Gander : Sunday 21st June 2020 at 18:16.
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Old Monday 22nd June 2020, 09:31   #309
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New Bird

This morning, I headed down to the strip for an early morning session. With the nights now drawing in, we have to make use of that sunlight. Conditions were pleasant following the heavy rain of yesterday, and I'd beaten the dog walkers to the path, so little had been disturbed.

I reached the zig zag in the path without anything out of the ordinary. Out on a very calm Forth, there were distant auks, but I'll need to wait until later to see if my photos reveal anything but Guillemots.

Making my way back along the path, I was descending down the slope, when I heard the briefest burst of whirring at a low volume. I have had my eye on the grassy slope here for possible Grasshopper Warbler, for quite a while, but with Sedge Warblers very evident in the area, I was thinking that it was most likely a Sedge Warbler due to their wide range of song. That was until a bird popped out of the grasses and perched on a path side stalk to inspect me at close quarters. This was no Sedge Warbler, but a definite, much longed for Grasshopper Warbler.

I am well pleased with finding this bird, but to find it in an area that I had predicted it might turn up in, is even more pleasing.

127. Grasshopper Warbler
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Old Wednesday 24th June 2020, 14:28   #310
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Bed or Breakfast?

Bed or Breakfast?

A photo from yesterday. The subject bird was at the back of the car park, ripping open seed pods. What I'm not sure about is, was he collecting bedding or munching on the small attached seeds?

And for a bonus point; name that plant?
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Old Wednesday 24th June 2020, 14:54   #311
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Definitely Bed

Not too sure about flowers but.... mmmm.... would it be one of the Hawkweeds Paul.

Right jealous of your Grasshopper Warbler!
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2006 63, 2007 52, 2008 46, 2009 32, 2010 31, 2011 27 Total 81 Last Patch tick: Magpie (locally scarce)

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Is not to die - Thomas Campbell (1777–1844)


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Old Wednesday 24th June 2020, 18:34   #312
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Right jealous of your Grasshopper Warbler!
I'm still reeling myself.

Tried to find it again this morning, but only got a glimpse of a maybe this time.

Still kicking myself because when I originally spotted it, I'd just put the camera away in the bag.
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Old Wednesday 24th June 2020, 18:41   #313
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LOL I've only ever heard one... on the West Coast and that was years ago.

As I'm the only entrant fo your quiz, I think I've won haven't I?
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My Lockdown List report - 2019 Down Under Trip Report

2006 63, 2007 52, 2008 46, 2009 32, 2010 31, 2011 27 Total 81 Last Patch tick: Magpie (locally scarce)

To live in hearts we leave behind
Is not to die - Thomas Campbell (1777–1844)


The only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing - Socrates
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Old Thursday 25th June 2020, 21:18   #314
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LOL I've only ever heard one... on the West Coast and that was years ago.

As I'm the only entrant fo your quiz, I think I've won haven't I?
Yes, you win the prize.

The prize is that you get the Grasshopper Warbler named after you. So as it seems to have been a male, it is now Todd G Warbler esq.
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Old Thursday 25th June 2020, 21:20   #315
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Yes, you win the prize.

The prize is that you get the Grasshopper Warbler named after you. So as it seems to have been a male, it is now Todd G Warbler esq.
LOL I love it!!

That'll do nicely Paul, thank you.

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My Lockdown List report - 2019 Down Under Trip Report

2006 63, 2007 52, 2008 46, 2009 32, 2010 31, 2011 27 Total 81 Last Patch tick: Magpie (locally scarce)

To live in hearts we leave behind
Is not to die - Thomas Campbell (1777–1844)


The only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing - Socrates
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Old Tuesday 30th June 2020, 14:37   #316
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An early morning session saw a year tick for both the patch and I. Out on the rocks in front of the north end of Lime kiln beach, a Common Sandpiper made an appearance.
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Old Sunday 5th July 2020, 16:55   #317
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I've just been updating this week's records for the loch onto Birdtrack. Three species appear for the first time.

47. Reed Bunting
48. Sedge Warbler
49. Linnet


Stock Dove would have made it a round fifty, but I'm not in a rush, and the couple of sightings had an element of doubt, so they will wait for another day. I'm slightly disappointed that I have not had any flycatchers. They have been recorded at the loch in the past, but not this year, unless I get some migrants in the Autumn.

My early morning sessions have been very enjoyable, despite the wet weather. Hopefully lots more birds to come at this part of the patch.
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Old Sunday 5th July 2020, 17:31   #318
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Just been checking photos from Saturday, and I am glad to report that the strip has produced another bird new to the list. Maybe not as exciting as a Grasshopper Warbler, but very welcome all the same.

128. Stock Dove
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Old Sunday 5th July 2020, 17:48   #319
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LOL Paul!!!

It'd be a red-letter day for me if I actually spotted and identified one here. They must be around but I really struggle.
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In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed

My Lockdown List report - 2019 Down Under Trip Report

2006 63, 2007 52, 2008 46, 2009 32, 2010 31, 2011 27 Total 81 Last Patch tick: Magpie (locally scarce)

To live in hearts we leave behind
Is not to die - Thomas Campbell (1777–1844)


The only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing - Socrates
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