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Seafield to Kinghorn

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Old Wednesday 7th December 2016, 17:06   #26
Gander
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7th Dec 2016 Report (Part 2) - From the tower

Heading South from the tower I climbed the rise to the phone mast. I continued to pick up more Redshank, Oystercatcher, Heron, Herring Gull and Carrion Crows. Eider were now showing in greater numbers.

The scrub was pretty quiet thus far, but I listed more Blackbird, Dunnock, Wren & Goldfinch before adding a solitary Reed Bunting to the list. A Wood Pigeon also made an appearance.

Also noted on the rocks just past the tower was a single Grey Seal. (Incidentally, the mammal count for the patch stands at a paltry three - Grey Seal, Harbour Seal and Rabbit).

Following the coastal path past the Stone Dyke Point and above Bullfinch Cove, I was halfway along the back of Pipe Beach when I noticed a flight of wooden retained dart steps winding down to the beach. I had never noticed these before. Either the undergrowth had died back to reveal them of (more probable) someone had cleared them. I descended down the steps and found myself on a rocky patch. I decided to head back the way to view Bullfinch cove from the bottom for the first time. This took quite a bit of scrabbling, sliding, slipping and climbing over the rocks, pebbles and knee deep seaweed. It was notable that the metal pipe at the North end of the beach was draining fresh water and that fresh water was also draining from a half inch pipe protruding from a retaining wall at the back of this North end of the beach. More water was also flowing from the base of the cliff. This was good to know, as the fresh water should be a good bird attraction.

I crossed the pipe and scrambled into Bullfinch Cove (Photos attached). I tried to find a way up to the path from the cove, as another flight of steps became evident, but they only led to the back of the cove. I suspect there once was a path, but it has long ago disappeared in the undergrowth. Robin were present in the cove and Wren.

I headed back onto Pipe Beach, but rather than ascend my access stairs I continued along the beach. It was easier going once you got South of the stairs, as the beach turned to small pebbles and coarse sand. Just off the beach, I was able to confirm my first Phalacrocorax Aristotelis. There are a probably a mix of Shag out on the distant rocks with the Cormorant, but I count all the distant figure as Cormorant by default. This bird however was close enough for a good ID. I also picked up a Pied Wagtail on the beach.

Reaching the old Lime Kiln at the South end of the beach, I navigated up more slippery rocks and rejoined the coastal path looking out over Kiln Rock.

Photo one - Looking into Bullfinch Cove towards Stone Dyke
Photo two - Looking up into Bullfinch Cove (The coastal path is at the green railing)
Photo three - South End of BullFinch Cove.
Photo four - The North end of Bullfinch Cove (The rocks at the bottom of Stone Dyke Point)
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Last edited by Gander : Wednesday 7th December 2016 at 17:16.
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Old Wednesday 7th December 2016, 18:20   #27
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Pipe Beach View

Photo is of view from mouth of Bullfinch Cove, South along Pipe Beach. You can make out the 6-8" pipe where the beach starts.

Warning The rocks here are pretty slippery and treacherous. If I were you, I wouldn't do what I did and go down there alone. I won't be heading back soon, as I am sure I can see everything I need to from the path above, and even more so from the Stone Dyke Point above. Looking over the wall gives great cover and great views into Bullfinch Cove.

Also, be aware of the tides in areas like this. There was hardly any wave today, and the tide was on the way out.

Nuff said.
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Old Wednesday 7th December 2016, 18:55   #28
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7th Dec 2016 Report (Part 3) - Kinghorn

Heading South along the coastal path, I passed Bellypuff (I kid you not - That is the official name) and then reaching Hoch-Ma-Toch and the old slipway. I don't know what Hoch-Ma-Toch means, but the name appears to be connected to a poor home that used to look down on the rocky bay many years ago (research ongoing). Around the old slipway, a remainder from a long gone boat yard, a flock of more than thirty House Sparrows were busy.

Reaching the bench that marks the southern extreme of my patch, I duly turned and headed back along the path to Kirkcaldy. I started picking up Blue Tits in the Scrub, and halfway along Hoch-Ma-Toch, I found a Bullfinch - a nice adult female. Down on the beach were two more Magpies.

Passing Kiln Rock, the path rose quickly to the benches at the high point above Pipe Beach. Descending with the path now, I discovered a brilliantly coloured male Bullfinch with another female. Also present with them was a Greenfinch. Further along I also started finding Yellowhammer in the Hawthorn.

Reaching the stone dyke, I walked down the slope, following the wall to the point where it ended. There is a set of steps, style fashion, built into the wall where it ends, and these make a good seat. Scanning into Bullfinch Cove, I found more Blackbird (or possibly ones counted earlier) and two delightful Long-tailed Tits. Scanning the rocks out to sea, I found two Great Black-Backed Gulls. As I sat there, a flight of sixteen Pink-Footed Geese flew over, heading out over the Forth towards Edinburgh. These geese were particularly welcome as they are a first tick for the patch.

Photo 1 - Blue Tit
Photo 2 - Bullfinch Female (Photo lightened and warmed)
Photo 3 - Pink-Footed Geese
Photo 4 - Long-Tailed Tit in Bullfinch Cove.
Photo 5 - Yellowhammer
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Old Wednesday 7th December 2016, 19:52   #29
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7th Dec 2016 Report (Part 4) - The final stretch

From Stone Dyke Point, I now descended a grassy track that leads down to Seafield Cave. As you come to the rocky areas you will find stone steps. This I believe is a remainder of the old coastal path, now made redundant by the new path that runs along the top of the cliff above the cave. Where the path reaches the cave, there is a relatively new metal bridge that crosses the rock gully that leads into the cave (I'll put some photos up later of this area). Once past the cave and on the cove beach, there is a large area of scrub that that presents itself as a living wall along the back of most of the beach.

I had been down here once before, so this time came prepared. At the access point to the metal bridge you pass through a tunnel of Blackthorn. I found this tunnel to be closing up with shoots of thorny branches reaching into the tunnel. Last time I pushed and twisted my way through, but lost my footing on the slippery stones underfoot. Instant reflex was to reach out and grab something to prevent a fall. Not a great idea when your standing surrounded by thorn branches bearing 3" spikes. Somehow my hand largely missed the attentions of the fearsome thorns that day. Today, as I said, I came prepared. Last thing I'd put in my rucksack before leaving home was a pair of hand held secateurs. I now whipped these out and with a little pruning made the access to the bridge safe again.

Making my way along the beach, I heard a bird call from the rocks on my seaward side. It seemed like the one I'd heard from the Pied Wagtail I'd found earlier, but there was something different, even to my untrained ear. Scanning the rocks, I soon found my second first patch tick of the day in an elegant Grey Wagtail that rapidly flew off South across the rocks.

Proceeding further down the beach, searching the wall of scrub for signs of a path that used to run into the cove, going by the OS maps. I had found where this path used to be previously, but had not been able to access the grassy area in the centre of the cove, as like the bridge access, it was overgrown with thorny scrub. Out came the secateurs again and fifteen minutes of pruning put the path back where it used to be. I wish I could say it was worth the effort, but it wasn't. The small grassy area was surrounded in scrub, but really, the best viewing point was from the path above.

Exiting back onto the beach, I noted that the light was failing again. It had brightened up a bit earlier, but now the sun was below my horizon and heavy clouds had rolled in. Wind was also freshening.

At the end of the cove are the broken down remains of what looks like old cottages. Passing these I climbed up a grassy area and rejoined the coastal path. Passing the tower, I quickly headed towards the old harbour and sea wall with thoughts of Purple Sandpiper in my mind. Once again, no Purple Sandpiper, but I did find a Bar-Tailed Godwit on the water line.

Crossing the sand across to the broken remnants of the sea wall, I intended to climb over and walk along the front of the wall on the beach. I found however the tide was not far enough out yet.

I headed up the sands again towards the path, but as I walked I suddenly heard a moaning sound just to my right. There lying a few feet from me was a largish Grey Seal pup. I backed off, took a few photos, then headed home.

Thirty two bird species counted. Two new ticks for the patch, and a few more personal patch ticks. Almost an ideal day if it were not for the lack of Purple Sandpiper.
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Old Thursday 8th December 2016, 07:23   #30
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List Update

Following yesterday's session, I am pleased to be able to add a couple of species to the list - Pink-Footed Goose & Grey Wagtail.

I have also done a bit of research using the Fife Bird Atlas, and can reveal that there are fifty three birds that are not yet on my list, that appeared in the patch area during the surveys. I've obviously got a fair bit of work to do yet. Between my existing list below and the 53 birds from the Atlas, I would have a grand total of one hundred and eighteen birds, and that is without quite a few possible birds that are not on the list and did not feature in the FBA. Pink-Footed Goose was an example of that kind of spot.

Based on this, I've set myself the personal target of one hundred bird species by end of 2017.

THE LIST UPDATED
1. Bar-tailed Godwit
2. Black-headed Gull
3. Black-tailed Godwit
4. Blackbird
5. Blue Tit
6. Bullfinch
7. Carrion Crow
8. Chaffinch
9. Common Buzzard
10. Common Gull
11. Common Scoter*
12. Common Tern
13. Cormorant
14. Curlew
15. Dunnock
16. Eider
17. Goldcrest
18. Goldeneye
19. Goldfinch
20. Goosander
21. Great Black-backed Gull
22. Great Tit
23. Greenfinch
24. Greenshank*
25. Grey Heron
26. Grey Wagtail
27. Guillemot
28. Herring Gull
29. Housemartin*
30. House Sparrow
31. Kestrel*
32. Lesser Black-backed Gull*
33. Long-tailed Duck*
34. Long-tailed Tit
35. Magpie
36. Mallard
37. Mute Swan
38. Oystercatcher
39. Pheasant
40. Pied Wagtail (Yarrellii)
41. Pink-Footed Goose
42. Peregine*
43. Purple Sandpiper*
44. Red-breasted Merganser*
45. Redshank
46. Reed Bunting
47. Ringed Plover
48. Robin
49. Rock Pipit (Littoralis)
50. Ruff*
51. Sanderling*
52. Sandwich Tern
53. Sedge Warbler*
54. Shag*
55. Song Thrush
56. Sparrowhawk
57. Starling
58. Stonechat*
59. Swallow
60. Turnstone
61. Whimbrel*
62. Willow Warbler*
63. Wood Pigeon
64. Wren.
65. Yellowhammer
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Old Thursday 8th December 2016, 16:16   #31
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08/12/16

Checked the harbour area this afternoon, ever hopeful of Purple Sandpipers. Scanning the large blocks of the broken down parts of the sea wall, I spotted a bird that was popping in and out of view. Then there was half a dozen of them, and finally the count was eleven as the small flock revealed themselves for a good viewing. Purple Sandpiper? Not a chance, but a personal tick (and lifer) for Sanderling.
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Old Thursday 8th December 2016, 16:33   #32
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Seafield Cave Cove

Yesterday, I described my foray down into Seafield Cave Cove. Just so it can be better pictured, I am putting up a few photos. I have previously pictured the cove from the path at the top of the cliff (see post #3), so this post will show the best route down into the cove, and the next two posts will show the views once down there.

Photo One - Head out to the end of the wall at Stone Dyke Point.
Photo Two - Take the path that heads downwards to your left.
Photo Three - Short flight of steps to climb.
Photo Four - Flight of steps to descend. Watch the thorn bushes.
Photo Five - The metal bridge at the entrance to Seafield Cave.
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Old Thursday 8th December 2016, 17:06   #33
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Seafield Cave Cove Pictures

Photo One - The Cave entrance from the bridge.

For more info on the cave read http://scharp.co.uk/sites-at-risk/12768/

Photo Two - Cliff above the cave

Photos 3, 4 & 5 - Views into the scrub filled cove
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Old Thursday 8th December 2016, 17:14   #34
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Seafield Cave Cove - more pictures.

Photo one - View into the cove scrum

Photo two - View South along beach towards the cave end.

Photo three - View North towards Seafield Tower.
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Old Friday 9th December 2016, 14:04   #35
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Chuffed with a Chaffinch

An hour and a half spent on the patch this afternoon. Most of the usual suspects present, but no sign of my prime target of Purple Sandpiper. Heavy grey skies, no wind and no wave. I think a spell of rough weather would actually freshen things up, as it has a very subdued feeling at the moment.

At the tower I headed up the grass bank, then South along the Apple Tree Path alongside the railway track, before popping back out onto the coastal path at the phone mast. Glad I made the detour though, as I found my first patch Chaffinch near the apple tree.

Going as far as Stone Dyke point, I had a quick scan of Bullfinch Cove, but found nothing but Blackbird and a Song Thrush. I also had a quick scan along the beach I have been calling Pipe Beach, but spotted nothing. I found out yesterday that this beach is better known local (if not on the map), as Lime Kiln Beach, so to avoid confusion, I will from this point on also refer to it a Lime Kiln Beach.

Heading back to the car park, I gave the rocks and sea wall a final scan, but to no avail. I'm away for the weekend, so I suspect it will be hooting with Purple Sandpipers until I get back. Never mind, I'm chuffed with my Chaffinch.
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Old Saturday 10th December 2016, 17:53   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianp234 View Post
You`ve got off to a great start with this thread. Not sure if many birders take an interest in this area, but I notice it does occasionally feature in reports etc. Off the top of my head, I could add, from the last year or so, stonechat, yellowhammer, sedge warbler, willow warbler, goldcrest,swallow, housemartin, ruff, purple sandpiper, greenshank, bar tailed godwit, whimbrel, peregrine, kestrel.
Well, I, for one am. I, and my immediate family are planning on a two week trip to Scotland (mostly non birding) in July of 2017. I'm trying to get a handle of places to visit that would please all (mostly hikers). Posts like this are a big help. Any ideas will be gratefully accepted. We'll be spending most of the time in the north, or so it is planned now.
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Old Saturday 10th December 2016, 20:42   #37
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Hi Don,
Some great hiking territory up North. I particularly like the Cairngorms. They certainly are not the Rockies, but they do have their own charm and beauty.

If you were to venture further South, I believe there are parts of the Fife Coastal Path that are hugely under-rated. Parts of the path from St Andrews (well worth a visit in itself) round the East Neuk of Fife are scenically breath taking (and not too demanding hiking wise).

Wherever you end up, I hope you have a great time.
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Old Sunday 11th December 2016, 12:44   #38
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As predicted

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gander View Post
I'm away for the weekend, so I suspect it will be hooting with Purple Sandpipers until I get back.
18 Purple Sandpiper reported at Seafield this morning, and I'm 500 miles away. 26 Long-Tailed Duck and a Ruff, both of which would be personal patch ticks, also reported.

Roll on Tuesday.
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Old Monday 12th December 2016, 19:59   #39
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I attended a great day out looking at the geology along this stretch. There are the occasional patches of shale where you can find fossils. Nice overview of the geology here if you're interested: http://www.geowalks.co.uk/eso/Kingho...eHigher-v4.pdf
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Old Tuesday 13th December 2016, 06:04   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTweedie View Post
I attended a great day out looking at the geology along this stretch. There are the occasional patches of shale where you can find fossils. Nice overview of the geology here if you're interested: http://www.geowalks.co.uk/eso/Kingho...eHigher-v4.pdf
Lots of interesting stuff in that. I found a document from the 1940's last week that mentions fossilised carnivorous teeth being found on a regular basis.
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Old Tuesday 13th December 2016, 13:55   #41
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Purple Pain - 13/12/16 Bird Report

First light found me in Seafield car park with Purple Sandpiper on the menu. Report of 18 had come in over the weekend, so I was ready for them. I hurried along to the harbour and waited for the light to reveal my target. However, what little light did make it through the leaden clouds only revealed Oystercatcher and Redshank initially. Tide was way out, so I made my way down onto the beach and along the remains of the harbour wall. While doing this, I noticed a small group of birds at a patch of rocks along the harbour beach. Crossing the stream, I siddled closer along the front of a big ridge of rock that runs along the beach. I managed to grab a few photos at range through the gloom before the birds flew off down the beach. Also, on the rocks, a Rock Pipit revealed itself, as did a couple more later on once I got back on the coastal path.

Rather than head off down the sands after my unidentified flock, I decided that with the tide coming in fast, it would be prudent to retrace my steps and exit the beach at the red brick outflow that brings fresh water into the harbour. Pushing on to the tower, I found things very quiet, especially in the scrub, however by the tower I had listed, in addition to the unknown birds and their accompanying Oystercatcher & Redshank, Herring Gull, Cormorant, Black-Headed Gull, Carrion Crow, Mallard, Curlew, Eider, Cormorant, Rock Pipit, Great Black-Backed Gull, Heron and Turnstone. In addition, I could hear the odd Robin in the scrub.

Moving along the path from the tower, bird activity did not pick up, and as I turned to retrace my steps it started to rain. I made my way back to the top of Aerial Hill, then diverted onto the Apple Tree path, but still things remained quiet. Dropping down the grassy slope at the Tower, I headed along back past the harbour, giving it a final quick scan in the rain, but to no avail on the Purple Sandpiper front. Defeated again, I headed quickly back to the car and then home.

From the tower to Kinghorn and back, I added a few more species to the list with Blackbird, Shag, Wood Pigeon, Blue Tit, Robin (visual), House Sparrow and Bar-Tailed Godwit.

Back home, I sorted through the wader photos I had grabbed at the harbour. I came up with a very tentative Dunlin ID, but decided to put the photos up on the identification Q&A pages of this forum. The conformed ID came back as Knot. A new patch tick and a lifer for me. Makes the purple pain a little easier to bear.

Photo 1 - Bunch of Knot.
Photos 2&3 - Along the harbour beach in front of the rock ridge
Photo 4 - Red brick outflow into the harbour.
Photo 5 - Back towards the sea wall.
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Old Tuesday 13th December 2016, 15:58   #42
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13/12/16 - Round 2

Looked out my dining room window at 15:20 hrs and found it was surprisingly light. Rain and clouds had cleared. Minutes later, I was in the car and heading for Seafield.

Arriving at the car park, I rushed to the harbour, knowing I had at best, even with a clear sky, fifteen minutes. The tide was high as I started scanning the broken remnants of the old harbour wall. Broken remnants that now formed little islands.

On the first concrete block island, I found its flat top crammed with Redshank. Including the few on the ledges below, there were over forty. Then, I noticed, in a corner at the top of the block, separated a bit from the Redshank were four Sanderling.

It was while moving to get a better angle on the Sanderling, that my eye was drawn to movement on one of the ledges below them. Focusing in; there they were! Two Purple Sandpiper. The quest was over. I had five minutes watching them as they preened and settled in to roost, then I crept away again in the failing light.
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Old Wednesday 14th December 2016, 07:28   #43
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List Update

Time for a list update. Knot added, and asterisks removed from Purple Sandpiper, Sanderling and Shag indicating personal ticks for me.

THE LIST UPDATED
1. Bar-tailed Godwit
2. Black-headed Gull
3. Black-tailed Godwit
4. Blackbird
5. Blue Tit
6. Bullfinch
7. Carrion Crow
8. Chaffinch
9. Common Buzzard
10. Common Gull
11. Common Scoter*
12. Common Tern
13. Cormorant
14. Curlew
15. Dunnock
16. Eider
17. Goldcrest
18. Goldeneye
19. Goldfinch
20. Goosander
21. Great Black-backed Gull
22. Great Tit
23. Greenfinch
24. Greenshank*
25. Grey Heron
26. Grey Wagtail
27. Guillemot
28. Herring Gull
29. Housemartin*
30. House Sparrow
31. Kestrel*
32. Knot
33. Lesser Black-backed Gull*
34. Long-tailed Duck*
35. Long-tailed Tit
36. Magpie
37. Mallard
39. Mute Swan
40. Oystercatcher
41. Pheasant
42. Pied Wagtail (Yarrellii)
43. Pink-Footed Goose
44. Peregine*
45. Purple Sandpiper
46. Red-breasted Merganser*
47. Redshank
48. Reed Bunting
49. Ringed Plover
50. Robin
51. Rock Pipit (Littoralis)
52. Ruff*
53. Sanderling
54. Sandwich Tern
55. Sedge Warbler*
56. Shag
57. Song Thrush
58. Sparrowhawk
59. Starling
60. Stonechat*
61. Swallow
62. Turnstone
63. Whimbrel*
64. Willow Warbler*
65. Wood Pigeon
66. Wren.
67. Yellowhammer
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Old Wednesday 14th December 2016, 16:12   #44
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Name that fish.

A few photos from Seafield Harbour this afternoon.

Flounder maybe?
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Old Wednesday 14th December 2016, 16:39   #45
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Purple Patch

Headed down to Seafield this morning and walked out past the harbour to the Tower and back. Not a lot to report. Even the Oystercatchers and Redshanks were scarce. Scanned the harbour wall remains for Purple Sandpiper, this time camera in hand, but nothing present. Based on yesterday however, I knew my best chance would be at high tide. With high tide due at 14:40 hrs, I headed off, to return later.

At 14:15 hrs, I was back. Unlike the previous day however, there was cloud cover, and the light was dying fast. I hurried down to the harbour, and just as yesterday, I found the first concrete block island formed from the wall remains, heavily populated with Redshank. More pleasingly however, in the exact same spot as yesterday, I discovered a Purple Sandpiper clinging to the rough sides of the concrete. A possible second peeped around the corner.

Other birds in the area were Redshank, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Cormorant, Shag, Herring Gull, Eider, Black-Headed Gull, Goosander and GBBG. Only a Robin stirred in the scrub.

A Grey Seal fished in the flooded harbour area, catching a flat fish of some sort (see previous post). I moved down the path a little and started scanning the few remaining rocks that were visible. There I found more Purple Sandpiper, six definite, although I believe there were more on the far side of the rocks, as I saw a few little heads pop up every now and then, however there were Turnstone present also, so who knows?

With eight Purple Sandstone in the bag, so to speak, that means I've hit a purple patch.

PHOTOS ATTACHED TO NEXT POST.

Last edited by Gander : Wednesday 14th December 2016 at 18:15.
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Old Wednesday 14th December 2016, 16:44   #46
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And the photos

Whoops. Forgot to attach the photos for previous post.

Edit at 21:07 hrs - just noticed at least two Sanderling in first group photo.
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Last edited by Gander : Wednesday 14th December 2016 at 20:07.
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Old Saturday 17th December 2016, 09:23   #47
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Itch scratched.

I had headed down to Seafield yesterday afternoon with the main aim being to scratch an itch I've had for a few weeks. That itch was Long-Tailed Duck. I'd seen my first, back in the autumn offshore - a female. I'm fairly sure I had seen another female on the patch recently, but I don't seem to have recorded or ticked it off anywhere.

With 26 L-T Ds being recorded at Seafield last weekend, a concerted effort was called for. This is why I could be found trudging through the rain towards the harbour yesterday afternoon. The harbour was devoid of birds. The plan had been to simply check the harbour area then head back. I headed off further down the track to the tower. I found it in a similar condition bird wise to the harbour. The plan was to check the tower beach then head back. I checked the beach then headed up the hill to the Aerial above the cave cove. Again, the plan was to turn back once the cove was checked out, but again I allowed myself to be sucked along the path by the hope of finding L-T Duck on the calm grey waters below.

I reached Stone Dyke Point and scanned along Lime Kiln Beach (prev called Pipe Beach). Nothing much stirred. Certainly not L-T Duck. I headed home through the rain.

First light this morning found me back at the harbour. The tide was way out, so I hoped to find a few waders on the wet sands of the harbour. I found a photographer taking shots of the wonderful sunrise. At least it wasn't raining.

Heading on to the tower, there was little activity on the still calm waters. I turned at the tower and headed back to the harbour. The photographer had moved off. I scanned the waters beyond the far end of the harbour wall. There was something there. Something grey, white and black, but I was not close enough for a good ID. I headed down the beach, crossing the stream by hopping from stone to stone, then walking parallel to wall over the soft sands to the water line. Scanning from this nearer point, I struggled to find the birds I'd seen from the path. I moved a little further along the beach to change my angle. Scanning around the end of the wall, I found a group of birds, still a fair way out. Initially, they were head on and at distance, I still couldn't make a 100% ID. Then they changed direction. With side on views and long tails evident, my L-T Duck itch was well and truly scratched
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Old Saturday 17th December 2016, 09:34   #48
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What a great read that made Paul!!! LOL Loved it.

Well done finally getting your target lad. They lovely ducks.. my favourite sea ducks them.
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Old Saturday 17th December 2016, 12:21   #49
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They lovely ducks.. my favourite sea ducks them.
Strikingly elegant, even at distance. Hopefully, I'll get a closer look in the near future.
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Old Saturday 17th December 2016, 12:33   #50
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The closest I've ever been to them is at the Jemimaville Hide on the Black Isle, get the tide right and they can come quite near.
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