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Seafield to Kinghorn

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Old Tuesday 18th April 2017, 21:22   #101
Gander
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It was a bit chilly along the path this afternoon. I suspect this was the cause of a poor showing by the resident birds. Activity on sea, shoreline and in the scrub was very subdued.

Two changes noted though. There were a few Fulmar patrolling the Seafield end of the patch. First time I've observed them from this end of the patch. And a Long-Tailed Tit made a showing in a Hawthorn patch above Seafield Cave. I think that's the first L-TT sighting of the year, for the patch.

Last edited by Gander : Wednesday 19th April 2017 at 11:21.
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Old Wednesday 19th April 2017, 11:26   #102
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Return of the Terns

New arrivals this morning. Two Sandwich Terns seen diving off Seafield Harbour.
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Old Friday 19th May 2017, 18:41   #103
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First visit to the strip for nearly a month. The last three weeks I've been working away, but the week before I left was a write off due to it being Kirkcaldy's market week. Market week is when the travellers descend on Kirkcaldy en masse to see who can to the greatest degree scare witless the the younger folk of Fife, while divesting them of extortionate sums of money for said privilege of being scared witless. All this fun fair activity is done to the accompaniment of ear splitting "music".

The traffic problems caused by the market, and the noise that washes across the bay meant that I decided to find other places to be.

It was good to get back today though, even though it was under heavy rain threatening skies. The path was busy with the usual late afternoon assembly of dog walkers, kids, cyclists and joggers, so I pushed on towards the tower where I knew things would get a bit quieter. Before I got there though, I was distracted by a bird song that I didn't recognise from the scrub. To be honest, that doesn't narrow it down much, but I knew that whatever this was would be a patch tick. I stood staring into the gorse and bramble, until eventually I picked out a movement. Focusing on the movement, the binoculars revealed it belonged to a Whitethroat, and a patch tick it was.

Moving along the path towards the tower, I soon found another Whitethroat. This one flew up high singing its song that allowed itself to tumble back down into the undergrowth.

Reaching the tower there was a lot of bird activity. Most of it belonged to Starlings that were feeding in the piles of seaweed on the shoreline. Apart from the Starlings, there really wasn't much happening on the shoreline. A few Oystercatcher and Curlew, with Herring Gulls and distant Cormorants. On the water there were only Eider.

Just past the the tower, I was again stopped by the sound of a bird in the undergrowth. I stood for a while, and eventually located a young looking Dunnock. In the dead stalks of Hemlock between the path and the shore, I noted House Sparrow moving about, although as I moved off, I turned to give this area a further scan and found another new arrival. A fresh looking Sedge Warbler sat on a dry Hemlock stalk swaying in the stiff sea breeze. Another personal patch tick for me.

I walked as far as the beginning of Lime Kiln Beach without finding much more of interest, apart from another Whitethroat. A more detailed examination, probably an early morning foray, is called for, especially as there were a few more bird calls from the scrub that I could not find the source off today. One in particular stood out. It was a kind of soft and gentle churrp sound. Something for me to hunt down next week.

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. Chiffchaff
10. Common Buzzard
11. Common Gull
12. Common Scoter*
13. Common Tern
14. Cormorant
15. Curlew
16. Dunlin
17. Dunnock
18. Eider
19. Feral Pigeon
20. Fulmar
21. Gannet
22. Goldcrest
23. Goldeneye
24. Goldfinch
25. Goosander
26. Great Black-backed Gull
27. Great Crested Grebe
28. Great Tit
29. Greenfinch
30. Greenshank
31. Grey Heron
32. Greylag
33. Grey Wagtail
34. Guillemot
35. Herring Gull
36. Housemartin*
37. House Sparrow
38. Kestrel*
39. Kingfisher
40. Knot
41. Lesser Black-backed Gull
42. Linnet
43. Long-tailed Duck
44. Long-tailed Tit
45. Magpie
46. Mallard
47. Meadow Pipit
48. Mute Swan
49. Oystercatcher
50. Pheasant
51. Pied Wagtail (Yarrellii)
52. Pink-Footed Goose
53. Peregrine
54. Purple Sandpiper
55. Red-Throated Diver*
56. Red-breasted Merganser
57. Redshank
58. Reed Bunting
59. Ringed Plover
60. Robin
61. Rock Pipit
62. Ruff
63. Sanderling
64. Sandwich Tern
65. Sedge Warbler
66. Shag
67. Skylark
68. Song Thrush
69. Sparrowhawk
70. Starling
71. Stonechat*
72. Swallow
73. Turnstone
74. Velvet Scoter
75. Whimbrel*
76. Whitethroat
77. Willow Warbler
78. Woodpigeon
79. Wren.
80. Yellowhammer

Last edited by Gander : Friday 19th May 2017 at 18:55.
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Old Sunday 21st May 2017, 13:26   #104
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Mystery Bird

I usually stay clear of the strip on weekends due to the increased human/canine activity down there, however, yesterday I popped down at about five; between outbreaks of rain.

It was quiet as the rain had deterred most. Ringed Plovers on the beach, plenty of Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler in the scrub. And a mystery bird.

My mystery bird took off from the fore shore as I approached the tower. My first instinct was Lapwing as it had that kind of flappy, tumbling, broad winged flight. Right size for a Lapwing also, but not showing any dark markings. Belly was white, and uppers were medium grey. Only got a couple of glimpses before it disappeared behind the tower. I've no idea what it could have been?

Rain has just stopped here. Think I might head back down before too many others realise it's dry.
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Old Sunday 21st May 2017, 19:12   #105
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Young Ones

Did the whole strip this afternoon. No sign of anything that could have been yesterday's mystery bird, but plenty of newly borns starting to appear. First of all were the first Eider ducklings of the year. Then a family of Great Tits. The young ones have fledged, but looked like mum and dad still feeding them. Young Dunnock also around.

Spent twenty five minutes at the back of Lime Kiln Beach, peering into a thick clump of mixed scrub from which was emanating a rich, melodious bird song. I think maybe Blackcap, but the performer steadfastly refused to come out for a bow. I'll be revisiting that clump in the days to come.

Twenty nine species seen. Two more heard.
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Old Monday 22nd May 2017, 09:42   #106
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A few photos - part one

With the sun shining early this morning, I headed down to the strip to try and get a few record photos of the newer arrivals. Namely the Whitethroats and the Sedge Warblers. The weather however was playing games with me as passing heavy clouds made the light variable. Managed to get a few photos though.
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Old Monday 22nd May 2017, 09:47   #107
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A few photos - part two

A few more.
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Old Monday 22nd May 2017, 10:19   #108
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A new bird.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gander View Post
Spent twenty five minutes at the back of Lime Kiln Beach, peering into a thick clump of mixed scrub from which was emanating a rich, melodious bird song. I think maybe Blackcap, but the performer steadfastly refused to come out for a bow. I'll be revisiting that clump in the days to come.
I had returned to the strip this morning to get a few record photos of the Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler. Reaching the stone dyke, I was about to turn back when I remembered the unidentified songster from yesterday. It was only a few minutes walk away, so I pushed on.

As I approached the clump from where I had heard the bird, I heard the same song again; loud and clear. This time though it was coming from a bushy tree on the railway embankment above me. Once again though the songster was refusing to show itself.

When I had got home yesterday, I'd gone through some bird call recordings on the internet to try and get an idea of what my bird was. Blackcap was what I was hoping for, as it would be a patch tick, and one I thought I'd have by now. The Blackcap song seemed about right from what I remembered, but I was not convinced. Still, what else could it be?

Now stood on the path below, I desperately scanned the tree for the bird. I changed position a few times to try and find it, but to no avail. The bird sang on. After fifteen to twenty minutes, I was getting a serious crick in my neck. I decided to head off, frustrated again by this shy vocalist.

As I started to head up the path, I gave what would probably have been a final glance back up into the leafy branches, and there it was. Clinging to a twig and singing its heart out. It wasn't a great angle to observe the bird from, but it was evident that this was not a Blackcap. I tried to find some kind of stand out marking or feature, but there was none. It was just a fairly plain, slightly drab warbler type. And then the penny dropped. Garden Warbler!

Between the two sessions, it had taken me forty to forty five minutes of intense staring to find this bird. It was well worth it though because it is not just a patch tick, but it is a lifer for me.

I had, last night, checked out the Garden Warbler song on the bird song website I was using. It had similarities, but did not really match. Today, I checked it again, and it still did not match. I changed to Xeno-Canto, and the song was spot on for the recordings there.

A few photos attached - I'm as certain as I've ever been for any bird, but if I have made a blunder, please let me know.
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Old Friday 26th May 2017, 12:13   #109
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Arriving at the strip just after six this morning, I was greeted by an early morning haze, with no sign of Lothian across the firth. Plenty of birds around, with their activity increasing as the sun climbed higher.

My main task today was to test out a new camera, so I spent quite a bit of time snapping away at the regulars, all the way to the tower. Loads of Starlings now frequenting the shoreline, picking their way through the piles of rotting seaweed. I counted 20+ Turnstone mixed in with them and a few Ringed Plover also.

Lots more Eider ducklings showing out on the water. They are now forming large creches with attendant female adults. New arrivals today have been a flock of Common Terns. I also found a single Sandwich with them

Past the tower, I did a little more watching, with a little less photography. Plan was to go as far as the tree where I had found the Garden Warbler a few days ago. Approaching the tree however, I heard a new song coming out of Bullfinch Cove. Looking into the undergrowth, I was rewarded with a patch tick as a male Blackcap popped out. It didn't hang about for a photo though.

There was nothing stirring at the Garden Warbler tree, so I turned to head back. Looking down into Bullfinch Cove, I observed two birds arriving. One disappeared, but the other stood out in the open. A second patch tick of the day with a Collared Dove.

I was starting to worry about Blackcap for this year, so very pleased to get it. And Collared Dove was an unexpected bonus.

THE LIST UPDATED
1. Bar-tailed Godwit
2. Blackcap
3. Black-headed Gull
4. Black-tailed Godwit
5. Blackbird
6. Blue Tit
7. Bullfinch
8. Carrion Crow
9. Chaffinch
10. Chiffchaff
11. Collared Dove
12. Common Buzzard
13. Common Gull
14. Common Scoter*
15. Common Tern
16. Cormorant
17. Curlew
18. Dunlin
19. Dunnock
20. Eider
21. Feral Pigeon
22. Fulmar
23. Gannet
24. Garden Warbler
25. Goldcrest
26. Goldeneye
27. Goldfinch
28. Goosander
29. Great Black-backed Gull
30. Great Crested Grebe
31. Great Tit
32. Greenfinch
33. Greenshank
34. Grey Heron
35. Greylag
36. Grey Wagtail
37. Guillemot
38. Herring Gull
39. Housemartin
40. House Sparrow
41. Kestrel*
42. Kingfisher
43. Knot
44. Lesser Black-backed Gull
45. Linnet
46. Long-tailed Duck
47. Long-tailed Tit
48. Magpie
49. Mallard
50. Meadow Pipit
51. Mute Swan
52. Oystercatcher
53. Pheasant
54. Pied Wagtail (Yarrellii)
55. Pink-Footed Goose
56. Peregrine
57. Purple Sandpiper
58. Red-Throated Diver*
59. Red-breasted Merganser
60. Redshank
61. Reed Bunting
62. Ringed Plover
63. Robin
64. Rock Pipit
65. Ruff
66. Sanderling
67. Sandwich Tern
68. Sedge Warbler
69. Shag
70. Skylark
71. Song Thrush
72. Sparrowhawk
73. Starling
74. Stonechat*
75. Swallow
76. Turnstone
77. Velvet Scoter
78. Whimbrel*
79. Whitethroat
80. Willow Warbler
81. Woodpigeon
82. Wren.
83. Yellowhammer
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Last edited by Gander : Friday 26th May 2017 at 12:29.
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Old Tuesday 30th May 2017, 12:03   #110
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Hard Going

Walked the strip for the first time since Friday this morning. Got dropped off at Kinghorn and made my way to Seafield. I have to admit that I'm finding things a little hard going at the moment. There is so much new grown cover for the birds, and the path is so hemmed in at places. I can certainly hear birds that I don't think I've heard before, but locating them, or remembering the song to ID later is proving difficult.

Case in point, this morning I got a sighting of a warbler that was singing away. I knew it was not a song I'd heard before. My sighting of the bird was head on, so pretty much all that registered was a drab buffish breast, with the bird about Willow Warbler size. Now, I can tell you what the bird wasn't. It wasn't a Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Wood Warbler, Wren or Garden Warbler. I'll trail through some bird song recordings later, but I'm not hopeful.

Further along the path, another Warbler flew past. I was struck by how white its underparts were, but never heard it sound. Wood Warbler? Maybe. For a while, I hung around the leafy bush it had disappeared into, but only heard a nearby Willow Warbler, which may or may not have been the same bird.

On the bright side, I have been able to add a new bird to the list this morning. A single Swift flew over. I'm surprised we don't get more of them. The place is inundated with House Martin and Swallow, but it looks like Swift is going to be a scarce sighting.

THE LIST UPDATED
1. Bar-tailed Godwit
2. Blackcap
3. Black-headed Gull
4. Black-tailed Godwit
5. Blackbird
6. Blue Tit
7. Bullfinch
8. Carrion Crow
9. Chaffinch
10. Chiffchaff
11. Collared Dove
12. Common Buzzard
13. Common Gull
14. Common Scoter*
15. Common Tern
16. Cormorant
17. Curlew
18. Dunlin
19. Dunnock
20. Eider
21. Feral Pigeon
22. Fulmar
23. Gannet
24. Garden Warbler
25. Goldcrest
26. Goldeneye
27. Goldfinch
28. Goosander
29. Great Black-backed Gull
30. Great Crested Grebe
31. Great Tit
32. Greenfinch
33. Greenshank
34. Grey Heron
35. Greylag
36. Grey Wagtail
37. Guillemot
38. Herring Gull
39. Housemartin
40. House Sparrow
41. Kestrel*
42. Kingfisher
43. Knot
44. Lesser Black-backed Gull
45. Linnet
46. Long-tailed Duck
47. Long-tailed Tit
48. Magpie
49. Mallard
50. Meadow Pipit
51. Mute Swan
52. Oystercatcher
53. Pheasant
54. Pied Wagtail (Yarrellii)
55. Pink-Footed Goose
56. Peregrine
57. Purple Sandpiper
58. Red-Throated Diver*
59. Red-breasted Merganser
60. Redshank
61. Reed Bunting
62. Ringed Plover
63. Robin
64. Rock Pipit
65. Ruff
66. Sanderling
67. Sandwich Tern
68. Sedge Warbler
69. Shag
70. Skylark
71. Song Thrush
72. Sparrowhawk
73. Starling
74. Stonechat*
75. Swallow
76. Swift
77. Turnstone
78. Velvet Scoter
79. Whimbrel*
80. Whitethroat
81. Willow Warbler
82. Woodpigeon
83. Wren.
84. Yellowhammer
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Old Tuesday 30th May 2017, 13:33   #111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gander View Post

Case in point, this morning I got a sighting of a warbler that was singing away. I knew it was not a song I'd heard before. My sighting of the bird was head on, so pretty much all that registered was a drab buffish breast, with the bird about Willow Warbler size. Now, I can tell you what the bird wasn't. It wasn't a Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Wood Warbler, Wren or Garden Warbler. I'll trail through some bird song recordings later, but I'm not hopeful.
OK. So I went through every Warbler song and call I could find. There was nothing similar. Starting checking other bird calls and bingo, there it was. A Red-Breasted Flycatcher. Checked some photos, thinking it didn't have a red breast, but found several showing R-B F with buff breast at certain stages.

Of course I can't just go by this, so I'm off back down there with camera to try for it again. Spent half an hour making sure I know the call exactly. Rain has just stopped, so off I go.
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Old Tuesday 30th May 2017, 16:55   #112
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Quote:
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Of course I can't just go by this, so I'm off back down there with camera to try for it again. Spent half an hour making sure I know the call exactly. Rain has just stopped, so off I go.
And I'm back.

Three hours. One heavy downpour. Four miles walked. Thirty one species of bird seen. Zero Flycatchers.

Whatever the original bird was, it wasn't present in the same spot. I sat there for over half an hour, but no joy. Will try again later in the week.
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Old Wednesday 31st May 2017, 11:39   #113
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I spent another couple of hours this morning in pursuit of the latest mystery bird. Still no sign of it. I am just going to assume I have made an error, but will keep an eye on that area. One thing I did spot while standing there, was a hawk. It must have been watching me for a while, then eventually took off from the undergrowth near the top of the cliff. It disappeared over the back of the railway line before I got a chance to get a good look, but I got the impression of female Kestrel. Need to get a better view to confirm a tick though.

Headed into Kinghorn after the session, and within a few hundred yards of leaving the patch border, I'm seeing Jackdaw everywhere. But do you think I can get a single one to stray onto the patch? Of course I can't!

Coming out of the cafe above the harbour, having met the wife for lunch, we did make one notable spot of the non avian type. Out in the bay were a school of Bottle-nosed Dolphins giving a full aerobatic display. They were close enough for us to see the fish they were herding being knocked out of the water, as the dolphins hammered into the concentrated shoals
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Old Friday 2nd June 2017, 13:26   #114
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A few photos

Did the full strip this morning. Nothing new apart from a group of Goosander, just off Limn Kiln Beach. Thirty six bird species counted, and one other (Garden Warbler) heard. Managed a Blackcap record photo by accident. Had been aiming at something else that flew out of frame, but realised I'd captured a different bird. Only realised it was a Blackcap once I lightened up the photo (see below) at home.

More and more newly fledged birds starting to appear.

No sign of the dolphins today, although I've attached the one distant shot I managed to get on Wednesday.
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Old Saturday 3rd June 2017, 08:21   #115
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Arrived at the strip just after six. The main car park has an automated gate that does not open until six thirty (closes 10 pm), so I parked up at the little parking area next to the Seafield estate houses. This parking area is at the top of the embankment and looks down over the top of the sea wall. As I exited the car, I looked out over the calm and sunshine dappled waters of the firth, and was rewarded by the sight of dolphins heading up the coast towards Kinghorn.

The session was a bit of a rush job to be honest, but I did the full distance and back. Only notable change from recent times was a flock of L-T Tits. There has been the odd one or two about, but this is the first time this year I've seen a flock moving about. Managed to get a half decent (for me) photo of one of them. Guessing that it is recently fledged?
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Old Friday 30th June 2017, 14:47   #116
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Yesterday was wet. Basically it bucketed down all day, but by five pm I'd had enough, so I donned my wet weather gear and headed for Seafield. The leaden sky was still heavy with rain when I arrived, but it the rainfall had eased off a little. Tide was high, with powerful waves rolling in off the Firth.

I set off along the path,with the squally wind snatching at my waterproofs. Despite the conditions, there were birds about though, and quite a few young ones at that. Especially noticeable were large numbers of young Blue Tits. And of course out on the water were the usual rafts of Eider. Amazing how much the young ones had grown in three weeks. Their size however, didn't stop a marauding Great Black-Backed Gull trying to snatch one. The young ones dived beneath the surf while the large gull hovered overhead. Each time one surfaced it would start to dive, but the chicks were two fast in submerging again. The mother Eider would also surge forward towards each chick the GBBG went for. After a few minutes, the GBBG gave it up and moved on down the coast looking for an esker target.

Also good to see were a few returning waders. Five returning Curlew and a Redshank, along with increased numbers of Oystercatcher.

Other species present were Herring Gull, Blackbird, Song Thrush, House Sparrow, Starling, Cormorant, Gannet, Linnet, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Woodpigeon, Dunnock, Reed Bunting, Magpie, Ringed Plover and Black Headed Gull

Twenty four species in the rain was more than expected. I returned early this morning in dryer, but still very grey conditions, also at high tide. The waders had all disappeared, but I was able to add Yellowhammer and Skylark to yesterday's list. Highlight this morning though was finding a young Ringed Plover on a pebbly patch of shoreline. How they can be breeding there with so many dogs around beats me.
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Old Saturday 1st July 2017, 08:16   #117
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Lifer.

Arriving at the car park at just after eight this morning, I was greeted by the sight of a dirty great big aircraft carrier parked out in the Firth of Forth. I assume it is the Queen Elizabeth that was launched last week from Rosyth.

As the sky had looked very heavy and grey when I left the house, I had not bothered taking a camera, a decision I was soon to regret. I started down the track, but stopped to scan the aircraft carrier. I was soon distracted though by the sight of terns splash diving into the grey looking waters. As I followed their dives down into the water, I spotted something else on the calm surface. Easily recognisable, despite it being a lifer for me, I had my first Puffin. As I continued to watch, I soon had five Puffins.

I shouldn't be surprised really, as the Isle of May is within sight of Seafield, but I was. I am fairly sure that I'd have missed them if it hadn't been for the aircraft carrier, so my thanks go to Queen Elizabeth and the Royal Navy.

THE LIST UPDATED
1. Bar-tailed Godwit
2. Blackcap
3. Black-headed Gull
4. Black-tailed Godwit
5. Blackbird
6. Blue Tit
7. Bullfinch
8. Carrion Crow
9. Chaffinch
10. Chiffchaff
11. Collared Dove
12. Common Buzzard
13. Common Gull
14. Common Scoter*
15. Common Tern
16. Cormorant
17. Curlew
18. Dunlin
19. Dunnock
20. Eider
21. Feral Pigeon
22. Fulmar
23. Gannet
24. Garden Warbler
25. Goldcrest
26. Goldeneye
27. Goldfinch
28. Goosander
29. Great Black-backed Gull
30. Great Crested Grebe
31. Great Tit
32. Greenfinch
33. Greenshank
34. Grey Heron
35. Greylag
36. Grey Wagtail
37. Guillemot
38. Herring Gull
39. Housemartin
40. House Sparrow
41. Kestrel*
42. Kingfisher
43. Knot
44. Lesser Black-backed Gull
45. Linnet
46. Long-tailed Duck
47. Long-tailed Tit
48. Magpie
49. Mallard
50. Meadow Pipit
51. Mute Swan
52. Oystercatcher
53. Pheasant
54. Pied Wagtail (Yarrellii)
55. Pink-Footed Goose
56. Peregrine
57. Puffin
58. Purple Sandpiper
59. Red-Throated Diver*
60. Red-breasted Merganser
61. Redshank
62. Reed Bunting
63. Ringed Plover
64. Robin
65. Rock Pipit
66. Ruff
67. Sanderling
68. Sandwich Tern
69. Sedge Warbler
70. Shag
71. Skylark
72. Song Thrush
73. Sparrowhawk
74. Starling
75. Stonechat*
76. Swallow
77. Swift
78. Turnstone
79. Velvet Scoter
80. Whimbrel*
81. Whitethroat
82. Willow Warbler
83. Woodpigeon
84. Wren.
85. Yellowhammer
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Old Saturday 1st July 2017, 17:11   #118
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Popped back to Seafield late this afternoon, to see if I could find the Puffins again, and maybe get a photo. The aircraft carrier had moved on, and it looked like the Puffins had too. I could see some birds far out, but in the gloom, and on a now choppy sea, they looked like Guillemot to me. Grabbed some speculative photos at full range and have just had a look at them.

Many apologies for the heavy cropping and for what are probably the worst photos I'll ever post on here, but I thought worth it as a record of Puffins. I was half right, there was at least one Guillemot out there with them.
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Old Wednesday 5th July 2017, 12:45   #119
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Chick

I walked along to the tower a couple of times yesterday. In the morning, it was bucketing down again, but it was worth it for the good views of Common Terns sat out on the rocks. Also noted were increasing numbers of Redshank and the first Turnstone for a while. Afternoon walk was dryer, but revealed nothing new. There has been a flock of Goosander in the area all week, and they were evident in the harbour area.

This morning I set off to walk the full strip to Kinghorn. It was calm and warm. I took my youngest along with me and he was delighted when we found a Ringed Plover chick (see picture) scampering along one of the sandy areas.

It was very quiet in the scrub areas, with a few regulars missing. The bird that has surprised me most by its absence this year has been the Greenfinch. There were a lot along the strip last year, although that was in the autumn time, so maybe it is not a summer area for them.
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Old Wednesday 5th July 2017, 14:18   #120
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Well done on the Puffin. It was a bogey bird of mine for many years. Both your threads (this one and the North Sea one) are a great read. Your enthusiasm really shows, keep up the good work and thanks for posting.

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Old Wednesday 5th July 2017, 17:00   #121
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I wasn't totally happy with this mornings effort, so I headed back this afternoon. My intention was to only go as far as the stone dyke, but as it turned out, I got as far as the tower.

With a bit of cloud cover and a strengthening sea breeze, the temperature had dropped, but it was still very pleasant T-shirt weather. My main aim was to find some terns, with hopefully Arctic being a possibility, and to find the birds missing from the scrub.

Moving along the path and past the harbour, I still found the undergrowth very quiet. The Linnet, Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler that had been abundant a few days ago, had all but disappeared. Out on the rocks however, I did find a number of terns. Some were obviously Sandwich, but there were a few that looked very short legged and appeared not to have black tips to the beaks. Too far out for me to make a sure ID with the binoculars, I started taking pictures with the camera.

I decided to get a bit nearer by descending onto the beach, then heading out to the first ridge of rock. I was still a good way off from the terns who were out on the outer ridges of rock that were surrounded by the waters of the firth. I was never going to disturb the terns, but a couple of Ringed Plover were very much less than impressed by my intrusion onto the beach. One of them even started playing the wounded soldier by conspicuously dragging its wing as it limped through the seaweed covered plateau of rock in front of me. I couldn't see any chicks, but I suspect they were very close, so I carefully retraced my steps back up to the path.

Reaching the tower, I continued to take more photos of the assembled terns (and one lone Linnet) before a darkening sky prompted me to head for home. Back at home, I scrutinised my ninety plus photos and found that they were all Common or Sandwich. The dark tips of the beaks had not shown up at distance through my binoculars, but the camera told the true tale. That said, I'll settle for any kind of tern any day, so certainly nothing lost.

Photos attached - The bird on the left in photo one was the one that looked very short legged to me, but the black beak tip makes it a Common.
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Old Friday 7th July 2017, 07:38   #122
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Not so common.

As I am heading away for a week later today, I decided to have an early morning saunter along the strip. Arriving at the car park before seven, I found a calm sea under heavy grey skies. Moving towards the tower, I could see that the skies further up the Forth were even blacker than those above, and looked like they were dropping rain. I'd intended to go further, but those clouds had me turning back at the tower.

There was little happening out on the sea surface and the scrub remained fairly subdued. On the return though, my attention was drawn to two very vocal Curlew having a bit of a barny. While watching them, I also found several Turnstone on the rocks. As with the Redshank, it looks like they are starting to drift back to the strip.

As I approached the harbour, I noticed a movement on sands that lay revealed by the low tide. A fairly easy identification this one, even for me, and I had a patch tick in the not so common Common Sandpiper. I reached for the camera, but the bird flew into the tumbledown blocks of the old harbour wall and disappeared from sight. White bars on its wings were very evident, so I suspect this bird is a juvenile, but I might be wrong on that.

I stood for a while in the increasing gloom. Tiny spits of rain were now in the air, but my patience was rewarded, as the bird popped up onto the concrete blocks and enabled me to grab a few dimly lit photos (see attached). With that I hurriedly exited the scene, and ten minutes later, I was driving out of the car park as heavier rain started to fall.

THE LIST UPDATED
1. Bar-tailed Godwit
2. Blackcap
3. Black-headed Gull
4. Black-tailed Godwit
5. Blackbird
6. Blue Tit
7. Bullfinch
8. Carrion Crow
9. Chaffinch
10. Chiffchaff
11. Collared Dove
12. Common Buzzard
13. Common Gull
14. Common Sandpiper
15. Common Scoter*
16. Common Tern
17. Cormorant
18. Curlew
19. Dunlin
20. Dunnock
21. Eider
22. Feral Pigeon
23. Fulmar
24. Gannet
25. Garden Warbler
26. Goldcrest
27. Goldeneye
28. Goldfinch
29. Goosander
30. Great Black-backed Gull
31. Great Crested Grebe
32. Great Tit
33. Greenfinch
34. Greenshank
35. Grey Heron
36. Greylag
37. Grey Wagtail
38. Guillemot
39. Herring Gull
40. Housemartin
41. House Sparrow
42. Kestrel*
43. Kingfisher
44. Knot
45. Lesser Black-backed Gull
46. Linnet
47. Long-tailed Duck
48. Long-tailed Tit
49. Magpie
50. Mallard
51. Meadow Pipit
52. Mute Swan
53. Oystercatcher
54. Pheasant
55. Pied Wagtail (Yarrellii)
56. Pink-Footed Goose
57. Peregrine
58. Puffin
59. Purple Sandpiper
60. Red-Throated Diver*
61. Red-breasted Merganser
62. Redshank
63. Reed Bunting
64. Ringed Plover
65. Robin
66. Rock Pipit
67. Ruff
68. Sanderling
69. Sandwich Tern
70. Sedge Warbler
71. Shag
72. Skylark
73. Song Thrush
74. Sparrowhawk
75. Starling
76. Stonechat*
77. Swallow
78. Swift
79. Turnstone
80. Velvet Scoter
81. Whimbrel*
82. Whitethroat
83. Willow Warbler
84. Woodpigeon
85. Wren.
86. Yellowhammer
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Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 09:48   #123
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Summer Knot

I took an early walk along the strip as far as the Lime Kiln Beach this morning. Conditions were gloomy, but calm, with the tide close to high.

At the beach I found a large flock (I counted ninety seven) of Goosander. Also, a Common Sandpiper was evident. Along the whole strip now, Redshank are very evident, and there are increasing numbers of Curlew, Oystercatcher, Turnstone and Ringed Plover. Still a few Sandwich Terns, including juveniles, around with the Common Terns. Three Common Gulls spotted today. First I've seen here in a while.

Also out on the water and rocks were Eider, Cormorant, Great Black-Backed Gull, and Herring Gull, Grey Heron, along with a single Guillemot.

In the scrub, there is a bit of increased activity. Goldfinch juveniles are very evident, and large flocks are starting to form. Also, there were large numbers of House Sparrow a little south of the tower. Not an area they usually frequent. Good numbers of Reed Bunting showing in the same area. Long-Tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Linnet, Wren, Sedge Warbler, Starling, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, and Yellowhammer all seen. Willow Warbler and Whitethroat heard.

Coming back past the tower, I stopped to scan a group of Ringed Plover perched out on some rocks, when I noticed something different near them. It was a bird I knew, but not as I know it. There was my first returning Knot, and the first time I've seen one in its peachy summer coloration. Sadly, it popped behind the rocks and resolutely refused to come back out for a photo, but I'll get it next time.

While waiting to see if the Knot would reappear, I did find a pair of Pied Wagtail, my second Common Sandpiper and noted House Martin overhead.
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Old Monday 17th July 2017, 21:09   #124
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Changing of the guard.

A last visit this evening was decided on before I head away tomorrow to work for three weeks. With clear blue skies and hot weather all day, I guessed what awaited me, even though it was gone half past seven. I was right. The car park was near full, as was the beach. I hurried along the path. The sea wall had teenagers on it. I hurried on. The harbour had kids in it and an older lady was throwing peebles into the almost still water. I hurried on. The rocks beyond the harbour had kids on them screaming and shouting. I stopped and considered heading back, but eventually moved on.

Halfway between the harbour and the tower, it was a lot quieter. And there were birds. A large raft of Goosander moved slowly towards me, close to the tide line and parallel with the path. I made two counts and settled on a figure of one hundred and thirteen. Moving on again, I found Common Terns on some of the few rocks that remained un-submerged by the rising tide. Then closer in, I caught sight of something small moving in the remaining shallow pools and seaweed covered rocks at the waters edge. Too small to be Turnstone, and smaller even than the numerous Ringed Plover around them, I was able to pick out the black bellies of Dunlin. Another common bird yes, but as with my Knot earlier in the week, another sign that the changing of the guard has started once again.
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Old Wednesday 9th August 2017, 07:32   #125
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First visit in three weeks found the strip sadly lacking in birds beyond the usual. Last month there had been signs that the waders were starting to return. They must have changed their minds, as with the exception of Curlews, there was very little.

The terns have also moved out, although I'm hoping that is temporary.

In the scrub, numbers of Goldfinch are building, and a single juvenile Greenfinch was spotted - first for a while.
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