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Seafield to Kinghorn

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Old Monday 12th February 2018, 15:57   #201
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Old Sunday 4th March 2018, 08:43   #202
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East wind does blow

I had a suspicion that it would happen, and today my suspicion has been confirmed. A long spell of sustained east winds has encouraged some new birds into the Seafield area. Fife Bird News is reporting four 1w Little Gulls and forty-nine Fieldfare.

Both are new patch ticks, but a little frustrating as I'm still four days away from getting back along the strip to try and add them as personal patch ticks. Both species were high on my list of probables, and I've actively been searching for them all autumn/winter, but at least they have turned up.

THE LIST UPDATED
1. Arctic Skua*
2. Arctic Tern
3. Barnacle Goose
4. Bar-tailed Godwit
5. Blackcap
6. Black-headed Gull
7. Black-tailed Godwit
8. Black-Throated Diver*
9. Blackbird
10. Blue Tit
11. Bullfinch
12. Carrion Crow
13. Chaffinch
14. Chiffchaff
15. Collared Dove
16. Common Buzzard
17. Common Gull
18. Common Sandpiper
19. Common Scoter*
20. Common Tern
21. Cormorant
22. Curlew
23. Dunlin
24. Dunnock
25. Eider
26. Feral Pigeon
27. Fieldfare*
28. Fulmar
29. Gannet
30. Garden Warbler
31. Goldcrest
32. Goldeneye
33. Goldfinch
34. Goosander
35. Great Black-backed Gull
36. Great Crested Grebe
37. Great Northern Diver*
38. Great Spotted Woodpecker
39. Great Tit
40. Greenfinch
41. Greenshank
42. Grey Heron
43. Greylag
44. Grey Partridge
45. Grey Wagtail
46. Guillemot
47. Herring Gull
48. House Martin
49. House Sparrow
50. Kestrel
51. Kingfisher
52. Kittiwake*
53. Knot
54. Lapwing
55. Lesser Black-backed Gull
56. Linnet
57. Little Gull*
58. Long-tailed Duck
59. Long-tailed Tit
60. Magpie
61. Mallard
62. Manx Shearwater*
63. Meadow Pipit
64. Mediterranean Gull
65. Mute Swan
66. Oystercatcher
67. Pheasant
68. Pied/White Wagtail
69. Pink-Footed Goose
70. Peregrine
71. Puffin
72. Purple Sandpiper
73. Raven*
74. Razorbill*
75. Red-Breasted Merganser
76. Redshank
77. Red-Throated Diver*
78. Redwing
79. Reed Bunting
80. Ringed Plover
81. Robin
82. Rock Pipit
83. Ruff
84. Sanderling
85. Sandwich Tern
86. Sedge Warbler
87. Shag
88. Skylark
89. Song Thrush
90. Sparrowhawk
91. Starling
92. Stonechat
93. Swallow
94. Swift
95. Teal
96. Tree Sparrow
97. Turnstone
98. Velvet Scoter
99. Wheatear
100. Whimbrel
101. Whitethroat
102. Willow Warbler
103. Woodpigeon
104. Wren.
105. Yellowhammer

Last edited by Gander : Sunday 4th March 2018 at 12:06.
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Old Wednesday 7th March 2018, 20:07   #203
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Having arrived home late last night, I'd decided that heading off for a full day's birding somewhere was not going to be wise. Having had a lie in, I arrived at Seafield car park at 09:40 hrs, and was instantly attracted to the large numbers of gulls, where the Tiel Burn crossed the exposed sands to enter the sea.

I headed along the back of the beach to the burn disturbing several Carrion Crows, and noting that the old bus depot buildings had been demolished. A man-made hillock of red brick sat in the middle of the cleared ground. On the hillock sat several Feral Pigeons, who had probably once inhabited the old depot buildings. As far as I could tell, they did not look happy.

Scanning the assembled masses of gulls, I found mainly Black-headed and Herring Gull, but with a sprinkling of Great Black-Backed and the odd Common. Alas, no Little or Mediterranean Gulls that had been reported in the week. Also present on the sands were Oystercatcher and the odd Redshank. Out on the choppy waters, only Eider were initially in evidence.

Turning back from the burn, I headed back to the car park, adding a Mute Swan that flew over, to the list, and the first Blackbird of the day. Exiting the car park to head towards the tower, I noted some sparrows heading in and out of the dense scrub. It was no surprise as I often saw House Sparrows at this spot, but There was something not right. I tried to get a better view, but the birds kept moving away and diving deeper into their bushy lair. Eventually they burst out of their hiding place and flew overhead and away into the bushes and small trees at the back of the car park. I headed after them, and after several minutes of trying, I got a clear view of some of them. My suspicions were confirmed as the birds were Tree Sparrows. Only my second sighting of this species on the strip.

With the sparrows identified, I headed off down the coastal path. By the time I reached the harbour, I'd found Dunnock, House Sparrow, Song Thrush, Goldfinch and Magpie.

Near the gardens over-looking the harbour, I spotted a couple of Bullfinch. The male was being stalked by a cat creeping across the lawn. I clapped my hands and both finch and cat froze, staring down at me. The silence was only broken when a loudly barking dog charged across the lawn at the cat, chasing it, and inadvertently, the finches, off.

Starling was the next bird found, then out on the waters a few Guillemot appeared. Probably blown into the Forth by last weeks easterly storm winds, these were the survivors, unlike the several dead auks I found along the shoreline, with a dead Gannet also.

Also on the water at this point I found both Cormorant and Shag. On the rocks, I found Turnstone, Ringed Plover and Curlew before I reached the tower.

Beyond the tower, I walked as far as Bullfinch Cove, adding only a singing Skylark, Yellowhammer and Woodpigeon, before finding a personal patch tick when I spotted a group of Kittiwake on the water in front of the north end of Lime Kiln Beach.

Heading back, I only added a Wren to the day's list.

The storms had thrown a lot of seaweed and rubbish up onto the shoreline. I took the opportunity of finding an old washed up backpack, by filling it with plastic rubbish (bottles, caps, fishing netting, plastic weave sacking, plastic cutlery, hypodermic syringe and needle etc) and binning it at the car park. It felt like scratching the surface, but I felt better for doing it. I usually only grab a few bottles on by walks back, or maybe a handful of micro plastics and cotton bud stems off the sands, but this year I am determined to give a bit more back to this area which has given so much to me, by clearing a lot more of the rubbish that the birds have to live amongst.
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Old Thursday 8th March 2018, 15:52   #204
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Death on the strip.

A quick walk to the tower and back this afternoon. Sadly, I found a seriously injured drake Eider, just past the sea wall. It was sat on the sands, and initially I thought the motionless bird to be dead. There was a bad wound on the back of its neck that revealed its vertebrae.

I climbed down onto the sands and gave the bird a slight push with my toe to check that it was dead. The legs moved a little as the duck rolled onto its side. It then righted itself, but I could see that it was as good as dead. Its stained plumage bore witness to a lot of blood loss, and the wound was horrendous.

I wasn't sure what to do, but knew that moving the bird or summoning some kind of help would not be in its best interests. Nor could I just walk away and let nature take its course. I made what I hope was the right decision, and dispatched the bird as quickly as I could.

The rest of the session was to put it mildly, subdued by thoughts of the Eider, but in addition to yesterday's birds, I added Long-Tailed Duck, Purple Sandpiper and Grey Wagtail. Out on the Forth, I also found a personal patch tick when I spotted a flock of Common Scoter.

Now just hoping I'll sleep tonight.
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Old Thursday 8th March 2018, 16:04   #205
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Sorry you had to come across such a sight Paul, but glad you managed to do something for the poor thing.

Well done.

And well done, too, on your latest patch tick.
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Old Friday 9th March 2018, 11:30   #206
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I hit the strip at sunrise, which roughly coincided with high tide. I was still looking for Little Gulls, but to no avail.

Added Grey Heron, Long-Tailed Tit, Rock Pipit and Chaffinch to the species list from over the last three days. Bird of the day award went to the Grey Wagtail that frequents the rocks around the tower.

Edit - Blue Tit added this afternoon.
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Old Sunday 11th March 2018, 16:59   #207
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Spring has sprung

Very much a spring feeling to this afternoon. Started my walk to Stone Dyke Point and back in heavy mist, but finished it in bright sunshine. Little breeze, but some unusually big waves rolling into Seafield.

I didn't see any on the patch, but on the ten minute drive to the car park, I did see several LBBGs. My first of the year, and really, my first summer birds of the year.

Tree Sparrows still present behind the car park, along with a partly Leucistic Dunnock. Only species new in for the last few days were a pair of Red-Breasted Mergansers. That makes thirty-nine species in five days.

And for confirmation that spring has sprung, take a look at what is on the pictured Bullfinch's menu.
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Old Tuesday 13th March 2018, 16:25   #208
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Fooled

Returning from a bird watching trip at Letham Pools, I decided to drop in at Seafield. I had my scope with me, which is something I rarely take down there. With a calm sea, and only high cloud cover giving fairly good light, it was a good day to have the scope.

Straight away, I was finding good numbers of Long-Tailed Duck. My final tally was sixty-five plus. Also out there amongst the Guillemots, I started finding Razorbill. A patch tick for me, but one I would have had a lot sooner if I used the scope more often.

The scope also revealed Common Scoter and a single Red-Throated Diver, in its winter attire. Approaching the tower, I found another diver, but this one was very black looking, but hard to get a good look at as it kept diving every 10 to 20 seconds. With it looking so black I assumed it was a B-T D or a GND, finally settling on GND. I stalked the bird for about an hour, but it never got too close or stayed on the surface long enough to get a really good look.

I was sure it was a GND, however, I had been fooled. Putting a couple of the photos up on the Bird ID pages, I have been informed by the more knowledgable (thanks Andrew), that the bird was a R-T Diver in summer plumage. It was too far away to pick out the red throat, and the distance also appears to have made the head and neck blacker that they really were, but fooled I was.

Also present today was the leucistic Dunnock. I've been trying to get a decent photo of it for days, but it is very flighty. I've attached a slightly blurry photo for reference.

I am also updating the list. No new entries, but a few removed asterisks to show my personal patch ticks from over the last week.

THE LIST UPDATED
1. Arctic Skua*
2. Arctic Tern
3. Barnacle Goose
4. Bar-tailed Godwit
5. Blackcap
6. Black-headed Gull
7. Black-tailed Godwit
8. Black-Throated Diver*
9. Blackbird
10. Blue Tit
11. Bullfinch
12. Carrion Crow
13. Chaffinch
14. Chiffchaff
15. Collared Dove
16. Common Buzzard
17. Common Gull
18. Common Sandpiper
19. Common Scoter
20. Common Tern
21. Cormorant
22. Curlew
23. Dunlin
24. Dunnock
25. Eider
26. Feral Pigeon
27. Fieldfare*
28. Fulmar
29. Gannet
30. Garden Warbler
31. Goldcrest
32. Goldeneye
33. Goldfinch
34. Goosander
35. Great Black-backed Gull
36. Great Crested Grebe
37. Great Northern Diver*
38. Great Spotted Woodpecker*
39. Great Tit
40. Greenfinch
41. Greenshank
42. Grey Heron
43. Greylag
44. Grey Partridge
45. Grey Wagtail
46. Guillemot
47. Herring Gull
48. House Martin
49. House Sparrow
50. Kestrel
51. Kingfisher
52. Kittiwake
53. Knot
54. Lapwing
55. Lesser Black-backed Gull
56. Linnet
57. Little Gull*
58. Long-tailed Duck
59. Long-tailed Tit
60. Magpie
61. Mallard
62. Manx Shearwater*
63. Meadow Pipit
64. Mediterranean Gull
65. Mute Swan
66. Oystercatcher
67. Pheasant
68. Pied/White Wagtail
69. Pink-Footed Goose
70. Peregrine
71. Puffin
72. Purple Sandpiper
73. Raven*
74. Razorbill
75. Red-Breasted Merganser
76. Redshank
77. Red-Throated Diver
78. Redwing
79. Reed Bunting
80. Ringed Plover
81. Robin
82. Rock Pipit
83. Ruff
84. Sanderling
85. Sandwich Tern
86. Sedge Warbler
87. Shag
88. Skylark
89. Song Thrush
90. Sparrowhawk
91. Starling
92. Stonechat
93. Swallow
94. Swift
95. Teal
96. Tree Sparrow
97. Turnstone
98. Velvet Scoter
99. Wheatear
100. Whimbrel
101. Whitethroat
102. Willow Warbler
103. Woodpigeon
104. Wren.
105. Yellowhammer
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Old Saturday 17th March 2018, 11:03   #209
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Gulls in the snow

"I must be nuts", I said, as I headed out the door for a session at Seafield. The wife willingly confirmed my self diagnosis.

With a strong wind blasting in from the east and the air temperature at one deg.C, it was bad enough, however, with squalls of icy, granular snow being carried by the wind, and scouring any exposed skin, it was decidedly uncomfortable.

Exiting the car, the first thing that was noticeable was how difficult it was to stand still enough, to use the binoculars, in the buffeting gusts. The second noticeable thing were the huge numbers of gulls on the beach and wheeling over the dirty, foaming waves that were pounding into the shoreline.

I'd come expecting auks. I'd thought the easterly would have pushed them into the Seafield area, and I had a faint hope of Black Guillemot. There were no auks, not counting a dead Guillemot in the car park and another one behind the sea wall. What there were, was the previously mentioned gulls. They were everywhere, including a host soaring high above. I didn't attempt a count, but it would have been into the thousands I'm sure. Good numbers of Kittiwake were present, but the bulk of the assembly was made up of BHGs and Herring Gulls, with a smattering of LBBG, GBBG and Common Gull.

I made my way to the tower, scanning each group of gulls as I progressed. I was hoping for Little Gull, which would be a much sought after patch tick. I was also keeping an eye open for Mediterranean Gull, something that seemed a little ironic given the prevailing conditions.

Turning at the tower, I had almost made it back to the car park, when I spotted a juvenile gull sat on the wet sands. I was examining it as a potential Little Gull, when another gull landed right in front of it, obscuring my view. I didn't mind though, as the offending bird was my first Mediterranean Gull of the year, and the first time I have seen one with a full black hood. The other bird, on closer examination from a different angle, turned out to be a Kittiwake.

With a year tick in the bag, i decided it was time to vacate the Costa del Kirkcaldy, which as everyone knows, is just like the Mediterranean, just different.
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Old Saturday 17th March 2018, 18:49   #210
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Aye, who needs holidays abroad when you live in Kirkcaldy!?
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Old Sunday 18th March 2018, 10:38   #211
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianp234 View Post
Aye, who needs holidays abroad when you live in Kirkcaldy!?
My thoughts exactly.
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Old Tuesday 20th March 2018, 14:05   #212
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Sad Day

I did a full tour of the strip to Kinghorn and back today. Sadly, I found quite a few dead birds up beyond the high water mark. 12 Guillemots, 4 Razorbills and a single gull was the final total, but that was without trying.

Some of the deceased were as far up as the coastal path. I suspect that like the two I found in the car park, earlier in the week, they are making their way out of the water, but dying of exhaustion.

As a lot of children use the path, I took it upon myself to relocate the bodies back into the sea. Hopefully, they will be washed out and away.

I am wondering why the Guillemots seem more susceptible to the harsh weather than the other birds out there. For example, I am still seeing plenty of Long-Tailed Duck, but thankfully, no casualties there.

Nothing new found today, other than a Goldcrest and a Buzzard, both of which, especially the Buzzard, I have not seen here for a while.

EDIT - Finally got a half decent shot of Luke the Dunnock.
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Old Thursday 22nd March 2018, 13:36   #213
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I arrived at the car park at 06:30 hrs for a quick ramble to Bullfinch Cove and back. The large numbers of gulls have greatly reduced, and encouragingly, there are signs of some of the summer residents starting to move in, with both Linnet and Reed Bunting seen.

Out on the calm waters of the firth, I was even more encouraged to see both Guillemot and Razorbill, following the carnage of the last few weeks.

Also, a favourite of mine seen again at the tower.
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Old Thursday 19th April 2018, 08:19   #214
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Summer Arrivals

Yesterday, I had a bit of a lie in, so only made it down to the strip for about 07:00 hrs. With the rain coming on, I only walked to the tower and back to the car park. There had been a few changes in the last three weeks. Out on the firth, there was very little activity, apart from Eider. There were a small amount of gulls, a couple of Guillemot, Cormorant and Shag, a half dozen Red-Breasted Mergansers and a single Long-Tailed Duck. On the shoreline, I found the usual suspects, although the Rock Pipits appear to have moved on, and there was only a single Purple Sandpiper. In the scrub, the Linnets are now present in force.

Today, the sky was clear and I arrived at 06:00 hrs. I reached the tower without seeing much different from yesterday. At the tower though, I spotted a bird out on the little rocky peninsula that runs out from the tower. At first, I could only see its top half, but seeing the white gap between the wing and the dark marking of the chest, I was fairly sure that I had found my first Common Sandpiper of the year. When the bird popped out into full view and started twerking, I was absolutely sure.

Moving on to the tower, I climbed the rise to the phone mast above Seafield cave, and was very pleased to find a male Blackcap showing well. I wondered why I was not hearing any Chiffchaffs though, in an area that was full of them last year. Moving on again I headed past Bullfinch bay, and it was here that I started to hear and find Chiffchaff.

Still quite a few summer birds to arrive yet, but the influx has definitely begun.
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Old Yesterday, 18:06   #215
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The Willow Warblers had arrived in force by this morning. Also found more Blackcap, this time at the back of Bullfinch Cove.
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