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Seafield to Kinghorn

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Old Friday 4th November 2016, 15:57   #1
Gander
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Seafield to Kinghorn

Over the last few months, I have been covering a lot of ground, mainly in Fife, trying to get to know the best bird watching sites. Much as I enjoy doing this, and will continue to do so, I quickly came to the conclusion that I need to have a fairly local place to make my own "patch". A place I can make concentrated, regular observations at over a long period of time. I believe I have now identified that place.

My patch of choice will be the area around the Fife Coastal Path from the Seafield car park to Kinghorn. The path from the car park to Seafield Tower can be pretty busy, especially in Summer, with walkers/dog walkers. It is an area I have been watching on a fairly regular basis already. Beyond the tower towards Kinghorn, the path rises and falls a bit. The boundary to the West is the main railway line to Edinburgh. This section of the path is a little quieter (apart from the trains), and as I will reveal, there are a few secluded spots of interest that a birder can find his/her way into.

What has really attracted me to this area is the variety of habitats that promise a good variety of birds. Along the Seafield stretch you have good areas for waders and the rocks and broken down sea wall host many other types of seabird. The path does have some scrub here on the bank above which are the back gardens of some of the houses of the Seafield estate. Once you get beyond the estate and Seafield Tower itself, it is this area that you find a good mixture of various scrub, the most dominant being the Hawthorn that hems the path in at places. Where the path rises up to the railway line you get some good views down into scrub laden coves on the one side and some arable farmland (currently stubble fields) across the tracks. And of course there are excellent views across and down the Forth, with Bass Rock being a good landmark on clear days.

So, what I am going to initially do, is set the scene, so to speak. A picture paints a thousand words, so I am going to try and show, over the course of a few posts, the area I will be reporting on. In course of time, I will add my reports and also anything else of interest concerning this area. There will also be a species list that I will update as we go.

I hope this will be an enjoyable and informative thread for all to read, and if anyone can add any reports or pictures to it, I will be delighted.

To start with, I have attached some pictures of the approach to Seafield Tower and the climb to the South of it, with view back to the tower from the high point.
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Old Friday 4th November 2016, 18:59   #2
ianp234
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I`ll be interested to follow this thread. It`s an area I often visit too. As you say, a good variety of habitats and there`s usually something of interest to see especially away from the dogwalkers, or more accurately, the dogs running loose along the beach!
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Old Friday 4th November 2016, 22:00   #3
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SEafield Cave Cove

the top of the rise South of Seafield Tower is marked by an antennae or phone mast of some type. From this position, you have good views down the Firth of Forth to Bass Rock (see photo 1). You can also see down into a little un-named cove that is stuffed full of thick undergrowth and scrub trees all the way from the pebble beach to the top of the cliff (see photo 2).

For the sake of this thread, I will be calling this cove Seafield Cave Cove, for reasons that will later become obvious.

The path now runs parallel with the railway line, separated by a green metal fence, as it tacks along the cliff top above Seafield Cave Cove (see photo 3). From this path you can also view the island of Inchkeith (see photos 4&5).
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Old Friday 4th November 2016, 22:34   #4
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Pipe Beach

The path now approaches a Stone Dyke (see photo 1). This marks the South end of Seafield Cave Cove down below. The stone dyke runs down a grassy slope to the end of a rocky outcrop. For the sake of this thread, I will call this Stone Dyke Point, as there is no name on the OS map (see photos 2&3).This looks like a really good place for some sea watching maybe.

Looking South from where the path passes through a gap in the wall, you can see another birdy looking area that I am calling Pipe Beach. Thus unimaginatively named due to the metal drainage pipe that runs out over the beach at its North end. (see photo 4). It was this pipe that I watched a Sparrowhawk land on the other day. I couldn't work out why at the time, but today I realised that there is a flow of fresh water out of the open end onto the beach. Between Stone Dyke Point and the start of Pipe Beach is another scrub filled cove that I will be calling Bullfinch cove due to this being the place where I recently found my first Fife Bullfinch.

From the Stone Dyke, the path now descends, running along the top of the scrub covered cliff behind Pipe Beach (see photo 5)
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Last edited by Gander : Saturday 5th November 2016 at 14:50.
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Old Saturday 5th November 2016, 15:22   #5
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Bullfinch Cove & Pipe Beach

Photo 1 - Looking down into Bullfinch Cove.

Photo 2 Looking back (North) to the Stone Dyke.

Photo 3 - View back to Linton Grange

Photo 4 - Path continues to descend South at back of Pipe Beach.
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Old Saturday 5th November 2016, 16:09   #6
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First Patch Bird List.

The following is a list of birds I have seen on this patch since I started recording back in August. I realise there will have been many other species seen there previously, but have made the following list the starting point, and will add all future sightings to it as I go.

As well as my own sightings, I welcome those of others, and will keep an eye on Bird Track to keep the list updated. Please post here if you come across anything in the patch that is not listed.

The List

1. Black-headed Gull
2. Black-tailed Godwit
3. Blackbird
4. Blue Tit
5. Bullfinch
6. Carrion Crow
7. Common Tern
8. Cormorant
9. Curlew
10. Dunnock
11. Eider
12. Goldeneye
13. Goldfinch
14. Goosander
15. Great Tit
16. Greenfinch
17. Grey Heron
18. Herring Gull
19. House Sparrow
20. Long-tailed Tit
21. Magpie
22. Oystercatcher
23. Pheasant
24. Pied Wagtail (Yarrellii)
25. Redshank
26. Reed Bunting
27. Ringed Plover
28. Robin
29. Rock Pipit (Littoralis)
30. Sandwich Tern
31. Song Thrush
32. Sparrowhawk
33. Starling
34. Swallow
35. Turnstone
36. Wood Pigeon
37. Wren.
38. Yellowhammer

A modest start, but it is a start.

Last edited by Gander : Sunday 6th November 2016 at 06:44.
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Old Saturday 5th November 2016, 22:29   #7
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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.

Last edited by ianp234 : Saturday 5th November 2016 at 22:32.
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Old Sunday 6th November 2016, 07:20   #8
Gander
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List Update.

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.
Hi Ian,
I've seen the odd birder down there. Bumped into one yesterday afternoon who was looking for Purple Sandpiper. I only started visiting at the end of August, and mostly only up to the tower, so I've missed a lot of the more common Summer visitors. A quick trawl through Bird Track shows a potential for quick growth of the list over the next year.

I've updated the list with your birds. I've seen Yellowhammer there, so that was an omission on my part. I've also seen birds that I thought were Greenshank and Kestrel, but didn't make a 100% ID, so it's good to have them confirmed.

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. Common Tern
9. Cormorant
10. Curlew
11. Dunnock
12. Eider
13. Goldcrest*
14. Goldeneye
15. Goldfinch
16. Goosander
17. Great Tit
18. Greenfinch
19. Greenshank*
20. Grey Heron
21. Herring Gull
22. Housemartin*
23. House Sparrow
24.Kestrel*
25. Long-tailed Tit
26. Magpie
27. Oystercatcher
28. Pheasant
29. Pied Wagtail (Yarrellii)
30. Peregine*
31. Purple Sandpiper*
32. Redshank
33. Reed Bunting
34. Ringed Plover
35. Robin
36. Rock Pipit (Littoralis)
37. Ruff*
38. Sandwich Tern
39. Sedge Warbler*
40. Song Thrush
41. Sparrowhawk
42. Starling
43. Stonechat*
44. Swallow
45. Turnstone
46. Whimbrel*
47. Willow Warbler*
48. Wood Pigeon
49. Wren.
50. Yellowhammer

Half century already, and plenty to come. I must sort out my Black-backed Gull photos later to see if I can add both.
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Old Sunday 6th November 2016, 14:58   #9
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List Update

Just picked up a report on Bird Track for the 30/10/16. Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Guillemot, Shag and Long-tailed Duck added to list.

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. Common Gull
9. Common Tern
10. Cormorant
11. Curlew
12. Dunnock
13. Eider
14. Goldcrest
15. Goldeneye
16. Goldfinch
17. Goosander
18. Great Black-backed Gull*
19. Great Tit
20. Greenfinch
21. Greenshank*
22. Grey Heron
23. Guillemot
24. Herring Gull
25. Housemartin*
26. House Sparrow
27. Kestrel*
28. Lesser Black-backed Gull*
29. Long-tailed Duck*
30. Long-tailed Tit
31. Magpie
32. Oystercatcher
33. Pheasant
34. Pied Wagtail (Yarrellii)
35. Peregine*
36. Purple Sandpiper*
37. Redshank
38. Reed Bunting
39. Ringed Plover
40. Robin
41. Rock Pipit (Littoralis)
42. Ruff*
43. Sandwich Tern
44. Sedge Warbler*
45. Shag*
46. Song Thrush
47. Sparrowhawk
48. Starling
49. Stonechat*
50. Swallow
51. Turnstone
52. Whimbrel*
53. Willow Warbler*
54. Wood Pigeon
55. Wren.
56. Yellowhammer

Last edited by Gander : Monday 7th November 2016 at 14:02.
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Old Sunday 6th November 2016, 20:34   #10
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Seafield Car Park to the sea wall.

It is a fairly short and level path to the sea wall. Starting at the car park (photo 1), you head South (photo 2) along the path. On your left will be Seafield Beach (Photo 3) where waders and sea birds can be seen when there are no dog walkers about.

Photo 4 - The view back towards the car park.

And then you reach the sea wall (photo 5)
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Old Sunday 6th November 2016, 21:38   #11
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Sea Wall to Tower

Photo 1 and 2 - The path passes South between the wall and the Seafield estate that sits on top of a high scrubby bank.

Photo 3 - View South from the South end of the wall.

Photo 4 - The view out over the Sea Wall Beach. Great ridges of rock here that waders like to feed between.

Photo 5 - Tower in sight.
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Old Sunday 6th November 2016, 21:50   #12
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Sea Wall and Seawall Beach

Photo 1 - Crumbling South end of the wall.

Photo 2 - Wall residents.

Photos 3 & 4 - Sea Wall Beach (The rocks are a favourite with the seals).
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Old Monday 7th November 2016, 13:59   #13
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Report 1

Walked the full length (2 miles approx) of the patch this morning, then back following bacon role in Kinghorn. Fairly quiet in bird terms. Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, Blue Tit and Long-Tailed Tit in the scrub. On the way back I found a Bullfinch in the now aptly named Bullfinch Cove. It was about 30 ft from where I spotted one last week, so may be the same bird.

Wife (along for the walk) also spotted a Goldcrest for me, so that's a new personal patch tick.

Down at sea level, there were the usual selection of gulls, along with Cormorants. Also, a few Eider. On the shore Redhank and Oystercatcher were present, but my personal search for Purple Sandpiper goes on.

On the way back, we turned off the main trail trough a gap in the Hawthorn hedge near the prominent Antennae above Seafield Cave Cove. We found a path there I did not know existed. It follows close to the fenced off railway track through an area of birch. Gives me another area of different habitat to check out within the patch. There was also an apple laden tree along there. The path stops at the boundary of the Seafield estate, but there is a track that drops down to the main coastal path again, just South of the tower. For future reports, I will just call the upper path and and surrounds the Apple Tree Path (photos attached)
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Old Sunday 13th November 2016, 05:09   #14
Gander
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List Update

New tick from Bird Track is the Red-breasted Meganser reported on the 11th.


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. Common Gull
9. Common Tern
10. Cormorant
11. Curlew
12. Dunnock
13. Eider
14. Goldcrest
15. Goldeneye
16. Goldfinch
17. Goosander
18. Great Black-backed Gull*
19. Great Tit
20. Greenfinch
21. Greenshank*
22. Grey Heron
23. Guillemot
24. Herring Gull
25. Housemartin*
26. House Sparrow
27. Kestrel*
28. Lesser Black-backed Gull*
29. Long-tailed Duck*
30. Long-tailed Tit
31. Magpie
32. Oystercatcher
33. Pheasant
34. Pied Wagtail (Yarrellii)
35. Peregine*
36. Purple Sandpiper*
37. Red-breasted Merganser*
38. Redshank
39. Reed Bunting
40. Ringed Plover
41. Robin
42. Rock Pipit (Littoralis)
43. Ruff*
44. Sandwich Tern
45. Sedge Warbler*
46. Shag*
47. Song Thrush
48. Sparrowhawk
49. Starling
50. Stonechat*
51. Swallow
52. Turnstone
53. Whimbrel*
54. Willow Warbler*
55. Wood Pigeon
56. Wren.
57. Yellowhammer
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Old Monday 14th November 2016, 19:01   #15
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Hi Gander, not sure if this is the area your covering, but I photograph nesting Fulmars on a small cliff at Kinghorn, just off a small carpark, where a path leads you down to the beach, don't know the name of the street though.
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Old Tuesday 15th November 2016, 16:32   #16
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Hi Andrew,
Sounds a little further South from the area I'm watching. Thanks for the info though. I should be able to get Fulmar on the list in the not too distant future.
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Old Friday 25th November 2016, 22:33   #17
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Hi Gander,
Had a walk along there this afternoon. Saw a fair selection of birds, including a nice group of Long tailed Ducks, despite being dazzled by the low sun as I walked towards Kinghorn.
I counted 6 Mute Swans and 30+ Mallards at the old harbour at Seafield. Common birds, but only seasonal visitors there and a couple more species to add to your list.
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Old Saturday 26th November 2016, 04:44   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianp234 View Post
Hi Gander,
Had a walk along there this afternoon. Saw a fair selection of birds, including a nice group of Long tailed Ducks, despite being dazzled by the low sun as I walked towards Kinghorn.
I counted 6 Mute Swans and 30+ Mallards at the old harbour at Seafield. Common birds, but only seasonal visitors there and a couple more species to add to your list.
Hi Ian,
Sounds good. Mallard should have been on the list already, but Mute Swan is a definite new entry. Thanks for that. Another week counting gulls before I can make it back there.

Any Purple Sandpiper around?

Last edited by Gander : Saturday 26th November 2016 at 04:50.
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Old Saturday 26th November 2016, 04:50   #19
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List Update

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. Common Gull
9. Common Tern
10. Cormorant
11. Curlew
12. Dunnock
13. Eider
14. Goldcrest
15. Goldeneye
16. Goldfinch
17. Goosander
18. Great Black-backed Gull*
19. Great Tit
20. Greenfinch
21. Greenshank*
22. Grey Heron
23. Guillemot
24. Herring Gull
25. Housemartin*
26. House Sparrow
27. Kestrel*
28. Lesser Black-backed Gull*
29. Long-tailed Duck*
30. Long-tailed Tit
31. Magpie
32. Mallard
33. Mute Swan*
34. Oystercatcher
35. Pheasant
36. Pied Wagtail (Yarrellii)
37. Peregine*
38. Purple Sandpiper*
39. Red-breasted Merganser*
40. Redshank
41. Reed Bunting
42. Ringed Plover
43. Robin
44. Rock Pipit (Littoralis)
45. Ruff*
46. Sandwich Tern
47. Sedge Warbler*
48. Shag*
49. Song Thrush
50. Sparrowhawk
51. Starling
52. Stonechat*
53. Swallow
54. Turnstone
55. Whimbrel*
56. Willow Warbler*
57. Wood Pigeon
58. Wren.
59. Yellowhammer
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Old Saturday 26th November 2016, 21:44   #20
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Didn`t see any Purple Sandpipers. They often roost on the ledges around the big concrete blocks sticking out of the water, which form the remains of the harbour.
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Old Sunday 27th November 2016, 05:03   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianp234 View Post
Didn`t see any Purple Sandpipers. They often roost on the ledges around the big concrete blocks sticking out of the water, which form the remains of the harbour.
Thanks. I'll be sure to keep an eye on those ledges.
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Old Thursday 1st December 2016, 14:56   #22
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List Update

Noted some photos for November of Common Buzzard & Sanderling in the gallery of the Fife Bird Club website. Now added to the list.

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. Common Buzzard
9. Common Gull
10. Common Tern
11. Cormorant
12. Curlew
13. Dunnock
14. Eider
15. Goldcrest
16. Goldeneye
17. Goldfinch
18. Goosander
19. Great Black-backed Gull*
20. Great Tit
21. Greenfinch
22. Greenshank*
23. Grey Heron
24. Guillemot
25. Herring Gull
26. Housemartin*
27. House Sparrow
28. Kestrel*
29. Lesser Black-backed Gull*
30. Long-tailed Duck*
31. Long-tailed Tit
32. Magpie
33. Mallard
34. Mute Swan*
35. Oystercatcher
36. Pheasant
37. Pied Wagtail (Yarrellii)
38. Peregine*
39. Purple Sandpiper*
40. Red-breasted Merganser*
41. Redshank
42. Reed Bunting
43. Ringed Plover
44. Robin
45. Rock Pipit (Littoralis)
46. Ruff*
47. Sanderling*
48. Sandwich Tern
49. Sedge Warbler*
50. Shag*
51. Song Thrush
52. Sparrowhawk
53. Starling
54. Stonechat*
55. Swallow
56. Turnstone
57. Whimbrel*
58. Willow Warbler*
59. Wood Pigeon
60. Wren.
61. Yellowhammer
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Old Saturday 3rd December 2016, 15:07   #23
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Grabbed an hour this afternoon and headed along from the car park towards Seafield Tower. Plan was to stop at the tower as I had limited time, however, the area up to the tower was inundated with dogs and their walkers, so I pushed on a bit further in the hope of finding birds in a quieter area. That said, I did find a Mute Swan in the old harbour area, which is a personal patch tick for me. A little further on I found a wader mixing with some Redshank, that I thought at first was a Black-tailed Godwit. As I watched though the bird took flight and there was no black barring to be seen. Finding the bird again where it landed a short distance away, I managed to get enough detail to confirm my first ever Bar-tailed Godwit.

I continued along the path as far as the Stone Dyke Point. Species seen were Herring Gull, Black Headed Gull, Eider, Heron, Robin, Blackbird, Wren, Yellowhammer, Carrion Crow, Turnstone, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Cormorant and of course the Bar-tailed Godwit and the Mute Swan. Not bad for a quick hour, especially with two personal patch ticks, and one being a lifer.
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Old Tuesday 6th December 2016, 15:04   #24
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List Update

Nice list added to Bird Track by a birder yesterday for Seafield Tower area. Included two new species for the list - The humble, but ever so welcome Chaffinch and the Common Scoter. Purple Sandpiper were also on yesterday's report; a bird that continues to persistently evade me.

I also noted on Bird Track that there were a few entries for Black Redstart back in 2011 and 2012. Was very tempted, but don't want to add anything too retrospectively, especially a rarity. Just goes to show what is possible though, even in the months of January and February when those birds were found.

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. Guillemot
27. Herring Gull
28. Housemartin*
29. House Sparrow
30. Kestrel*
31. Lesser Black-backed Gull*
32. Long-tailed Duck*
33. Long-tailed Tit
34. Magpie
35. Mallard
36. Mute Swan
37. Oystercatcher
38. Pheasant
39. Pied Wagtail (Yarrellii)
40. Peregine*
41. Purple Sandpiper*
42. Red-breasted Merganser*
43. Redshank
44. Reed Bunting
45. Ringed Plover
46. Robin
47. Rock Pipit (Littoralis)
48. Ruff*
49. Sanderling*
50. Sandwich Tern
51. Sedge Warbler*
52. Shag*
53. Song Thrush
54. Sparrowhawk
55. Starling
56. Stonechat*
57. Swallow
58. Turnstone
59. Whimbrel*
60. Willow Warbler*
61. Wood Pigeon
62. Wren.
63. Yellowhammer

Last edited by Gander : Tuesday 6th December 2016 at 20:30.
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Old Wednesday 7th December 2016, 16:12   #25
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7th Dec 2016 Report (part 1) - To the Tower

An impromptu day's watching on my patch opened up due to a last minute change in my schedule. One minute I was to be dropping the car off for an MOT, then heading home to wait on a delivery. The next minute I was pulling on my birding gear, dropping the car off then heading to Seafield, as the delivery was cancelled.

A ten minute walk from the garage had me at the Seafield car park. Still very gloomy at nine o'clock, with little wave or wind. The tide was fairly high, but on the ebb.

From the car park along to the sea wall, I quickly listed Herring Gull, Oystercatcher, Black-Headed Gull, Turnstone and Redshank. A couple of Carrion Crow were present on the beach. Out on the distant rocks, I could make out Cormorant and on the sea in between were a few Eider.

As I approached the end of the sea wall, my sense of excitement was growing. Surely this was the day I would find Purple Sandpiper out on the broken down remains of the harbour. Three Mallard sailed gently away as I approached, but they were the only birds to be seen in the ruined harbour. Still, it was early
yet.

Pushing on towards the tower, I picked up Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Magpie, Curlew, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Common Gull and Wren.

Arriving at the tower, the heavy skies were threatening rain. The sensible option would be to head back as I had not picked up any waterproofs in my dash out the door. I pushed on towards Kinghorn.

Last edited by Gander : Wednesday 7th December 2016 at 18:59.
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