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Birds fae Torry (3 Viewers)

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
More cold and wind today. As a result, the main focus was on the sea. I had a good look around the middle of the day and then late evening. In the first session, two Arctic Skuas, including a pale 3rd calendar-year bird, passed quite close by. Also on that session were nine Puffins and one Red-throated Diver. It was noticeable that, for the time of year, quite a few of the birds on the move seemed to be immature birds, particularly Kittiwakes and Gannets.

The evening session also produced skuas, but they were generally hanging about. Three Arctic Skuas were distant and a Bonxie was a bit closer. There were also three Manx Shearwaters, an Arctic Tern and two Puffins.

The Bottlenose Dolphins were coming right into the harbour again today, with three or four spending a lot of time around the head of the River Dee channel.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
A pleasant but cool evening today, with a light onshore wind. It was seawatching again and there was some decent numbers of some species moving, notably 143 Manx Shearwaters, 27 Puffins and 48 Common Scoter. A dark phase Arctic Skua went north close in and there was also a Red-throated Diver. Eider numbers have been building up over the past few weeks and I counted 179, mostly drakes, off the Coo.

At dusk I had some good views of the local Fox family on Abbey Road, with three cubs. Apparently people are seeing Badgers there quite a bit at the moment, so I'll have to keep a look out.
 

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Ian Hay

Well-known member
More cold and wind today. As a result, the main focus was on the sea. I had a good look around the middle of the day and then late evening. In the first session, two Arctic Skuas, including a pale 3rd calendar-year bird, passed quite close by. Also on that session were nine Puffins and one Red-throated Diver. It was noticeable that, for the time of year, quite a few of the birds on the move seemed to be immature birds, particularly Kittiwakes and Gannets.

The evening session also produced skuas, but they were generally hanging about. Three Arctic Skuas were distant and a Bonxie was a bit closer. There were also three Manx Shearwaters, an Arctic Tern and two Puffins.

The Bottlenose Dolphins were coming right into the harbour again today, with three or four spending a lot of time around the head of the River Dee channel.

Might be worth sending the dolphin photo to Charlie Phillips to get the individual dolphin identified. Could well be 'Carter' if it was a long way up the channel.

Ian
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Thanks for the suggestion Ian. Not much to report over recent days. A Knot was in Greyhope Bay yesterday. A couple of Redpolls were around Nigg Bay today. The Fox family is still busy on Abbey Road.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
An eerie, misty day here in Torry when it was generally hard to see more than a hundred yards. I had a good look around Nigg Bay, where quite a bit was singing. It was good to see a family of Blackcaps and a few other birds feeding young. A Redpoll was around and at least one Water Rail was calling from the marsh.

The grass was very dewy.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
An interesting day here in Torry, with the mist lingering around for much of the time. Inevitably it was a day I was busy with work for most of the time, so I couldn't get out until late afternoon. By that time, a possible Blyth's Reed Warbler and a definite Marsh Warbler had been seen by others.

I headed to the Battery where the Marsh Warbler had been seen. Sadly it didn't appear for me, although it had apparently been seen not long before I arrived. While I was looking for it, I had good views on a couple of occasions of a quite startling Willow Warbler, which lumbered about in the brambles looking a bit knackered. It was quite the most brown and white Willow Warbler I've ever seen, and certainly seems a candidate for the Siberian subspecies yakutensis. It seems like it's hard to be absolutely certain about the ID of this subspecies, but I bet it's from out that way.

I had a look around Nigg Bay at dusk, hoping one of the acros would have started belting out a song down there. Sadly nothing unusual was heard. It was good watching at least 50 Sand Martins roosting in the marsh.

Here's the crazy Willow Warbler.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
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Scotland
Speaking of Sand Martins, I had a rather intimate encounter with one around the Battery.
 

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I also visited the Battery yesterday, and spotted the willow warbler that you’ve photographed near the east side. The few people there at the time all commented on how brown it was, and how different it looked to a normal willow warbler. We assumed it looked darker due to being a bit damp, given the weather, but clearly that wasn’t the case. It was certainly giving good views and did indeed look a bit tired.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
It's a while since I last posted, which is probably a reflection of a lack of notable sightings.

Tuesday 16th: A quiet walk round the Ness. Duck numbers are building up with 44 Goosander and 395 Eiders.

Thursday 18th: An evening walk round the Ness. Lots of Bottlenose Dolphin activity. Two Puffins and three Manx Shearwaters went north offshore. A rather moribund Gannet was sitting on the rocks below the Coo. 40 Swifts were over Torry at dusk.

Saturday 20th: A morning walk around Nigg Bay in pleasant warm sun late morning. Three Bullfinches and a Redpoll were the best of the birds. My first odonata of the year came in the shape of single Blue-tailed and Large Red Damselflies. Odonata have been quite scarce in recent years, perhaps because of pollution. Both of these were on the isolated pool south of the path through the marsh, which might be less polluted the burn of the main marsh. Also a few Red Admirals and a Small White. An evening wander to the Battery to look for a reported Grasshopper Warbler didn't produce much, aside from a few Curlews seemingly on the move.

Sunday 21st: An evening walk around Nigg Bay produced a notable bird with a Crossbill flying west, perhaps after coming in off the sea. A large gathering of Sand Martins again appeared at dusk, although they seemed not to roost in the main marsh this time. The most enjoyable sighting of the day came from home when, earlier in the evening, I scoped two young Otters play fighting by the north pier.

Also, if you're a regular reader of this thread you may be concerned to know about proposed industrial developments around St Fittick's, where a lot of the wildlife I mention on this thread is found. There's a petition here, which I encourage anyone to sign:
https://www.change.org/p/aberdeen-city-council-hands-off-our-green-spaces-in-torry
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
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Scotland
There have been some spectacular sunsets lately, and last night some beautiful noctilucent clouds in the midnight glow.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Thanks for the comments! Early evening today was blustery and pretty quiet. Eider numbers have risen to 475. Waders included six Turnstone and three Ringed Plovers. Two Puffins went south offshore.
 

Gander

Well-known member
Petition signed and Tweeted.

I know the feeling. There is housing being built towards the edge of the loch at Kinghorn, and apparently, permission has been granted for a large scale housing and school build connecting Kinghorn to Kirkcaldy along the back of the Seafield strip.

Time for a move if that happens.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Petition signed and Tweeted.

I know the feeling. There is housing being built towards the edge of the loch at Kinghorn, and apparently, permission has been granted for a large scale housing and school build connecting Kinghorn to Kirkcaldy along the back of the Seafield strip.

Time for a move if that happens.

Thanks Paul. I think places like these near where plenty of people already live are very important to maintain. The local council did quite a bit a few years ago to improve the habitat in this area and it's worked well. It's a shame that it might be undermined by the same council.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Not a huge amount to report this week, but there have been one or two bits and pieces.

Wednesday 24th: 42 Goosander, three Arctic Terns and six Curlew going south.

Thursday 25th: Some reasonable seawatching with a Bonxie, seven Manx Shearwaters, two Puffins, two Whimbrel and two Common Scoters.

Today the weather was quite misty, after early morning rain. The wind picked up later in the day. In the morning Nigg Bay produced the usual breeding birds, including a pair of Bullfinches, two Redpolls and a family of Long-tailed Tits. My first Ringlets and Meadow Browns of the year were on the wing.

A late afternoon walk around the Ness mostly focused on the sea. Passage included nine Manx Shearwaters, 13 Puffins and four Common Scoters. Five Red-breasted Mergansers flew south, as did three Curlew. Greyhope Bay also held some returning waders with three Knot presumably on their way south. 11 Turnstone were also there.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
There were one or two interesting things today, in a walk round the Ness in the morning. Most notable were four Greylag Geese flying in off the sea and over Nigg Bay. Presumably these were on moult migration but I've no idea where they were coming from or going to.

Otherwise, the sea was fairly quiet but 18 Common Scoter and my first Red-throated Diver for a while went north. Three Knot were again on Greyhope Bay. Five Curlew went south. It was good to see a few newly fledged Swallows around the Battery and I also saw my first Common Blue butterfly of the year.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
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Scotland
A day of slow moving torrential downpours here in Torry, and I managed to get caught in one of them when I was out this evening. Quite a few scoter were moving with 114 Common Scoters in two flocks. The first of those flocks included a male Velvet Scoter - my first of the year.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Fairly quiet this afternoon around the Ness. Seawatching produced four Manx Shearwaters, three Puffins and eight Common Scoters.

This Sedge Warbler was still singing strongly around the Battery.
 

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