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Birds fae Torry (2 Viewers)

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
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Scotland
The rain that had continued throughout yesterday abated around 8.30 this morning and I was out pretty much all day with fairly high expectations. It was very good in many ways but also a bit frustrating in others. There were lots of migrants and a few very high counts but the diversity of migrants was relatively low. Nothing rare was found - well, not quite anyway.

Perhaps the most conspicuous migrants through the morning were Barnacle Geese. I counted 630 in several flocks but that was certainly an underestimate, as there were a few more distant flocks that I didn't see well enough to be certain of the species. Ducks were also moving and this included a quite freakish flock of around 20 Pintail that headed over the golf course. 12 Wigeon also went through.

Landbird migrants were the main things I was hoping for and there were plenty of some species around. A Yellow-browed Warbler was in the same area of the north bank as on Friday and four Redstarts were dotted about. Other totals included 11 Chiffchaffs, 16 Blackcaps, 18 Goldcrests, 12 Redwing, two Brambling, one Swallow, one House Martin, one Siskin, two Grey Wagtails, 22 Chaffinches and an impressive 79 Song Thrushes. That was about it though and there was a strange lack of diversity.

The big frustration came relatively early on when I was walking along the bottom of the north bank below the allotments. A small bird flitted up and perched on a rose bush in front of me. Once I got my bins on it, I saw what looked like a very pale buff Stonechat. I tried to get a picture but it moved off and landed briefly on the rocks, showing what seemed like a pale buff rump, before flitting off into the willowherb. I could see where it was but it didn't pop up again so I walked closer. I couldn't find it and, weirdly, never saw it again despite searching. I'm pretty sure it was a Siberian Stonechat, but I've no idea where it got to. Birds were moving through pretty quickly this morning, so perhaps it flitted off unseen and moved on.

Other birds included two normal Stonechats, a Golden Plover, a Snipe and a couple of Sanderling. I looked around Nigg Bay late in the afternoon but it had gone fairly quiet by then.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
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Scotland
I had a look around the north side of the headland this morning. Relatively few migrants were still around, with most thrushes having departed. A Yellow-browed Warbler was still calling in the north bank sycamores. Other migrants included two Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff, three Goldcrests and a Redwing. A Mistle Thrush flew east over the harbour. Probably the most notable migrant, although no longer a rarity here, was a Water Rail that flew up briefly from the north bank before settling in the willowherb. A Common Sandpiper and a Golden Plover were along the shore.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
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Supporter
Scotland
I was already planning to head out for the final hour or two of the day when I got a message from Mark saying he'd found a Pallas's Warbler at the Battery. I was soon heading out and made pretty much straight there, passing a couple of Blackcaps on Abbey Road. Mark had advised that it had been showing well in the gorse on the southeast side of the Battery. I waited for a while without anything showing so decided to have a wander about.

I passed a bush full of five Goldcrests but it wasn't with them. I wandered round to the western side of the Battery along the densely weeded ditch when I caught a quick movement and a glimpse of yellow and green. There it was! It continued to hop about at just a few metres distance for quite some time, sometimes getting low down in the weeds but sometimes coming up and showing brilliantly. It was good to look down on it rather than staring up into a tree canopy. They really are about as good as any bird we get in Britain.

This was only my second ever here and the first was fourteen years ago (also at the Battery). Well done to Mark for finding it.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
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Scotland
If you'll allow me an indulgence, after seeing the Pallas's Warbler, I got offered a lift across the Dee by Mark Sullivan to look for the interesting wagtail that had been reported just over the harbour near the Beach Ballroom.

We arrived to find that the bird had just flown off from the busy, grassy field it had been frequenting. There was some discussion about the ID but a consensus seemed to be forming that it was a Citrine Wagtail. After several minutes, it reappeared right in front of us and gave very nice views in the late afternoon light. Eventually it bounded off, calling several times as it did so. I was able to get a reasonable recording, which I've posted here:
https://www.xeno-canto.org/593242
Both plumage and call seem to point very clearly to Citrine Wagtail. If it fancies a day across the river tomorrow, that would be great.

There were also still at least five Swallows about in the area.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
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Scotland
Things were a bit more subdued today, in breezy conditions. The Pallas's Warbler was still around in the same area. It was much harder to see, keeping well inside the weedy cover most of the time.

That was the only warbler (or landbird migrant) I saw. Otherwise, the most notable sighting was of two Greylag Geese, betraying their presence noisily in a flock of 15 Pink-footed Geese that were going south.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
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Scotland
A late afternoon wander was mostly fairly quiet. I had a quick look for the Pallas's Warbler but didn't see it so perhaps it's moved on. Not too many migrants were in evidence. Two Blackcaps were the only warblers. The best bird was a Whinchat around the Battery, along with at least three male Stonechats. A Knot was in Greyhope Bay and the dolphins put on a good show.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
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Scotland
If you'll allow me to stray outside of Torry once again, I'll include a jaunt into areas that can at least be seen from the Royal Burgh. I headed up to the unlikely birding location of the car park at Pittodrie, home of the Dandy Dons. A few days ago, a Hoopoe was reported there and many people saw it over the weekend. I was away and yesterday was pretty rainy. Today I had my chance and headed over. A few other birders were lurking about the car park and the bird was easily found, picking away on the short grass at the edge of the car park. I'm not sure why it likes this spot, although perhaps the short grass and gravel remind it of wherever it came from. Somewhat surprisingly, it was my first ever British Hoopoe. Until today, Hoopoe was the only species my mum had seen in the UK that I hadn't!

I didn't look too much else for birds, although a Goldcrest and a couple of Redwings were on nearby Broad Hill.
 

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delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
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Scotland
Gosh Andrew... I saw one years ago at the Heavy Horse Centre, between Perth and Dundee (don't think it's there any more..... the centre that is LOL).

That one was in a car park too, there seems to be something about these guys and car parks.
 

Ben Nevis

Well-known member
I had a wander round the Battery this morning,In brisk winds.
As expected,nothing exciting was around,other than a single male Blackcap,5 Blue Tits and 6 Redwing on the bushes to the east of the Battery.
A couple of other Birders were around,so perhaps they came across something better.

For the second time In a month,I seen a Great spotted Woodpecker on a tree on Balnagask Road,just up from the Mound.
 
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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
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Scotland
I had a wander round the Battery this morning,In brisk winds.
As expected,nothing exciting was around,other than a single male Blackcap,5 Blue Tits and 6 Redwing on the bushes to the east of the Battery.
A couple of other Birders were around,so perhaps they came across something better.

For the second time In a month,I seen a Great spotted Woodpecker on a tree on Balnagask Road,just up from the Mound.

I think you probably did better than me there. This afternoon there were very few migrants, aside from a Chiffchaff on Abbey Road and a couple of Redwings. Two male Stonechats were east of the Battery.

The sea was fairly busy, with a significant northward passage of Kittiwakes and auks. Not too much was amongst them. The best of it was one Black Guillemot, a Manx Shearwater, nine Wigeon, two Red-throated Divers and a Goldeneye.
 

Ben Nevis

Well-known member
An unusual sighting for me on Balnagask Road,first thing this morning but a party of 15 Long tailed Tits were on the tree outside my house.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

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Scotland
A grey day in Torry and I had a quick look round the Nigg Bay area in the morning. I was pleased to flush two Jack Snipe from the marsh, along with eight Common Snipe. At least 14 Siskins were in the alders along the burn. Other stuff included five Teal, a Chiffchaff, two Bullfinches, a Goldcrest and four calling Water Rail.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

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A bit of a grey day in Torry, with regular annoying showers of drizzle and a freshening northerly wind.The morning was spent around Nigg Bay. It was mostly quiet. A Brambling flew over and a Water Rail was flushed in the marsh. 23 Wigeon went north overhead. Also about were a Teal, three Snipe, two Chiffchaffs, five Goldcrests and seven Bullfinches.

The latter part of the afternoon was mainly focused on the sea. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew through towards Greyhope Bay. Still great to see, even if they're half-expected these days. A Little Auk was eventually seen after it had come up off the sea to fly about fifty metres before landing again. A Merlin was picked up flying in off the sea before scooting up over Nigg Bay and Tullos Hill. Other stuff moving included five Wigeon, three Mallard, four Common Scoter, two Long-tailed Ducks and a Red-throated Diver.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

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A reasonably fine day today in Torry and I was out for quite a bit of the time with a similar routine to yesterday. Today, things were livelier in the morning around Nigg Bay. The marsh again produced a Jack Snipe, as well as five Common Snipe. Four Water Rails included two that were seen briefly. Finches were prominent with a Crossbill, two Redpolls, 12 Siskin and nine Bullfinches. Two Fieldfares were my first of the autumn and there were at least nine Redwing and two Chiffchaffs. 95 Pink-footed Geese went north.

The headland was fairly quiet in the afternoon, although there was some rugged improvement on the Purple Sandpiper Totaliser:

83

A drake Red-breasted Merganser flew out of the harbour and 11 Long-tailed Ducks included a flock of ten going south.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

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It was a murky, grey day in Aberdeen today. During the day I saw a couple of quite large flocks of thrushes, predominantly Fieldfares, coming in off the sea. I headed out late in the afternoon but no more thrushes seemed to be passing through by that time. The only lingering migrants was a Swallow, my first for a while. Waders included a Dunlin and two Knot. There was also belligerent progress on the Purple Sandpiper Totaliser:

102

Eight Long-tailed Ducks went south offshore.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

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Things brightened up this afternoon and I had a look around the headland. A Stonechat was near the Battery and we forged ahead on the Purple Sandpiper Totaliser:

112

You can count them from the picture, if you like. The main interest was offshore, where plenty of Kittiwakes were moving. An adult Mediterranean Gull also went north, at a fair distance. Loitering offshore was a single adult Little Gull.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

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A Wigeon was on the marsh yesterday morning.

Today things were quite pleasant after some heavy overnight rain. There seemed to be more thrushes along Abbey Road and the most notable migrant was also there: my first Siberian Chiffchaff of the autumn. Migrants were less obvious around the headland. 105 Purple Sandpipers were roosting and three Common Scoters and two Red-throated Divers were offshore.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

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It's been a bit quiet over recent days, with not much to report. Today was a bit better around Nigg Bay in breezy, mild conditions. My second Siberian Chiffchaff of the autumn showed quite well along the burn. It was calling quite a bit at times too(and I think there may have been a second bird calling too). Over-exposed photos are below.

A Jack Snipe was again in the marsh and there was also one Common Snipe, four Teal, a Common Chiffchaff, five Bullfinches, a Mistle Thrush, nine Redwings and around 20 Siskins. A late Common Darter was on the wing.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

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This afternoon was mild and very calm. I spent much of the time looking for a possible Water Pipit that was reported in the morning but without success. Two Chiffchaffs were on Abbey Road and a late Wheatear was along the north shore.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

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It's been fairly quiet here this week and I've not been able to get out as much now the nights are drawing in. Today was pretty wild but brightened up for the last couple of hours of daylight. I managed a walk round the headland. The most notable feature were Fieldfares that were regularly coming in off the sea and sometimes resting on the ground. At least 22 were counted but there were doubtless more. There were also three Redwings.

Offshore a few things were moving, including a Red-breasted Merganser, a Teal and two Common Scoter.

Here are a few pictures, mostly from earlier in the week except for the Fieldfare.
 

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