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Birds fae Torry (2 Viewers)

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
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Scotland
That's a good count of Curlew - probably the best for a while.

I've not been out too much over recent days and didn't get out today until the afternoon. Quite a few Pink-footed Geese were moving, with around 300 over. A Kestrel flew up to a window ledge at the lighthouse. A late look around St Fittick's produced a Snipe and two Teal.

Does anyone know anything about the Red-necked Grebe reported here yesterday?
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
It was quite chilly in Torry today, with lots of brisk showers coming through from the northwest. Things started interesting before I'd even left the flat when I picked out a flock of three swans heading through from the southwest. These turned east near Victoria Road and then headed north. To me they looked quite short-necked and felt relatively small for swans. They weren't quite close enough to see the bill pattern clearly and the photos I managed don't show that clearly either. I'm still a bit unsure about them and lots of looking at pictures of Whooper and Bewick's hasn't really helped. If anyone has any thoughts, let me know.

I headed round St Fittick's late in the morning, seeing 13 Common Snipe, 19 Curlew, three Teal and a Water Rail. A Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Goldcrest were heard calling. The headland was mostly quiet in the afternoon but a flock of five Greylag Geese heading north out to sea were a patch year tick.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Conditions were very calm today with clear light and overcast skies. I had an interesting seawatch through the middle of the day, albeit not quite as good as the one Mark had done earlier. Highlights included three Little Auks, two Puffins (both on the sea), seven Scaup, eight Common Scoters, a Long-tailed Duck and four Goldeneye. Given that Mark and I only did about 90 minutes of seawatching between us today, I wonder what went past when nobody was looking.

Fans of the Purple Sandpiper Totaliser will be interested to know that, not entirely to my surprise, most of them seem to be roosting on the south side of the new harbour breakwater near Greg Ness. I saw a large flock appear in flight from there. It won't be the easiest spot to count them.
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
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Scotland
Fans of the Purple Sandpiper Totaliser will be interested to know that, not entirely to my surprise, most of them seem to be roosting on the south side of the new harbour breakwater near Greg Ness. I saw a large flock appear in flight from there. It won't be the easiest spot to count them.
With your skills, I'm sure you'll manage just fine Andrew.

The Purple Sandpiper fans are relying on you:)
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
That's, errm, very generous BN!

I managed to get out fairly early this morning, in lovely, bright, calm but cool conditions. I was again focused on the sea. A surprise were two Shelducks sitting about offshore. This was soon followed by a Long-tailed Duck and five Common Scoter. Not much happened after that, aside from a steady trickle of Red-throated Divers and Gannets.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
It was pretty cold today with a brisk NW wind. It looks as though it's going to get even brisker over the next day or two. I had an interesting seawatch mid-morning. The highlight was a Black-throated Diver going north. These are pretty rare things to see here, particularly flying past. This winter-plumage bird was fortunately fairly close in, so the head pattern and contrasting greyish nape could be seen easily. Also around were three Little Auks, a Great Northern Diver and four Common Scoters.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
I had a decent, very cold wander round the headland today. There was a certain amount of devastation evident in the wake of Storm Arwen, with a number of trees fallen on Abbey Road. The wind was still bitingly cold and there were regular snow flurries. The main birds in evidence were gulls, who seemed to be making the most of the conditions and finding plenty to feed on along the north shore. I kept my eyes open for something among them and was rewarded with an absolute monster of an adult Glaucous Gull in Greyhope Bay. It was initially on the shore before flying over to the rocks to roost, where it dwarfed all the other gulls. Eventually it found its way to the breakwater. It was pretty tatty looking, with some pictures showing a bare patch of skin on its throat. I bet it's had an interesting last day or two.

A seawatch from the Coo also struck white-winged gold when a lovely juvenile Iceland Gull drifted northwards among the heaving waves. Relatively little else was moving, although two Little Auks passed fairly close in. There was also a lone Pink-footed Goose, three Teal and a Wigeon.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
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Scotland
It had occurred to me that the Iceland Gull was quite a dark one, but I'd told myself it could just be a 'dark glaucoides' rather than anything else. Anyway, it seems as though it's actually a Kumlien's Gull. The dark primary shafts and the rather dark tail are the best features.
 
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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Today was predictably cold and predictably good. There was a light dusting of snow first thing in the morning but the wind was fairly light until the afternoon and there weren't many showers. A Golden Plover was heard calling above the golf course. Yesterday's adult Glaucous Gull was again in Greyhope Bay, where it spent much of the day feasting on a dead Herring Gull. It seemed to have spruced itself up slightly, although the blood covered face distracted a little from the neater look.

The sea was the main attraction and some decent passage was on show, at least until the wind picked up. The highlight was a White-billed Diver heading north at around 11am, probably around half a mile out. The yellowish-white bill was striking, at least while the bird was sideways on and in reasonable light. It's not so obvious in my pictures though. Other birds moving included a Great Northern Diver, 18 Red-throated Divers, five Little Auks, two Puffins, two Pink-footed Geese, a Wigeon, a Goosander, three Velvet Scoters, five Common Scoters, five Long-tailed Ducks and 17 Gannets. A couple of good waders later on were a Lapwing and a Bar-tailed Godwit - both patch year ticks.

I spent a while looking at an auk that was a few hundred yards out to sea. It had a head pattern that was somewhat reminiscent of a Brunnich's Guillemot, several of which have been seen recently along the east coast. The head was mostly dark with a pale, isolated chin patch. On closer views it showed some noticeable flank streaking and the bill always looked too long and thin for a Brunnich's, so it seems like it was just a moulting Common Guillemot. It was a reminder that you need good views and close checking to be sure though.

On my way back, I found a second Glaucous Gull, this time a juvenile roosting on the north pier. That's the first time I've seen more than one of that species in a day here.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
I got out reasonably early this morning for a seawatch. Mark was already there and a reasonable amount was passing, at least at first. Counts for me included nine Little Auks (including one flying out of Greyhope Bay), seven Puffins, ten Red-throated Divers, a Wigeon, 19 Long-tailed Ducks, five Red-breasted Mergansers and a Goldeneye. Mark had higher totals.

We both got a bit interested in an auk that flew north at fairly close range. It was fairly dark on the head, with a pattern certainly reminiscent of Brunnich's Guillemot. It seemed a bit short and thick-billed too, although that was hard to assess. It also looked a bit dark on the underwing. As such, we didn't think it quite ticked all the boxes. This bird seen in Northumberland is a bit similar looking. There are definitely some Brunnich's around, but there are some Common Guillemots that can look really similar too.

The adult Glaucous Gull was still in Greyhope Bay, sitting casually on the rocks and looking well fed. At least 20 Sanderlings were visible at the south end of Aberdeen Beach.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
I had a chilly look around the headland this afternoon. Not too much was about, although a Puffin went south offshore. Eight Sanderling were visible at the south end of Aberdeen Beach.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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