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Birds fae Torry (1 Viewer)

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
It was a lovely evening in Torry today and there were a few interesting birds about. A seawatch was mostly quiet, though with an Arctic Skua, four Manx Shearwaters and two Whimbrel passing. On the way back, two Whinchats were flitting about in the willowherb and brambles on the west side of the Battery. These were my first of the year of what's nowadays a fairly scarce migrant.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
A few bits and pieces were around the headland today. Waders included at least five Knot, including a very bright adult, a flock of 20 Sanderling flying south, a Dunlin and a calling Whimbrel. Four Wheatears were in Greyhope Bay. Things were quiet on the sea but there were two Common Scoters, two Arctic Terns and four Manx Shearwaters moving.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
It was an enjoyable day in fairly pleasant, calm weather. I had a look around St Fittick's in the morning but it was fairly quiet, apart from two Teal, a good count of 20 Moorhen (most of them juveniles) and a surprise flock of seven Grey Herons. The headland was a bit more productive. Seven Wheatears was a good numbers and a Whinchat was again seen west of the Battery. Waders included at least six Knot and three Dunlin that went south. A seawatch was mostly quiet early in the afternoon but I had a couple of candidate Balearic Shearwaters. The light was a bit tricky, which made it hard to accurately assess how dark they were so I won't claim them. Also moving were two Bonxies, two Arctic Skuas, 11 Manx Shearwaters and 15 Teal.

I headed out again in the evening. A seawatch added another Bonxie and two more Arctic Skuas. 48 Manx Shearwaters and ten Common Scoter also went north. In Greyhope Bay there were plenty of small gulls feeding and among them I found my first local Mediterranean Gull of the year, a very smart juvenile.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Some really beautiful weather here in Torry today, with clear skies, calm winds and warm temperatures. The birding was fairly sedate but there were a few notable bits and pieces. A Greenshank was heard calling over Greyhope Bay and other waders included five Knot. The large finch flock in Walker Park included at least five Tree Sparrows - my first of the year locally. The sea was fairly quiet but four Teal went north and another was hanging about on the rocks with a Wigeon. Two Manx Shearwaters also went north and a couple of Harbour Porpoise surfaced. 83 Goosander were still in the harbour.

I headed out in the evening but could only add two Arctic Skuas and three Manx Shearwaters.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
I popped out this evening for some seawatching, in calm conditions with rather odd light that made it hard to ID some things. There was a fair bit of movement with 95 Manx Shearwaters, an Arctic Skua, a Bonxie and two Puffins going north. Two Sooty Shearwaters also went through, though both were a very long way out. Two Purple Sandpipers were seen briefly at the end of the pier in the new harbour. A phone call from Mark got me onto a flock of Black-tailed Godwits that were heading south - at least 16 in total. A Knot was on the north pier.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Today was fairly interesting, although it has to be said that I missed most of the best birds seen here. I did see a few bits and pieces though. A seawatch mid-morning produced my fourth Balearic Shearwater in the last nine days. In my previous 25 years living in eastern Scotland, I had only seen four others. A really nice Sooty Shearwater also showed up and sauntered around at close range for several minutes. Other birds moving included a Bar-tailed Godwit and six Wigeon. Two Wheatears were on the golf course and a flock of at least 31 Sanderling were at the south end of Aberdeen Beach.

Late afternoon and evening was also fairly decent but good birds that were seen to the south failed to make it up the coast to where we waited. Another Sooty Shearwater was seen, as were three Great Skuas and three Arctic Skuas. A very nice adult Little Gull was sitting on the sea just offshore.

Seawatching day totals included 153 Manx Shearwaters, four Red-throated Divers, seven Puffins, 28 Teal, three Common Scoters and five Arctic Terns. Another Bar-tailed Godwit flew in to the middle pier in the afternoon and there were also five Knot and seven Dunlin.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
It was another evening of seawatching entertainment here in Torry, in rather pleasant weather. The highlights were at least three juvenile Long-tailed Skuas that headed north. The first two were together and were a brilliant contrast of dark and light phase birds. The light phase bird was extremely pale but both birds were distinctly slim and elegant. Another went through a bit later and there were very likely three more that were a little too distant for us to be absolutely sure of. Two incredibly distant skuas may also have been this species.

Other birds moving included a Sooty Shearwater, five Arctic Skuas, two Bonxies, 86 Manx Shearwaters, seven Arctic Terns and a Red-throated Diver. Three flocks of Dunlin going north totalled an impressive 60 birds. A Wheatear was on the golf course and a Knot in Greyhope Bay.
 
I decided to join in the seawatching last night, although family commitments meant that I was a bit later arriving!

Got there around 19:15, but the light was still good. Immediately saw a group of Manx Shearwaters going north, which ended up being the first of about 40 birds over 45 minutes.

Plenty of Gannets going north as well, but no sign of any Long-tailed Skuas. However just as I was packing up we got onto a large shearwater going north - a Cory’s, which was nicely contrasted with a group of Manx that overtook it.

Another observer had a potential Balearic a good way out, but I didn’t get a great view of it.

A really enjoyable quick visit!
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Speaking of Cory's, I headed down to the Coo this afternoon with the intention of connecting with a bird that was being tracked up the coast as far as Inverbervie. Sadly, it vanished into the mysterious black hole that exists somewhere between there and here and was never seen. Some consolation came with a patch year tick Pintail that headed south with a group of Wigeon. Other birds around the headland included six Knot, two Sanderling and a passing flock of ten Dunlin. I briefly saw a flock of around 10 Purple Sandpipers on the new harbour wall, pushing the all-important Totaliser up a notch.

An evening seawatch was good and I was soon into the thick of the action when I picked out a group of four juvenile Long-tailed Skuas heading north. I was initially just following one as it flew well above the horizon but then noticed there were three more even higher up! Another pale bird was seen later, but was further out. None of them were as far out as a Sooty Shearwater that could only be seen as it came up above the horizon. Also moving were nine Arctic Skuas, a Bonxie and 83 Manx Shearwaters. Other totals for the day were 13 Wigeon, eight Teal, 15 Common Scoter and 20 Sandwich Terns.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
I got out for some more seawatching this evening and was greeted by about as large a group of other people seawatching as I've ever seen here. Looks like it's getting popular! Once again, a juvenile Long-tailed Skua was seen heading north - a reasonably light looking bird. Other birds on the move included a Sooty Shearwater, a Bonxie, three Arctic Skuas, four Red-throated Divers, an Arctic Tern and 22 Common Scoters. Waders included two Whimbrel going south over the golf course and four Knot and a Dunlin in Greyhope Bay. Arguably the bird of the day was a Little Grebe bobbing about in the outer harbour near the breakwater - a really unusual record.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
A slightly odd day today, which was good in isolation but frustrating given other things that were being seen. The Aberdeenshire coast picked up quite a lot of decent migrants but, despite a good few hours looking, they didn't seem to be here. The only migrant worthy of the name was a decent one - my first Black Redstart for a couple of years on the seaweed in Greyhope Bay. That was it on that front though! Other birds around included a flock of 11 Canada Geese going north, five Teal in the harbour, six Knot, four Dunlin and three Purple Sandpipers. A Black Guillemot was with the Eiders off the foghorn late morning. In the afternoon, a Whimbrel flew about the headland calling.

Seawatching was quite good in some ways, although this would be the day when a Cory's Shearwater would track up the coast and past the headland without me being there to see it. The evening seawatch produced a decent 15 Sooty Shearwaters. Other totals were seven Arctic Skuas, 95 Manx Shearwaters, a Puffin, six Arctic Terns, five Red-throated Divers, two Teal and five Common Scoters.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
There was a lot of rain here during the morning but it cleared up by mid-afternoon and I headed out with reasonably high hopes. In some ways it was good but ultimately very frustrating.

There were relatively few landbird migrants about, despite the rain. A Whinchat, a Whitethroat and a couple of Wheatears were about all I saw. There was however a much more interesting bird but sadly I only saw it briefly. I was at the Battery and scanned across the golf course to the southwest. I soon saw a Wheatear on the fairway about 100 metres away. It soon struck me as looking quite different to a Northern Wheatear. It was quite small and slim with rather plain grey-buff plumage, lacking the warm peachy tones and clear supercillium of most Northerns. It quickly walked over a small ridge and was lost to view. I then saw it again, not on the grass but perched in some gorse bushes. It was still very distant and I began walking towards it. I caught sight of it dropping down but couldn't see it. I never saw it again. It may have been spooked by a Sparrowhawk that was marauding around (one of at least three seen). The size, shape, plumage and behaviour all seem good for either a Black-eared or Pied Wheatear, probably a juvenile. I can only hope it hasn't gone far and will reappear tomorrow.

It was a good day for waders, with 12 species seen. Three Ruff were on the golf course, along with a Golden Plover. A Bar-tailed Godwit flew over and there 12 Dunlin, six Purple Sandpipers and two Sanderling. Two Common Sandpipers were along the north shore below the allotments. I had a quick seawatch before the haar came in too much. There was a reasonable amount moving but not as much as yesterday, with 14 Manx Shearwaters, two Arctic Skuas and two Bonxies.
 

Ben Nevis

Registered User
Supporter
Scotland
Due to family visiting,It was a bit late In the day,before I got out.In fact I spotted Andrew presumably heading home on the waterside track between the Piers.After seeing Andrew,the fog came down thickly and rapidly.Therefore nothing exciting was observed but I did see two Sparrowhawks,one very thin juvenile and an adult female with prey at the Battery.
Two Whimbrel flew south over the Golf Course,with one bird calling and on the Skates Nose,there was a selection of waders such as Oyster Catcher,Turnstone,Redshank,Curlew,6 Dunlin and 3 Knot,Including a bird still In brick red plumage.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Due to family visiting,It was a bit late In the day,before I got out.In fact I spotted Andrew presumably heading home on the waterside track between the Piers.After seeing Andrew,the fog came down thickly and rapidly.Therefore nothing exciting was observed but I did see two Sparrowhawks,one very thin juvenile and an adult female with prey at the Battery.
Two Whimbrel flew south over the Golf Course,with one bird calling and on the Skates Nose,there was a selection of waders such as Oyster Catcher,Turnstone,Redshank,Curlew,6 Dunlin and 3 Knot,Including a bird still In brick red plumage.
That's good. By my reckoning, at least 15 species of wader were seen here yesterday, as I didn't get Whimbrel or Knot and someone else saw Black-tailed Godwit. That's pretty good going for here!
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Another frustrating day in Torry, with scarce migrants turning up elsewhere but seemingly very little here. I wandered the headland and St Fittick's for a few hours late in the day with very little to show for it. A single Wheatear was the only bird of note around the headland. A couple of Teal were in the marsh at St Fittick's. Persistence just about paid off when I had views of a male Redstart along the railway embankment. That was about it though.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Action

While everyone else was seeing loads of migrants on Tuesday and Wednesday I was languishing in Lothian. Happily I got back last night and was still able to enjoy loads of migrants in much nicer weather. It was really enormously pleasant most of the day (apart from a bit of a downpour late afternoon) and, although some people seemed to be saying there wasn't as much about as there has been, I didn't exactly get bored at any stage. The big problem with migrants, I find, is that they all turn up at once and this means that some otherwise good birds are mere footnotes in my account of today, reduced to raw numbers. So, those raw numbers were along the lines of: Blackcap (3), Willow Warbler (13), Garden Warbler (6), Redstart (10), Spotted Flycatcher (3), Pied Flycatcher (2), Whitethroat (2), Wheatear (15). And some rarer stuff.

I started off along Abbey Road where plenty of Willow Warblers were moving through, and there was a general impression through the morning of birds moving quickly inland. This meant that areas a bit further west seemed to be busier. At the allotments I was almost immediately greeted by a big, scruffy looking warbler preening itself on the fence: a Barred Warbler. It continued to be a bit of a tart for several minutes, looking dishevelled after presumably bathing. I got some nice 'mystery photo' style pictures. Redstarts were very common and included some nice fresh-plumaged males. A Spotted Flycatcher zipped about and there were also Garden Warblers and Blackcaps. On the north shore there were five Goosanders and a Common Sandpiper. Lots of Wheatears were along the shore. Otherwise it was more of the same really, with the Battery being a bit quiet.

I reckoned that I might find a few more birds in the thicker cover slightly further inland so headed for the sycamores by the Golden Tee pub in Torry. This is a really good spot that I always reckon must pick up a lot of migrants when conditions are right. It's just a hundred yards or so from the golf course but has several mature sycamores and patches of scrub. What's most helpful is that the trees surround a small mound, which you can climb up to get yourself to mid-canopy level. It proved to be the liveliest spot of the day. The best bird appeared in a small elder bush at the base of the mound - a medium-sized warbler that I quickly realised was an Icterine Warbler. It cavorted about rather gamely for a couple of minutes before zipping off, sadly just as I was about to get some shots of it. A nice plain-faced bird with a good wing panel. Mark sadly turned up after it had gone, although I think I may have seen it again briefly while he was there (sorry I couldn't get you onto it Mark!). He did manage to find a Pied Flycatcher in the trees and there were also more Spotted Flycatchers, Redstarts, Garden and Willow Warblers.

I had to go to work this afternoon (hard life that I lead) but managed to get out again for the last hour or two of the day. Another Pied Flycatcher was just off Victoria Road in Torry and Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart and Garden and Willow Warblers were again by the Golden Tee. A Sparrowhawk, no doubt with as keen an eye for migrants as I had, flew into one of the trees and quietened things down a bit. I also had brief views of what appeared to be a Reed Warbler, again in the elder that the Icky had been in. I think it probably was one (it looked pretty rufous) but I'd have liked a better view. I then headed down to the allotments where I soon picked up two flava Wagtails flying about with some Pied Wagtails. I assumed these were the birds that Mark's been seeing over the past couple of days but which haven't been showing well on the deck. Happily they came down close by this time and I was able to get some decent views and some pictures (which aren't really that decent). One was a female/immature type but the other was a nice male Grey-headed Wagtail thunbergi. A really cracking bird - not one I've seen in the UK before.

I've got a bit more time tomorrow but it'll probably be rubbish then.
This was around the same time of year 12 years ago. This is what it used to be like here, although it seems it can still be a bit like that on some parts of the Aberdeenshire coast.
 

Ben Nevis

Registered User
Supporter
Scotland
I can relate to what you're saying Andrew.
I had a walk round to Greyhope Bay mid afternoon and apart from a single Wheatear,there was nothing else of note.I also got chatting to a birder/photographer from Newtonhill and as we were chatting,my phone continually "pinged" with messages on the Wots App Group regarding good birds north and south of where we were looking !!!!
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
I headed out around the headland again late afternoon, in the continuing gloomy conditions. After a quite a lot of work and several fleeting glimpses, I eventually had some reasonable views of the Barred Warbler that Mark had found earlier in the day. It was in the gorse bushes west of the Battery and was regularly flitting from one clump to another. It only became easy to see when it came it out into some tiny rowan and hawthorn bushes among the gorse. Otherwise, it thudded about mostly out of sight. A relatively plain looking individual.

Not too many other migrants were about, although at least four Wheatears were on the golf course, a Whinchat was near the allotments and I also saw a Willow Warbler and a Whitethroat. At least two Swifts were with the Swallows over the golf course. A Golden Plover was also still around.
 

Ben Nevis

Registered User
Supporter
Scotland
I had a walk to Greyhope Bay this afternoon,In pleasant conditions,after the last few days of rain and fog.All of the decent birds I seen,were around the Battery,with 2 Whinchat and singles of Barred Warbler,Garden Warbler,Pied Flycatcher and a soaring Sparrowhawk.
I believe a Humpback Whale was seen earlier In the day and I was asked a few times If I had seen It ? Sadly not.
I left Andrew still wandering around somewhere,and I never had the chance to say "cheerio".....apologies Andrew.Perhaps,he can add a few things to my story.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
I had a good walk around late in the afternoon. For the first time this autumn, there were quite a few migrants around. This included my first Pied Flycatcher and Spotted Flycatcher of the year and also two Garden Warblers. The Spotted Flycatcher was my first here for over four years, incredibly. The Barred Warbler showed quite well around the Battery for a short time. Other migrants included a Wheatear and three Whitethroats.

I had a look around St Fittick's but struggled to see much. Three Teal were in the (now very wet) marsh. As is the fashion these days, a flock of 12 Canada Geese went north at dusk.
 

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