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Seafield to Kinghorn (1 Viewer)

Gander

Well-known member
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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ianp234

Active member
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!
 

Gander

Well-known member
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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Gander

Well-known member
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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Gander

Well-known member
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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Gander

Well-known member
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.
 
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ianp234

Active member
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.
 
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Gander

Well-known member
List Update.

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.
 

Gander

Well-known member
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
 
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Gander

Well-known member
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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Gander

Well-known member
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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Gander

Well-known member
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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Gander

Well-known member
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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Gander

Well-known member
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
 

AndrewG

AndrewG
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.
 

Gander

Well-known member
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.
 

ianp234

Active member
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.
 

Gander

Well-known member
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?
 
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Gander

Well-known member
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
 

ianp234

Active member
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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