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Seafield to Kinghorn (2 Viewers)

Gander

Well-known member
With several visits to both the strip and the loch over the last five days, it is fair to say that has not been a huge amount to report. In fact, there are noticeably fewer birds than there were three weeks ago.

Along the Seafield strip on Thursday morning, I had a close encounter with a Sparrowhawk that swooped past me at the tower. It head out to sea before perching on a distant rock. As you will see from the photo, it appears to have some strange white spotting. I'm thinking it is possibly a young bird still showing a bit of down?

Also seen on Thursday was at least one Bar-Tailed Godwit. The first of my returning winter birds.

On Friday, I decided to do both the coastal strip and the loch area in one go on foot. Parking at the Seafield car park, I headed along the path for Kinghorn, before cutting inland to the loch. Having explored that area, I then headed back to Seafield, along the road, before cutting through the housing estate to the tower and finishing off by heading back along the coastal path to the car park. Four and a half hours on foot, with probably eight to nine miles covered. Typical summer fare in regards to bird, best of the day was a family of Grey Wagtails at the loch.

Yesterday, I made an afternoon call in to the loch. Heading along the loch side path towards the hide, I was diverted by the sound of hawks calling somewhere on the wooded hillside above me. I had to go off track, and endure a serious nettling, but eventually I was rewarded by the sight of a Sparrowhawk skimming the treetops. A good addition to the loch list.

This morning saw another addition to the loch list with a Common Gull found to be perched on a buoy.

51. Sparrowhawk
52. Common Gull
 

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Gander

Well-known member
On Tuesday morning, I made a very quick visit to the strip. Just a quick dash along to the tower and back before the heavy rain set in for the day. Nothing much to report from that session, other than the Sparrowhawk seen a few days ago, was again seen. This time skimming the gardens of the houses that look down on the sea wall.

Wednesday, I headed down again, with the hope that the heavy rain might have brought something down. Approaching the tower, I was greeted with the noise of Sandwich Terns out on the rocks. I've seen very few terns this year, and all have been passing birds. But here were a loud flock of about two dozen, and more importantly to me on this occasion, they had brought one of their smaller cousins with them, in the shape of a Common Tern. My first of the year.

Heading further along the path, I noted that Redshank are continuing to return. Just beyond the tower, a glimpse of the Sparrowhawk again. It is noticeable that my summer regulars are now getting harder to spot. They are still represented, but Sedge Warbler, Chiffchaff and Whitethroat are all largely silent now.

I reached the top of the zig-zag path that descends down to the lime kiln before turning towards Kinghorn.I have been neglecting this end of the patch, as it has proven fairly unproductive in the past. I can't explain why, as the habitat is as good, if not better than further north towards the Seafield end, so usually I'll stop at the top of the zig-zag. On this occasion however, I decided to give it a go.

I reached Kinghorn without too much to report. Recently, I adjusted the patch boundary by a couple of hundred yards, so instead of the limit being the edge of the caravan site, it is now the more natural railway line underpass. This won't make any significant difference, although, as on Wednesday, it has given me a personal patch tick with Jackdaws now in view.

Heading back towards Kirkcaldy, I was just around the corner from the bottom of the zig-zag, when I noticed some activity up on a patch of rock face. Suddenly, Robin, Dunnock and Yellowhammer were all on the day list, but more importantly, a Pipit was seen hopping about. I assumed it would be a Meadow Pipit, took a few shots, despite the very poor light, then headed off on my way.

Back home, looking at the photos on a computer screen, I realised that my pipit could actually be a Tree Pipit, so I immediately put my murky shots on the ID section of this forum. Responses did lean towards Tree, but as this was a possible patch tick, I fired the photos off to the Fife recorder, to see if I could get a definite yay or nay.

This morning, I set off to Kinghorn Loch, however, before I knew it, I was turning into the Seafield estate, and parking up in the little parking area above the sea wall. I knew that the probability of the pipit having hung about, was slim to none, but subconsciously, I seem to have decided to give it go.

I headed along the path at a fair pace. No list today, just a focus on the pipit hunt. It was about a mile and a half to the target area, but I was soon there. Looking up at the exposed rock that the pipit had been on yesterday, revealed nothing but a Yellowhammer. I loitered for a while, but there was no sign of my target bird.

Turning at one point, I did find a Wheatear on the rocks between me and the Forth. I think that is a patch tick for the year, so I was thinking that at least the hike had been worth it. Moving slowly along the path back towards the zig-zag, I had only gone a stone throw, when a bird flew up from the coastal rocks, into the refuge of a Hawthorn. It was a pipit, but was too quick for a photo. More fruitless loitering followed, before I repositioned myself, to view the Hawthorn from a different angle. That did the trick, the pipit appeared and I managed a decent (for me) photo, in the much better light. Even without looking at the photo on a bigger screen, I knew this time that I had my bird, with this being no Meadow Pipit.

Also worthy of note, was a skirmish witnessed between a female Kestrel and a large flock of Linnets. No casualties observed, but good to see a Kestrel on the patch again.

As for the Tree Pipit, it goes down as the one hundred and twenty nineth entry on the master patch list. I'd expected a good increase this year, due to the annexation of Kinghorn Loch, however, pleasingly, it is the old coastal strip area that has produced my best birds of the summer, with Lesser Whitethroat, Grasshopper Warbler and now Tree Pipit. I wonder what 130 will be.

As for the loch? I never made it. But there is always tomorrow. :t:

129. Tree Pipit
 

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Gander

Well-known member
An addition to the loch list yesterday; with a Curlew seen in the fields at the top of the hill.

53. Curlew

From that location, I can see Gannets out over the Forth, but I've decided not to add them to the loch list, as it does not really give a true reflection of the loch area.
 
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Gander

Well-known member
Changing of the guard.

Seafield Strip

My summer birds are rapidly vacating the premises, but pleasingly, my winter guard are appearing early. Five Dunlin spotted on Sunday afternoon, along with a possible Long-Tailed Duck at distance. Yesterday morning, I found my first Purple Sandpipers of the year. No totaliser required, but I was in danger of having to use the fingers on both hands; as the total hit five birds.

The Sparrowhawk is still loitering with intent around the tower area, so I'm praying for my resident Stonechats.
 

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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Seafield Strip

My summer birds are rapidly vacating the premises, but pleasingly, my winter guard are appearing early. Five Dunlin spotted on Sunday afternoon, along with a possible Long-Tailed Duck at distance. Yesterday morning, I found my first Purple Sandpipers of the year. No totaliser required, but I was in danger of having to use the fingers on both hands; as the total hit five birds.

The Sparrowhawk is still loitering with intent around the tower area, so I'm praying for my resident Stonechats.

I've not even been able to get the old totaliser out yet this autumn. No Purple Sandpipers here yet!
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
.... and I'm looking forward to the competition.

Shame I can't join in on it LOL
 

Gander

Well-known member
130 and counting

I wonder what 130 will be.

This morning I dropped off my youngest for his long awaited return to school, then headed for Seafield. There had been torrential rain overnight, so I was hoping that something may have dropped in to shelter from the storms.

There was actually less than there has been in recent weeks. Dunlin were still present, but the Purple Sandpipers were not seen.

The plan had been to move straight on to Kinghorn Loch, but I received a text that meant I had to run an unexpected errand, so it was mid afternoon before I got to the loch.

The first thing I noticed was that the water level was a good foot higher than before last night's deluge. The second thing I noticed was a lack of birds. At the little marsh beyond the hide, I did find a patch first with a Comma Butterfly. My Butterfly ID book shows them as being native to the south of England, however, the book is old, and they have spread into Scotland in recent years.

I made my way up through the woods, then along past the allotments back to Craigencalt Farm.*At this point I could have dropped back down to the loch, but decided to head up the lane to the hilltop, then loop around the arable cereal fields. I have this faint hope of coming across Corn Bunting up there.

As I approached the stone cottages perched above the farm, I noticed movement in a tree beyond and to the right of the cottages. The binoculars revealed Goldfinch, but also revealed something with them that turned out to be my 130th patch bird. There in the tree was a Spotted Flycatcher. It was dodging in and out of sight, and quite possibly there were two of them, but I am quite happy with only one confirmed. :t:

Patch bird of the year is going to be really difficult for 2020, but this is a contender. :t:

130 (54). Spotted Flycatcher
 

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Gander

Well-known member
A little bit of list updating required today, starting with the loch list, which needs 8 species added since last update.

Loch List
1. Blackbird
2. Black-headed Gull
3. Blue Tit
4. Bullfinch
5. Buzzard
6. Carrion Crow
7. Chaffinch
8. Chiffchaff
9. Common Gull
10. Coot
11. Curlew
12. Dunnock
13. Feral Pigeon
14. Goldcrest
15. Goldeneye
16. Goldfinch
17. Goosander*
18. Great Spotted Woodpecker
19. Great Tit
20. Greenfinch
21. Grey Heron
22. Greylag Goose
23. Grey Wagtail
24. Herring Gull
25. House Martin
26.Linnet
27. Little Grebe
28. Long-tailed Tit
29. Magpie
30. Mallard
31. Mistle Thrush
32. Moorhen
33. Mute Swan
34. Pheasant
35. Pochard
36. Redwing
37. Reed Bunting
38. Robin
39. Rook
40. Sand Martin
41. Sedge Warbler
42. Skylark
43. Sparrowhawk
44. Spotted Flycatcher
45. Starling
46. Swallow
47. Swift
48. Tawny Owl (call only)
49. Treecreeper
50. Tree Sparrow
51. Water Rail
52. Whitethroat
53. Woodpigeon
54. Wren


And the master list...

Seafield to Kinghorn (inc Kinghorn Loch) master list
1. Canada Goose
2. Barnacle Goose
3. Brent Goose
4. Greylag Goose
5. Pink-Footed Goose
6. Mute Swan
7. Whooper Swan
8. Wigeon
9. Mallard
10. Teal
11. Pochard
12. Tufted Duck
13. Eider
14. Velvet Scoter
15. Common Scoter
16. Long-Tailed Duck
17. Goldeneye
18. Goosander
19. Red-Breasted Merganser
20. Grey Partridge
21. Pheasant
22. Red-throated Diver
23. Black-Throated Diver*
24. Great Northern Diver*
25. Fulmar
26. Manx Shearwater*
27. Red-Necked Grebe*
28. Great-Crested Grebe
29. Little Grebe
30. Grey Heron
31. Gannet
32. Shag
33. Cormorant
34. Sparrowhawk
35. Buzzard
36. Water Rail
37. Moorhen
38. Coot
39. Oystercatcher
40. Lapwing
41. Ringed Plover
42. Whimbrel
43. Curlew
44. Bar-Tailed Godwit
45. Black-Tailed Godwit
46. Turnstone
47. Knot
48. Ruff
49. Sanderling
50. Dunlin
51. Purple Sandpiper
52. Common Sandpiper
53. Redshank
54. Pomarine Skua*
55. Greenshank
56. Kittiwake
57. Black-Headed Gull
58. Little Gull*
59. Mediterranean Gull
60. Common Gull
61. Herring Gull
62. Great Black-Backed Gull
63. Lesser Black-Backed Gull
64. Sandwich Tern
65. Common Tern
66. Arctic Tern
67. Arctic Skua*
68. Common Guillemot
69. Razorbill
70. Puffin
71. Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon
72. Stock Dove
73. Wood Pigeon
74. Collared Dove
75. Tawny Owl (Call only)
76. Swift
77. Kingfisher
78. Great Spotted Woodpecker
79. Kestrel
80. Peregrine
81. Magpie
82. Rook
83. Jackdaw
84. Carrion Crow
85. Raven*
86. Coal Tit
87. Blue Tit
88. Great Tit
89. Skylark
90. Sand Martin
91. Swallow
92. House Martin
93. Long-Tailed Tit
94. Willow Warbler
95. Chiffchaff
96. Sedge Warbler
97. Grasshopper Warbler
98. Blackcap
99. Garden Warbler
100. Lesser Whitethroat
101. Whitethroat
102. Goldcrest
103. Treecreeper
104. Wren
105. Starling
106. Blackbird
107. Fieldfare*
108. Song Thrush
109. Redwing
110. Mistle Thrush
111. Spotted Flycatcher
112. Robin
113. Stonechat
114. Wheatear
115. Dipper
116. House Sparrow
117. Tree Sparrow
118. Dunnock
119. Grey Wagtail
120. Pied Wagtail
121. Meadow Pipit
122. Tree Pipit
123. Rock Pipit
124. Chaffinch
125. Bullfinch
126. Greenfinch
127. Linnet
128. Goldfinch
129. Yellowhammer
130. Reed Bunting
 
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Gander

Well-known member
I returned to the Seafield strip again on Wednesday. Not a huge amount happening, with only a Wheatear and a Meadow Pipit representing birds migrating south, and a first Rock Pipit of the season representing new arrivals for the winter. It was also noted that a Grey wagtail was in the tower area.

Reaching Stone Dyke Point, a Sparrowhawk was seen. It landed on the bottom end of the wall, before swooping down into Bullfinch Cove and rearranging the tail feathers of a Wood Pigeon in a barely missed strike. I had a good look at the Sparrowhawk, noting in particular the banding on the tail. This was important due to an event that was too unfold later.

I reached the top of the Zig-Zag without much seen, but returning along the path, I heard a commotion down below me on the stoney Lime Kiln Beach. A crow was sounding the alarm, something I've not heard too often. Locating the vocalist, I found that it was facing off against a hawk that had its back to me. The hawk had its wings partially open, shielding what I assume was a kill.

I reached for the camera, but spooked the crow. The hawk, that I assumed to be the Sparrowhawk seen earlier turned towards me, and revealed itself to be a young Peregrine. Sadly, it hopped in closer to the bottom of the cliff below, and therefore out of sight before I could get a photo.

I returned to the strip early Saturday morning, however, I did not get much further than the tower due to heavy rain, and there were few birds about.

A couple of visits have also been made to the loch this week, but the woods are now empty of its summer visitors, while still awaiting any winter influx.
 

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Gander

Well-known member
Yesterday, a visit along Seafield produced nothing new, with the exception of a female Kestrel that was being mobbed by the local Corvid population. It seems there are more and more Magpies around every year.

This morning, I headed for the loch area. Still not a lot of activity, however, there were quite a few Song Thrush and Blackbird on the Hawthorns above the old cart road. Also seen in the adjacent cow pasture were a few Jackdaws, which are my first for this area.

55. Jackdaw

This afternoon at about 2pm, I headed back to Seafield. This proved a good decision, as a handsome Kingfisher had moved in, and was successfully fishing from the rocks between the harbour and the tower. Further along, at the point, there was a large group of gulls down at the outfall pipe. Mainly BHG, Herring and Common, there was one exception, with a nice Mediterranean Gull being added to the year list.
 

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Gander

Well-known member
Sea watching at Seafield was pretty dismal this morning. It is not ofter that I lug the scope along there, but I gave it a go today, as reports from Kinghorn have been good over the last few days. I soon put an end to that!

On the sand however, I did find my first confirmed Arctic Tern of the year.

Moving on to the loch, it was quiet, with the exception of 26 noisy arrivals. A new entry on the loch list.

56. Canada Goose
 

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Gander

Well-known member
I predict

Looking at my lists for both Seafield and Kinghorn Loch, I have been trying to work out(guess) what the next seven birds will be to make the list at each location. Much easier to do this at the loch, as at Seafield it is getting harder to find new birds.

Why am I doing this? Just a bit of fun really, and I'm sure the birds will go out of their way to prove me wrong.

I Predict

Seafield
  1. Grey Plover
  2. Scaup
  3. Black Redstart
  4. Shelduck
  5. Mistle Thrush
  6. Slavonian Grebe
  7. Roseate Tern

Kinghorn Loch
  1. Teal
  2. Siskin
  3. Kestrel
  4. Waxwing
  5. Fieldfare
  6. Gadwall
  7. Scaup
 

Gander

Well-known member
, and I'm sure the birds will go out of their way to prove me wrong.

I Predict


Kinghorn Loch
  1. Teal
  2. Siskin
  3. Kestrel
  4. Waxwing
  5. Fieldfare
  6. Gadwall
  7. Scaup

Prediction made in the morning. By mid afternoon I am shot down in flames.

57. Wigeon

Also found my first male Common Darter in the marsh area (plenty of females evident for weeks), and spent some time in the small conifer stand watching a pair of Treecreepers.

Popped into Seafield on the way back and found that the Purple Sandpiper population has exploded. Now at 14.:t:
 

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Gander

Well-known member
Nothing new at Seafield yesterday. Only thing unusual was a Guillemot up on the rocks. Never seen one on the rocks here before.

This morning at the loch, did turn up a new bird. As previously unpredicted, a Kingfisher made a showing. I've been looking out for one here all summer, with no success, although the visiting carp anglers had reported one to me. I thought the opportunity had gone for this year, but wrong again.

Also new in at the loch is a female Pochard. The two males that were there in the spring and early summer are long gone, so Mrs Pochard is having to make do with Mallards for company.
 

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delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
LOL Paul... neither on your list!!

May I suggest you don't get a Lottery ticket this week;)

Some lovely sightings though... keep 'em coming lad.
 

Gander

Well-known member
I did a full tour of the Seafield strip this morning, end to end. Most surprising spot was a Great Spotted Woodpecker that flew the point; a personal strip tick for me. I met a couple of other bird watchers later, and mentioned the GSW. They confirmed that they had seen it recently also.

Also seen this morning was a Grey Squirrel. I saw it a few days ago, again at the point. That was a first for the strip, although there are plenty at the loch. At some point, I'm going to have to put together a mammal list.

Of the other birds seen, a close pass by a Sparrowhawk and an Arctic Tern sitting on the rocks at the tower were the highlights. Also, lots of Pink-Footed Geese moving over.

A quick visit to the loch in the afternoon produced very little.
 

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Gander

Well-known member
I knew a few days ago that Pink-Footed goose should have been one of my loch predictions. The last few times I've been at Seafield, I've had flocks of them passing over, which means they would have been visible from the loch. This afternoon I found one at the loch.

I'd assumed that this tick would come by a flock passing overhead, but arriving at the loch this afternoon, I found a single individual waiting for me in front of the boat sheds. It had fallen in with the resident domestic greylag/farmyard geese, and as they were not bothered with people passing closely by, it followed suit by ignoring me, even when I was only 10 feet away.

Who's stupid idea was this prediction lark anyway?;)

59. Pink-Footed Goose
 

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Gander

Well-known member
Queen of the Loch.

Sometimes when constantly on the look out for new birds at a location, it can become easy to take for granted some of the “common“ birds that are under your nose.

I noticed a month or so ago that the one of the pair of Mute Swans that have bred successfully (seven cygnets) at the loch this year, has a ring. I have now checked out the ring code with the group that ringed the bird as a cygnet, and they have provided the information below (see blue font).

LYU lime/pale green (metal ring W29434) was ringed as a cygnet at St. Andrew's Harbour (hatched Kinness Burn) on 17th September 2010. Remained there until at least 5th October 2010 but next sighting was not until at Alexandra Park, Glasgow on 6th December 2011.

Not seen again until at St. Margaret's Loch, Edinburgh on 7th and 20th January 2013 then Leith Docks on 21st April 2013.

First reported from Kinghorn Loch on 29th May 2014 when with 2 young, fledging 1 young. Bred there every year until 2018 - fledging 1 young in 2015, 5 in 2016 and 2017 and 7 in 2018 - before her mate died early in 2019 and she had moved to Musselburgh by 21st April 2019 to moult.

Reported back at Kinghorn Loch with an unringed male on 18th January 2020 and has obviously bred successfully again this year.


Nice to have a bit of history on a bird.

The photos show LYU with her current cygnets. The bird on the water is her mate.
 

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delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
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Supporter
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How interesting Paul. I didn't realise they moved about so much.

Thanks for the info and the pictures too.
 

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