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Seafield to Kinghorn (1 Viewer)

Gander

Well-known member
I've just picked up on a Birdtrack report from a fairly regular visitor to Seafield, that he had Shelduck there on the 15th of September. That is one I've been expecting for quite a while. Now I just need a Ruddy one.

131. Shelduck
 

Gander

Well-known member
A session on the strip this morning, and one at the loch this afternoon found both to be relatively quiet. The highlight by far was a Dipper found on the mill stream, just below the farm buildings.

It appeared to be very dark bellied, but I am informed that the slight red-brown chest band makes it a British specimen, and not a continental visitor. Still very welcome, and a good bird to make the round sixty for the loch.

And yes, I know I didn't predict it, but I'm still more accurate than a BBC weather forecast. :t:

60. Dipper
 

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Gander

Well-known member
Just a quick hour at the loch this afternoon. No sign of the Dipper, but I did find a few of the birds I was targeting yesterday. Two or three Fieldfare were active in the autumnal treetops that look over the allotments.

61. Fieldfare
 

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Gander

Well-known member
Interesting

It has been an interesting few days, although not as interesting as it should have been. At the beginning of this year, I was expecting to be in New Zealand right now, but obviously world events have stopped that from happening.

Saturday, I think it was, I had made a fairly unproductive tour of the Seafield strip, and decided to make a quick call in to Kinghorn Loch, however, I took the wrong turn out of the Seafield area, heading for home on auto. I quickly corrected my route and looped in towards the loch using the back road that travels over the hill, instead of the usual coastal route. As I passed along the narrow road that threads its way between the fields, the car put up a hawk from a hedgerow, that swooped in front of me and disappeared across the field. Sparrowhawk would not have been a surprise, but I felt the bird was too small. Definitely not a Kestrel, it has left me wondering if it might have been a Merlin.

It would have been too far out to be a patch tick, but if we get a good day next week, I'm going to walk out from the loch to see what can be seen.

Yesterday saw me back at the loch. The female Pochard is still there, but otherwise little of note on the water. In the woodland, there was a sizeable flock of Redwing, with a Fieldfare or two evident. Towards the top of the main path that angles up from the north shore, there is a row of mature Rowan, that have been heavily laden with berries. They are no longer heavily laden, as the thrush factor has devastated the crop. I had hopes of these trees attracting Waxwing later in the year, but there is not much left to attract them now.

Leaving the woodland, I headed up to the top of the hill. As I approached the top I heard a single note bird call, that was distinctive, but one that I did not recognise. I quickly found the source of the call. Two wader type birds were heading across the horse and sheep pastures, moving south at speed. I noted the general colouration, shape and beak size, and my first instinct was Golden Plover. Since then, I have been checking Xeno-Canto. The flight call that I heard was perfect for GP, and I have found nothing else that it could have been. Certainly not a Grey Plover, as there were no dirty armpits. Based on what I saw, and heard, I am confident enough to add Golden Plover to the patch list.

131 (62). Golden Plover

It should also be noted that over the last few months, it was evident to me that there was a lot of bird traffic moving over the top of the hill that looks down onto the loch. I suspect that quite a few of the birds seen would be new entries to the patch list. For this reason, I am toying with the idea of upgrading my camera to a Nikon D500 with 200-500mm lens, but no concrete decision made yet.

Today saw me back at the coastal strip. Still lacking winter birds, with no R-M Merganser or Long-Tailed Duck evident, although I am now seeing Red-Throated Diver. Also present today was a Knot (first of the year for the patch, I think). Not exactly a Kiwi, but it will do. :t:
 

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delia todd

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A super report that Paul. I think the habitat may favour Merlin but....

What a shame about your NZ trip lad. It would probably have been a great time to go just now with them nicely into Spring.

I can't believe how lucky I was with the timing of my trip to Oz this time last year!
 

Tomwbhx

I need to retire! ....oh I have!
Moving

I am reading this thread with great interest, we are moving from the West Midlands to Fife in early December and can't wait to start birding what will be our new local patches.

What has been posted will be invaluable to getting us started, once we have unpacked of course. Hope it's quicker than packing.... 30 years of junk to sort through.
 

Gander

Well-known member
I think the habitat may favour Merlin but....

Yes, that is what I'm thinking too. Also, lots of Skylark and Linnet in that area at the moment.

I am reading this thread with great interest, we are moving from the West Midlands to Fife in early December and can't wait to start birding what will be our new local patches.

Let me know once you've moved , and I'll be happy to give you a tour of the best spots (Covid restrictions allowing). Where in Fife are you moving too?
 

Tomwbhx

I need to retire! ....oh I have!
Yes, that is what I'm thinking too. Also, lots of Skylark and Linnet in that area at the moment.



Let me know once you've moved , and I'll be happy to give you a tour of the best spots (Covid restrictions allowing). Where in Fife are you moving too?

Kelty, near to Loch Ore Meadows on the 'new' estate there
 

Gander

Well-known member
I have had a mishap with Birdtrack. I was trying to input some info this afternoon and their system started glitching/freezing up. At one point an error message stating server could not be found came up. I left it for a while, but when I went back in, the last thing I had opened, which was my records for the loch have disappeared.

I am not a happy bunny!

Anyway, yesterday, I got dropped off, shortly after first light, at the back road into the loch. This farm road is known as Kissing Trees Lane, and is where I saw my possible Merlin a few days ago. The plan was to walk in along the lane to see if I could find my bird. Approaching the crossroads where the lane begins, the passing of my car again raised a hawk like bird from a hedgerow. It flew parallel with the car for a few seconds before disappearing from sight. My views were obscured by the hedge, so again no ID made.

Once out of the car, I backtracked to the area I had just passed, but found no sign. What I did find though were large numbers of Skylark and Thrush passing overhead. This continued as I moved up the lane towards the lock, culminating in me finding a cluster of trees that had over two hundred Fieldfare in and around them.

Arriving at the loch, I did an extensive walk around, but found nothing new. Siskin have now become a frustrating target.They are known to visit this area, but have so far eluded me

I moved on through Kinghorn, then headed along the strip towards Seafield. Again, it was quiet, however, I did see my first Long-Tailed Duck of the season.

At one point I noticed a group of gulls chasing something across the water. It was distant, but what was obviously a hawk, probably a Sparrowhawk, was desperately trying to make its way back to the shoreline. The gulls were all over it though, and it ditched into the water. I thought it had had it, but twenty seconds or so later, it managed to take to the air again, and despite further attention from the gulls, it made it to the safety of Point Cove (formerly Bullfinch Cove).

Later when approaching the tower, I saw another hawk being chased by gulls. This one though just powered away from them and continued to chase a wader it had set its sights on. Again, it was too far out for me to make a positive ID, but I felt it was probably a Peregrine.

About ten miles covered, plenty seen, but a frustrating day with trying to ID raptors.
 

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Gander

Well-known member
Tawny Owls

This morning, I came across a photo dated 21/05/20 on a FBC WhatsApp thread. The photo was of a recently fledged Tawny Owl and was tagged “Kinghorn Loch“.

I think it was back in January that I heard a Tawny call. Despite much searching, I never heard or saw anymore evidence. Looking at the photo, I am pretty sure that I know the exact spot it was taken at, so hopefully, if Tawny Owls reuse nesting sites, I'll be able to get eyes on one next spring.
 

delia todd

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I must make sure I don't miss that episode Paul!!;)

Good luck lad.
 

Gander

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Historic Birds

When I started listing at Seafield, I made the decision to include historic sightings. Since then, I have pretty much caught up with those sightings by renewed spots made by myself. I have also found additional historic sightings that I have not added to the list. These include King Eider and Black Redstart, both of which were well documented.

I am now trying to decide whether to list these previously missed historic spots. The decision I suppose is to decide on whether the list should be a reflection of the place, or a reflection of what I and a few others have seen since I started birding there.

Jury is still out, and I would welcome any comments on which way to go on this.

Now, when I annexed Kinghorn Loch at the beginning of this year, I did not list anything historical, but basically started with a clean sheet. Today, I found an article in a Fife Bird Club quarterly from 2015, where the writer tells how he took the loch on as his patch some 5 years prior. Of course he gives an account of some of the birds seen there in that time. These include quite a few that I have not come across yet, including Snipe, Woodcock, Shoveler, Cross-Bill, Raven, Gadwall, Short-Eared Owl, Garden Warbler and Whinchat. The author also mentions Long-Eared Owl in a "near-by wood".

The decision is the same with the loch list. Should I include the historic sightings to give a wider reflection of the place, or stick to a list of what has been seen there since I started? Either way, I am encouraged with the scope of what I may yet find in the area, in the future.

I have attached article link for reference. See pages 6 - 9.

https://fifebirdclub.org.uk/club-docs/Scope/2012_14/Scope_Issue 106.pdf
 

Cuckoo-shrike

Well-known member
Hi Gander
Living in Burntisland and having a dog to walk, I visit Kinghorn Loch several times a week, so I regard it as falling within my patch too. I also used to be on the board of the Ecology Centre and still occasionally contribute nature-related stuff to their website (although not for a while).

My feeling is that yes, historic records should be included. It would be useful for your observations, along with
mine, should be reported to the Centre and to the Craigencalt Rural Community Trust. Maybe we could jointly draw up a list, at least, and preferably something a little more ambitious, e.g. a report on past and present bird-life on and around the loch. A couple of species not on your list which I've recorded there are Peregrine and Mediterranean Gull.

Thanks for linking to the Fife Bird Club article - mouth-watering to note that Long-eared Owls have bred nearby. I really must get out more in the evenings!
 

Gander

Well-known member
Hi Gander
Living in Burntisland and having a dog to walk, I visit Kinghorn Loch several times a week, so I regard it as falling within my patch too. I also used to be on the board of the Ecology Centre and still occasionally contribute nature-related stuff to their website (although not for a while).

My feeling is that yes, historic records should be included. It would be useful for your observations, along with
mine, should be reported to the Centre and to the Craigencalt Rural Community Trust. Maybe we could jointly draw up a list, at least, and preferably something a little more ambitious, e.g. a report on past and present bird-life on and around the loch. A couple of species not on your list which I've recorded there are Peregrine and Mediterranean Gull.

Thanks for linking to the Fife Bird Club article - mouth-watering to note that Long-eared Owls have bred nearby. I really must get out more in the evenings!

Hi Andy, That all sounds good. I had intended to join the CRCT as a friend back in the spring, but never got around to it due to the lock down. Next time I am home, I will remedy that.

I have not had too much to do with the Ecology Centre, apart from letting them know in the summer that there was Giant Hogweed growing in front of the hide. I would be happy to tie in with them if they are open to it. What would be the best approach for that?

If you want to send me any sightings you have that I have not got on my list, I will combine the two, along with the birds reported in the FBC journal. I also have a few books at home that will be useful including the last Fife Bird Atlas. I like the idea of making up an overall report and will be happy to liaise with you on that.

Do you know the writer of the article at all (Danny Wallace)? I'd like to track him down if possible. I notice that at the end of the article he stated that he had 92 species listed in 5 yrs. That is 30 more than I've had this year, so far. The little bird booklet that is published by the CRCT looks to be written by Danny and his wife, so they should be a good source of information.
 

Gander

Well-known member
Returning from offshore on Tuesday, I decided to have a crack at finding the Hudsonian Godwit at the Eden Estuary. It had not been seen for a few days, which is in keeping with the bad habit I have form over the last couple of years, of being in the wrong place at the wrong time when rare birds are about. For two weeks I had watched the reports rolling in, then with a couple of days to go, the reports dried up.

I spent seven hours at the estuary, photographed every Black-Tailed Godwit in sight, but no special one was found.

So, this morning I set off for Seafield, still stinging from nature's rebuke the day before. It was grey and cold when I rolled into the car park, but it did not take long before I was ticking birds. Nothing unusual, but still good to see. Passing the harbour, there was a definite lack of Purple Sandpiper. It was as if someone had come along and pinched them all while I wasn't looking. I shall be making inquiries! 😉

Just past the harbour, I watched a pair of adult Mute Swans land on the water. It was while scanning them, that I noticed a nearby male Goldeneye. Not a bird I commonly get here! I could also here Long-tailed Ducks calling, and soon located a few further out on the Forth.

Reaching the stone dyke, I could see labourers further along the path, working near the benches. I decided that with little about, the disturbance they will have made would almost certainly have moved any birds into cover, so I turned and headed back to the car. Approaching the car park, I noticed a few birds in the big clump of leafy bushes that are at the gate. Not a surprise, but always good to see Tree Sparrows on the strip. The pattern I am seeing is that they tend to appear in the winter. I wonder if they are from the stronghold they have at the loch?

Talking about the loch, that was to be my next stop....
 

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Gander

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Arriving at the loch, the weather had brightened up since my wander along Seafield (see previous post). It was still cold though. 1 deg.C to be exact. The first thing I noticed was that there were Mute Swans on the water. The family that belonged to the female tagged LYU had long since gone, so I was expecting different birds, but when I got closer later, I was able to photograph the single adult, and it turned out to be LYU, with 4 juveniles.

Also on the loch were Goldeneye. At least nine, but more probably about a dozen. Their numbers dwarfed by a flock of mixed gulls that was into the hundreds. At the hide, I found it was occupied. I had not intended to go in, but would not have anyway, as it seemed rather full considering the present situation.

Just past the hide, I spotted a bird that flitted low across the path. Initially, I thought Wren, but it popped up at the side of the path, and I found myself looking at a surprising Chiffchaff. Considering the time of year, I wondered if it could be a Siberian, but it appears to have flecks of yellow in the plumage, and the eyebrow also seems to have some yellow in it (see photo), so I think it is just a local that is looking to stay on for the winter

Moving from the loch, up through the woodland to the edge of the hilltop fields, I found the whole area to be heaving with thrush and finch. Fieldfare, Redwing, Bullfinch and Greenfinch were well represented amongst others. The thrushes were gorging on the haws, as my Redwing photo bears testament.

Nearly fifty species of bird seen, so not a bad winter's morning.
 

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KC Foggin

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Sounds like a great winter morning regarding your bird count and some love images Gander!
 

edenwatcher

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I saw the godwit on Monday (and it was seen today). Until you get your eye in, it is quite subtle to pick out on the ground (much easier when it takes off). I think you will have plenty of opportunities to see it. It seems to have settled down to hanging out with the blackwits in the last week or two, and spending less time on its own.
Good luck!
Rob
 

delia todd

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Goodness.... you did have a good wander didn't you.

Shame about that Godwit though Paul. It's so frustrating when things like that happen, but seems you're used to it now ;)
 

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