Wild in Aberdeen - City and Shire (1 Viewer)

Ken Hall

Well-known member
Enough dithering. The consultation period is past. Thanks for your suggestions for a thread title. I was rather hoping somebody else would take it on, but never mind, I'll do it. I've gone for what is possibly the longest title in the sub-forum, more creative than functional. Thanks also to Andrew for tolerating the hijacking of his Birds fae Torry thread.

Kevin, I'll let you decide if you want to federalise your Kincardine and Mearns thread with this one, since it is technically part of Aberdeenshire. Personally, I think your thread should be kept separate, since the area it covers has a unique identity. There is of course the anomaly of the bit that sticks out north of the River Dee, so that places like Banchory and much of the Hill o' Fare are in Kincardineshire. I have to drive through this anomaly every time I go to Aberdeen. No big scary monsters though. (That was a reference to ITV's Sci-fi drama Primeval)

None of this is intended to stop anyone else starting a thread on their own local patch within the area, in fact it would be a welcome addition.

If anyone has any problems with any of this, I'll be very happy to have it changed. It's not really my thread, it's for all of us.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Scotland
Great! I think this will be a good thing and we can get the discussion on Birds fae Torry back to being about Purple Sandpiper Totalisers and discarded clothing. And this thread might actually feature some proper rare birds from time to time, which is a good thing.
 

Ken Hall

Well-known member
Now I suppose I'd better start the thread off. Yesterday, I went to the Den of Maidencraig. Last time I was there was in early spring 2008, probably a month too early, but I could see the potential. Unfortunately, the lure of the coast always proved too great, so I never went back. Until I was reminded of the place by The Seagull that is.

On my way there, I saw two Red Kites at Garlogie. That was a good start to the day. For those who don't know the place (which will be nearly everyone reading this) it is a local nature reserve managed by Aberdeen City Ranger Service. It is situated on the north side of the A944, more or less opposite the Crematorium. It consists of a long narrow valley, with rough grassland, scrub and mature woodland. The Denburn runs through it, forming a small pond at one point. I spent about an hour and a half there in the forenoon, so I was away before the storms arrived. I went to Montrose and got their storms instead.

Here is what I saw: several Woodpigeons, Black-headed Gulls, 2 Buzzards (one of them was so tatty with feathers broken or missing that I'm surprised it was able to fly), lots of Swallows, a Magpie, Meadow Pipits (one of them carrying food for its young) Song Thrush singing, a Roe Deer, Blackbirds, a family of recently fledged House Sparrows, a single female Mallard in the pond, Common Gulls overhead, Reed Bunting, Herring Gulls calling, a passing Oystercatcher, Greenfinches, Carrion Crows, House Martins, Chaffinches, Blue Tits, a Willow Warbler going hoo-wit, Goldfinches, and finally, only 90% certain, a Grasshopper Warbler.

I reckon this is a place worth further exploration and time. So instead of just driving past it, I must try to stop and check it out more often.
 

TheSeagull

Well-known member
Good report, I must get back soon, it's my local patch only 2 minutes walking. Good job on the 90% sure Grasshopper Warbler. Funny fact about Oystercatchers though is that your guaranteed great views at the children's hospital there's dozens of them on the fields beside the helicopter pad. In comparison with yours I seen Buzzard, Herring Gull, Common Gull, House Martin, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blue Tits, Carrion Crow, Teal, Sparrowhawk, Common Frog and Red Kite. Oh and that unidentified small-mediumish mammal that wasn't a squirrel.
 
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Capercaillie71

Well-known member
Great to see the thread underway Ken! Like you, I have the dilemma that I drive through the Kincardineshire 'anomaly' every day on my way to work. It's in the 'beyond' part of Kincardineshire, but I think it falls more naturally into this thread.

Work, the weather and domestic commitments mean that I haven't done much birding lately. I often stop to have a look at the Trout pond at Strachan on my way to work. It's about five miles west of Banchory and just inside the 'anomaly'. There is a thriving feral population of Greylag Geese in the area and moderately interesting birds turn up there from time to time. In the past few weeks there have been a couple of juvenile Goldeneye there, which have probably dispersed from breeding areas further up Deeside. Last week they were joined by a juvenile Little Grebe which was also moderately interesting.

There seems to have been a bigger than normal influx of Quails into NE Scotland this year since the end of June. I even added it to my 'from the garden' list (heard only of course). Normally Quail is a once every other year bird for me, but I have heard four this year and even managed to see one. So definitely a better than average year Quail-wise as far as I'm concerned!
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Scotland
Oooh goody another thread - thanks Ken.B :) Now I've got somewhere 'proper';) to direct new members to.

Sooo.... is Kevin's thread sort of his Swallows and from Angus north to Aberdeen (and anywhere else he goes). Then Totalisers and discarded clothing..... then this one?

erm.... just checking

D
 

Ken Hall

Well-known member
Good report, I must get back soon, it's my local patch only 2 minutes walking. Good job on the 90% sure Grasshopper Warbler. Funny fact about Oystercatchers though is that your guaranteed great views at the children's hospital there's dozens of them on the fields beside the helicopter pad. In comparison with yours I seen Buzzard, Herring Gull, Common Gull, House Martin, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blue Tits, Carrion Crow, Teal, Sparrowhawk, Common Frog and Red Kite. Oh and that unidentified small-mediumish mammal that wasn't a squirrel.

thanks Calvin. Oystercatchers like to nest on flat roofs and the ARI buildings are ideal for that, also the grassy areas provide worms etc. You said (jokingly) that you heard a rattle snake at DoM. Possibly a Mistle Thrush if it was really loud, and quite short, like an old fashioned wooden football rattle if that means anything to you ;). Or if it was long drawn out like an old sewing machine (if that means anything to you either :eek!::eek!:) maybe it was my 90% Grasshopper Warbler. It sounds quite like a grasshopper but goes on a lot longer than they do. And I would be very surprised to find an adder in the DoM. Keep a look out for Dippers on the burn, probably in the woods at the west end.

all the best, Ken
 

TheSeagull

Well-known member
thanks Calvin. Oystercatchers like to nest on flat roofs and the ARI buildings are ideal for that, also the grassy areas provide worms etc. You said (jokingly) that you heard a rattle snake at DoM. Possibly a Mistle Thrush if it was really loud, and quite short, like an old fashioned wooden football rattle if that means anything to you ;). Or if it was long drawn out like an old sewing machine (if that means anything to you either :eek!::eek!:) maybe it was my 90% Grasshopper Warbler. It sounds quite like a grasshopper but goes on a lot longer than they do. And I would be very surprised to find an adder in the DoM. Keep a look out for Dippers on the burn, probably in the woods at the west end.

all the best, Ken

Just had a listen to Grasshopper Warbler and I think your right - that is what I heard! That must have been a Grasshopper Warbler you seen.
 

Ken Hall

Well-known member
Actually I didn't see it, only heard it. Sorry, I should have made that clear. They are very skulking birds and more often heard than seen. I was watching a Willow Warbler near the car park when I became aware of the reeling sound. At that point, a mannie came along and began asking questions: fit are ye looking at? Birds. Fit kin' o' birds? Willow Warblers. Eyes began to glaze over. No more annoying questions. By the time he moved on, the Gropper had stopped. I hung around for a while, but nothing more to be heard. It's actually getting a bit late in the year for them, so I guess we were lucky. Do you count heard only birds in your lists?
 

TheSeagull

Well-known member
Actually I didn't see it, only heard it. Sorry, I should have made that clear. They are very skulking birds and more often heard than seen. I was watching a Willow Warbler near the car park when I became aware of the reeling sound. At that point, a mannie came along and began asking questions: fit are ye looking at? Birds. Fit kin' o' birds? Willow Warblers. Eyes began to glaze over. No more annoying questions. By the time he moved on, the Gropper had stopped. I hung around for a while, but nothing more to be heard. It's actually getting a bit late in the year for them, so I guess we were lucky. Do you count heard only birds in your lists?

Not sure, haven't decided yet as the only birds that I've heard but not seen are Chaffinch and Grasshopper Warbler, there's a lot of others as well but I haven't identified them as I tend to forget most by the time I get home :-O
 

Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
Fantastc to see this thread up and running. Whenever I have seen notable birds, I will make sure I inform my fellow Aberdonians in here.;)
 

choughed2bits

kev thomson
Oooh goody another thread - thanks Ken.B :) Now I've got somewhere 'proper';) to direct new members to.

Sooo.... is Kevin's thread sort of his Swallows and from Angus north to Aberdeen (and anywhere else he goes). Then Totalisers and discarded clothing..... then this one?

erm.... just checking

D

Strictly speaking Delia, I suppose the intention with my thread was to encompass the Mearns of Kincardineshire and not so much any of it's anomalies, black holes or ruptures in the space-time continuum.

Should I change the name of my thread? Not sure i know how to!

Anyway, good to see this thread up and running. Already plenty of good posts and more gen for me to get out of my local patch and go birding elsewhere!

Kev T.
 

Ken Hall

Well-known member
Just posted a blog entry for Loch of Skene and Den of Maidencraig if anyone wants a read.

Very well written blog Calvin. I enjoyed reading it, but I wish you would remember not to say seen when you mean saw. Sorry, at my age I'm allowed to be pedantic.

I had a quick visit to the Den of Maidencraig yesterday on my way to Girdleness. Added the following to my previous visit: Swift, Grey Heron, Whitethroat and Wren. There is now a family of Mallards in the pond, 2 adults and 9 very newly hatched ducklings. Two Lesser Black-backed Gulls were hanging around, eyeing up their supper probably. The path in the woods was covered in fingernail sized froglets. Please don't eat all the wild rasps when you're there, I need my 5-a-day.

But the highlight of the day came when I was back home. Just after six o'clock, I was looking out of the kitchen window when a Pine Marten casually strolled along the wall not 3 metres away, left a jobbie on top of the wall, then sauntered away through the neighbour's garden. Absolutely brilliant. :t:
 

Ken Hall

Well-known member
I went to the Tarland Waste Water Treatment hide for an hour this afternoon. I'm afraid the wetland is a bit of a mess, all overgrown, which is fine for the birds but not much use for seeing them. Time to get the cows in as happened last year. Things were a bit quiet on the pool, with mostly Lapwings (about 30) loafing about, some Mallards and some Teal and a couple of Moorhens. Chaffinches and a Siskin used the feeders, and about a dozen Sand Martins and a few Swallows skimmed the water. You can see Clachnaben from the hide, with its prominent rocky tor, and I passed the time zooming in on it with my 25x - 75x scope. Would you believe, I saw two people and two dogs, outlined against the skyline. Having picked them up I was able to follow them as they descended one of the paths. Granted the light was very good with very little distortion, but the distance as the crow flies is 14 miles! :eek!::eek!:
 

Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
Great blog Calvin, as Ken says, that's really well wrriten! I also have my own blog which I started yesterday, so if you want to read it feel free! The first entry is about my experience at Ham Wall RSPB, which is in Somerset, but I will keep updating the blog, and a majority of the future entries will be of birding within Aberdeenshire. My Dad and I are actually thinking of going out tomorrow or this weekend, so I will report in here what I see and in my blog. ;)
 

TheSeagull

Well-known member
Great report JosephN, I've never been wildlife watching outside Aberdeen, hopefully in the next week or two as my dad's off for a fortnight. Can't be far though as I have a dog who I can't take with so might just go to the Cairngorms or Barra or something, my Dad's from Barra you see, I've never been though. Replaced the seen with saw Ken, just for you! I always put saw for some reason, it's programmed into my brain.
 

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