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Wild in Aberdeen - City and Shire (1 Viewer)

G Anderson

Registered User
Hi all,

I have returned from my trip to Portland, Dorset and South-west England. I had a very nice time. I won't go into detail in this thread, instead I'll leave that to my blog, which I will be updating a lot in the coming days/weeks. There seems to have been quite a few things around in Aberdeenshire whilst I was away, which is good to hear. I wonder if that King Eider was one of the Burghead Bay birds?

Hey Joseph,

That is a pretty good year-list you have there! Does that include abroad? Or just UK! Guess I will check your blog. Miles ahead of mine! Dorset / Portland is well cool !

Cheers G
 
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Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
Hey Joseph,

That is a pretty good year-list you have there! Does that include abroad? Or just UK! Guess I will check your blog. Miles ahead of mine! Dorset / Portland is well cool !

Cheers G

Just the UK, G Anderson. I am really happy with how its developed and I would never have anticipated reaching this total by this time in the year. ;)
 

Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
There was a Greenland White-fronted Goose at the Ythan Estuary today, viewed in a field behind Inch Geck Island on the main part of the Estuary from the first car park that you go past if you're driving northwards through the area. It was with a flock of about 300 Pinkfeets, and was viewed for half an hour or so in good light before the whole flock took off and flew westwards. I am pretty sure that this was the White-fronted Goose that has been seen on and off all winter at Strathbeg. It seems perfectly feasible because as the goose flies Strathbeg to the Ythan is a mere hop. Also a few passage waders today at Strathbeg today. I don't know if they are that early, but a Greenshank was seen at Starnafin and there were 19 Black-tailed Godwits + 1 Ruff from Tower Hide.

Regards,

Joseph
 

TheSeagull

Well-known member
Not sure if it's just me but for the past few days there's been this thing shining in the sky, I'd think it was the Sun if I didn't know better :-O
 

daveofficer

Well-known member
saw my first swallows of the year, one over the dee in culter and the other flying past my living room window the next day. yay! spring is here! then it snowed again :(

i also spotted little owl nest boxes in mains of drum garden centre yesterday. poor show.
 

Ken Hall

Well-known member
12 summer plumaged black-tailed Godwits today at the Tarland hide, along with over 400 Black-headed Gulls, Lapwings, Redshanks, Oystercatchers, Teal and Swallows.
 

Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
Interesting - I was at Kinnordy at 5.45 this evening and there were 28 there. Must be peak migration time!

Yes, they seem to have been arriving in quite big numbers recently as I saw 19 at the Loch of Strathbeg on Saturday. It's great to see them back, they're absolutely fantastic birds. ;)
 

nicklittlewood

Well-known member
i also spotted little owl nest boxes in mains of drum garden centre yesterday. poor show.

...and Parkhill Garden Centre is selling two different brands of Little Owl boxes. I hope the Jackdaws appreciate this deception being carried out on their behalf. Actually if I remember rightly a postcard produced by Aberdeen by-pass opposition featured a selection of photos of wildlife that might be adversely affected by construction of the road and these included, yes, a Little Owl. Maybe there is something us birders don't know?

Nick
 

Ken Hall

Well-known member
Black-tailed Godwits still at Tarland hide. 40 Pinkfeet flew in and drank lots of water - must be thirsty work flying into a head wind. Loads of Sand Martins at Loch Davan, and a Common Sandpiper on the Dee at Dinnet bridge.
 

Capercaillie71

Well-known member
Black-tailed Godwits still at Tarland hide.

And here's a rubbish picture of them - there only seemed to be 10 left at 6pm.

I also counted a total of 15 Redshanks from the hide, which seems more than last year if I remember correctly
 

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Ken Hall

Well-known member
Got my first Whimbrel of the year yesterday feeding on the mussel beds at the Ythan estuary. Off to Norfolk tomorrow for a week - hope I don't miss too much here.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
I've heard both Willow Warbler and Blackcap today. The Willow Warbler was along Mounthooly and the Blackcap in the Cruickshank Gardens.
 

Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
Got my first Whimbrel of the year yesterday feeding on the mussel beds at the Ythan estuary. Off to Norfolk tomorrow for a week - hope I don't miss too much here.

Have a great time Ken! I'll be down there in mid May myself for a few days. ;)
 

Capercaillie71

Well-known member
Living up to my username

This week I carried out the annual count at a Deeside Capercaillie lek for the seventh successive year (previous years' accounts are here). I was slightly dreading what I might find - the Capercaillie is really struggling in Deeside and this particular lek has declined from being the largest on Deeside with at least 8 males in 2006, to only 2-3 males last year. Would there be any birds left this year?

At 5.30am I was picked up by the keeper in his landrover and we were soon heading up through the forests on a calm chilly morning. This particular lek is strung out through a 200 metre stretch of woodland with a landrover track along one side, so rather than using hides, we have always driven slowly along the track, stopping to look and listen for displaying birds. It possibly disturbs the birds a bit more than using a hide, but much less than being on foot (which usually flushes them). In 2008 we watched a male mating with two hens from the landrover, so they can't be that bothered by the vehicle!

We were soon into the lek area, but there was no sign of anything at first. Then suddenly I saw the distinctive black shape of a male through the trees up ahead. He wasn't doing much, but as we drew up alongside him and about 25 metres away, he fanned his tail and started strutting round. Through binoculars I could see several wounds on his head - this was a good sign as it meant he had been fighting and so he wasn't the only one left.

After a few minutes we moved on but it was another 100 metres before I spotted a small black shape through some particularly dense trees. It looked like a Caper's head poking up above the blaeberry, but even through binoculars in the low light I wasn't sure. Then suddenly it disappeared behind a tree and there was a brief glimpse of a fanned tail swinging round and disappearing. It was another male, but that was all we saw of it. It is always surprising how difficult it is to see displaying Capercaillies, even when you know they are there. They disappear behind trees and hummocks and can remain completely motionless for long periods.

Once we were clear of the lek we turned round to repeat the survey on the way back. Although we didn't see the second male again, we could hear him, clicking and popping from the same area of trees. It's not a loud sound and doesn't carry very far. I wondered if we had missed a male as they are usually around 50 metres apart rather than the 100m between the two that we had seen today. Sure enough, 50 metres further along I spotted a male through the trees - he didn't have any wounds on his head so he was definitely a third individual.

50 metres further along and we returned to scarface again. He was displaying much more vigorously now - it was 7am and the sun was just peeping through the trees. He performed a flutter-jump, an impressive noisy flight for a few metres through the trees, and was clicking, wheezing and popping away. For the first time in 7 years I managed to get a reasonable photo - usually the light levels are just too low.

Finally we stopped another 50 metres further along (where we had seen the birds mating in 2008). After several minutes of listening I heard a burst of clicking from the trees here. I can't be 100% sure that it wasn't scarface, but the direction of the sound makes me reasonably sure that there was a fourth male here, out of sight.

So, 3-4 males in total is not too bad. They haven't declined any further from last year, and there is the possibility of a slight increase. Let's hope for a good breeding season this year.

PS - This lek visit was carried out under a Schedule 1 licence as part of a co-ordinated national program of lek surveys. It is an offence to disturb Capercaillies at the lek, but the RSPB offers the opportunity to see Capers lekking at Loch Garten from the comfort of the hide, without disturbing them.
 

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TheSeagull

Well-known member
Not sure if anyone is interested in up-close encounters with common birds but there's a Blackbird's nest (there's a sign, you can't miss it) in B&Q, outdoor garden bit in amongst the bamboo. I could see three maybe four chicks being fed just a few feet away.
 

Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
With how things are currently going there, I'd say that any of you that are going out birding this weekend should go to Strathbeg. I went up there after school today and had a very nice time. There has been a Great White Egret around there in the last 5 days or so, and this evening it was showing fantastically well from Fen Hide. Sometimes it doesn't show and flies into the reeds, but when it does show it does so very well.

Also, just arriving today, was a Common Crane. It was reported on birdguides this morning for the first time, and I was planning to go up to Strathbeg even if this hadn't been here so it was a very nice surprise to see it reported. When we arrived at the Visitor Centre at about 5:00pm there was no-one watching and there had been no reports from earlier in the day of it being seen since its original sighting. It wasn't showing from the Visitor Centre, so we headed towards the Savoch Farm where it had been viewed early that day from the Visitor Centre. On the way to Savoch Farm we found it by the road on a field, and watched it for about 10 minutes. When a car passed it flew onto the Loch. We returned to the Visitor Centre, and found it showing well just behind the Savoch Tower, feeding away but occasionally being harrassed by gulls. When we left it was still there, but it was showing signs of being flighty and seemed nervous on both occasions that I saw it. Whether this bird was one of the individuals from the famous Kinnordy four, I don't know, but nonetheless it was nice to see. Let's hope it sticks around. ;)
Also seen from the Visitor Centre were my first Common Terns, House Martins and Swifts of the year. The Snow Goose wasn't showing today however. So yes, it is worth it going up there when you can.

Cheers,

Joseph
 

Capercaillie71

Well-known member
I called into Strathbeg today as I was working not far away. No sign of the crane although it had been seen during the morning. However, I had good views of the Great White Egret flying over the north end of the loch from the Tower Pool Hide and then longer (though distant) views of it standing preening at the edge of the loch from the Fen Hide.

I also saw the white phase Snow Goose from the Tower Pool Hide (in a flock of Pinkfeet feeding at Savoch Farm) and heard my first Sedge Warblers of the year there too. Also a Chiffchaff singing and showing well near the top of the path to the Fen Hide.
 

Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
I called into Strathbeg today as I was working not far away. No sign of the crane although it had been seen during the morning. However, I had good views of the Great White Egret flying over the north end of the loch from the Tower Pool Hide and then longer (though distant) views of it standing preening at the edge of the loch from the Fen Hide.

I also saw the white phase Snow Goose from the Tower Pool Hide (in a flock of Pinkfeet feeding at Savoch Farm) and heard my first Sedge Warblers of the year there too. Also a Chiffchaff singing and showing well near the top of the path to the Fen Hide.

Well done Paul. I've been up to Strathbeg several times this year and each time have missed out on the Snow Goose despite it being seen the day before I arrive. It has a habit of disappearing when I go. :-O I'm sure it'll show one day that I'm up there. Unlucky about not seeing the Crane, but good to hear that the Great White Egret is still showing well.

ATB,

Joseph
 

Dom F

Well-known member
Crane and egret

No sign of either of them today I'm afraid.
Crane last seen yesterday at about 1130 flying inland.
Egret was around all day yesterday but no sign today - although not checked south end of Loch yet.
At least two grasshopper warblers reeling in th wet fen areas this morning.
Snow goose showing well again today - never mind Joseph its the perfect excuse to come back up again!
 

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