Wild in Aberdeen - City and Shire (1 Viewer)

OwenW

Well-known member
Being non-local, I took the chance of a trip to see some friends in Aberdeen yesterday to visit the Ythan Estuary. What an amazing place! Aside from locating the (sleeping) king eider in amongst the others, the seal encounters were stunnning; my two non-birding companions really enjoyed it!
 

Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
I got out today with a visiting birding relative of mine, spending most of the day at the Ythan but also some time at Murcar to see if we could get our visitor to see the White-winged Scoter. At the Ythan we were mainly concentrated around the mouth of the estuary, where we aimed to show our visitor the King Eider. It certainly wasn't hard to find, conspicuous amongst the many Eiders at the water's edge opposite the old lifeboat station. As I got ready to get some photos of it (see below, including photos of a Common Tern), the sun came out, a stroke of luck! It was preening quite a bit and stayed put on the bank, but nonetheless we all got delightful views - the third occasion I have seen it this year. We walked down to the golf hut and I scanned the gull and tern flock in the ternery - finding at least 3 immature Little Gulls . We then moved on to the Snub car parks, where interestingly a drake Pintail was with some Mallards - an overwintering bird perhaps? Meikle Loch meanwhile was quiet.

The final part of the day was spent at Murcar/Blackdog having a look for the White-winged Scoter. No luck was had here, what with the bird having not been seen all day, but this didn't bother me too much, having seen it already. However, it was nice to see a single drake Surf Scoter here, the icing on the cake to a very pleasant day's birding.

Joseph
 

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Mark Lew1s

My real name is Mark Lewis
I went up to have a look at all those scoter yesterday. In between heavy showers I managed to pick out 2 (but more likely 3) adult surfies and also the 2nd cal one as well. I thought I did ok....but it seems I could have looked a bit harder!!
 

Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
Mark: Unlucky that you didn't manage the White-winged Scoter yesterday and that you missed out on the find of the Black Scoter. Will you be going back up now you're back at home? I hope you can make it up there soon and see this Black Scoter, it's a cracking bird!

I have just got home having seen the Black Scoter , a great find by Nick Littlewood yesterday evening, congratulations :t: . After not being seen all day apart from very early in the morning, the bird was re-found at 17:40 not far along the beach from Blackdog. I arrived on site at about 18:20, and was setting up the scope when the whole flock flew south towards Murcar, with just a few scoters remaining (typical!). A lot of birders left and headed for Murcar, but my Dad and I + a few other birders stayed on site just in case the flock came back. After about 20 minutes or so, many hundreds of them returned, and by around 18:50 or so the few of us that were there were on the Black Scoter. It proceeded to show reasonably well 300-350 yards offshore for the next hour or so, moving all around the flock which resulted in us losing the bird on a few occasions, but it was generally re-found pretty quickly when lost.

There was certainly no doubting it. The vivid yellow, bulbous bill stood out a mile from the other scoters, as well the shorter and stubbier tail and thicker necked appearance in comparison to the Common Scoters. Just after 20:00 the bird was lost after being seen well for a good while towards the front of the scoter flock, and at around that point I left, satisfied with the views that I'd had. I don't know if it has been seen since, but I'm sure others will elaborate on that. Nonetheless, a fantastic bird to have seen . Also two drake Surfies there too.

All I can say is what a fantastic feat for Blackdog/Murcar - all 5 species of scoter recorded in Britain in one place! We should all feel extremely privileged to be living in a county that is hosting such a phenomenon as Blackdog/Murcar has done this month! :t:

Joseph
 
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nicklittlewood

Well-known member
All I can say is what a fantastic feat for Blackdog/Murcar - all 5 species of scoter recorded in Britain in one place!

Joseph

Ah, but not when Stejneger's is split ;)

Rob

At the risk of being a pedant and going over old ground that has been done to death before, Joseph is, of course, right. Even if Stejneger's is split there have not yet been any claims in Britain. I'm sure this will not be the case for long though with records in at least three other European countries coming to mind. It's out there there for the finding folks.....

And thanks for the congratulations Joseph - glad you and several others got to see it on Tuesday evening. No sign yesterday evening but scoter were again well scattered so it may well still be out there somewhere.

Cheers

Nick
 

Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
Thanks Nick, I forgot to mention that there has been no records of stejneger's type White-winged Scoters in the UK yet so cheers for bringing that up. No problem at all, it was a well deserved find :t: . Thank you, it was a stunning bird and I hope it is re-found in the near future!

ATB,

Joseph
 

RecoveringScot

Well-known member
Seen today over Greyfriars House, Gallowgate, Aberdeen at c. 13:15 - an all-white gull. I didn't have binoculars but got a reasonable view as it circled south. The scruffy plumage, cream-colour and largish bill suggested that it was only a leucistic Herring (it also had cocoa-coloured smudges characteristic of leucistic plumages on various parts of the body). So not a rarity, but could easily be mis-IDed at a distance. Also today, Pergrines over the centre of town all day doing aerobatics, and at one point mobbing a Buzzard-sized dark raptor-like bird which soared off south to the Dee.

Cheers
 

nicklittlewood

Well-known member
Seen today over Greyfriars House, Gallowgate, Aberdeen at c. 13:15 - an all-white gull. I didn't have binoculars but got a reasonable view as it circled south. The scruffy plumage, cream-colour and largish bill suggested that it was only a leucistic Herring (it also had cocoa-coloured smudges characteristic of leucistic plumages on various parts of the body). So not a rarity, but could easily be mis-IDed at a distance. Also today, Pergrines over the centre of town all day doing aerobatics, and at one point mobbing a Buzzard-sized dark raptor-like bird which soared off south to the Dee.

Cheers

Hi Phil,

Well there has certainly been such a Herring Gull about. This bird below (apologies for poor quality image) was at Blackdog a couple of weeks ago. It flew past folks watching the White-winged Scoter and was called by some as an Iceland Gull. I gather it has also been seen at Donmouth at least.

Cheers

Nick
 

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RecoveringScot

Well-known member
Hi Phil,

Well there has certainly been such a Herring Gull about. This bird below (apologies for poor quality image) was at Blackdog a couple of weeks ago. It flew past folks watching the White-winged Scoter and was called by some as an Iceland Gull. I gather it has also been seen at Donmouth at least.

Cheers

Nick

Hi Nick,

Interesting thank you. Again the scruffy edges to the primaries especially are there. This seems to be a feature of leucistic birds, of which I've seen a few over the years. These birds seem to have a slightly 'runty' feel about them too sometimes.

Thanks

Cheers
 

Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
For those that are interested, two adult Roseate Terns which have been seen on a couple of occasions by Chris Gibbins at the Ythan in the last week were still present this afternoon at around 13:00. I didn't see them myself, this sighting is as per Angus birder Gus Guthrie. The fact that these birds have been seen on a few occasions this week has inspired to take the bus from Aberdeen and spend the day alone at the Ythan on Monday or potentially on Saturday evening, when I will give it my best shot to locate them. I will report back about how I do on here.

I met up with Gus later on in the day, having a look for the Black Scoter off Murcar. Conditions were far from satisfactory, the sea being so choppy that it was hard to get a good look at any of the scoters. As a result we did not manage to see it. However, it was very nice to see at least 3 adult drake Surf Scoters amongst the flock, the most I've seen off there since seeing the White-winged Scoter when it first turned up (when I also managed 3). 5 Arctic Skuas were also dashing around the flock as well, with 1 pale phase seen seperately from 4 dark phases. A very nice evening, despite the disappointment of not locating the Black Scoter.

Joseph
 
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Pugs1

Well-known member
Swear I saw a 'Harrier' species whilst commuting down to Aberdeen from Nairn, was around Huntly, Insh area. Anybody know if any are present? Oh and Honey Buzzard?
 

RecoveringScot

Well-known member
A report today from a work colleague of a 'dead hawk' near to John Lewis's in Aberdeen on Friday 8/7/11. From the description (breast heavily dark-spotted, larger than Sparrowhawk) it sounded like a juvenile Peregrine Falcon, though I sincerely hope not. I believe that some town juveniles fall victim to window strikes amongst high office buildings. Apparently the bird appeared to have been moved into an alcove. I don't know what may have happened to the corpse.
 

Ben Nevis

Well-known member
A report today from a work colleague of a 'dead hawk' near to John Lewis's in Aberdeen on Friday 8/7/11. From the description (breast heavily dark-spotted, larger than Sparrowhawk) it sounded like a juvenile Peregrine Falcon, though I sincerely hope not. I believe that some town juveniles fall victim to window strikes amongst high office buildings. Apparently the bird appeared to have been moved into an alcove. I don't know what may have happened to the corpse.

Not so good. :-C Im back at work next week and I should get some good views of the Peregrine family and shall see If they are all still on the go and how many there are.
 

Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
I had a look today at a pic I took on the second day after the Black Scoter was first seen of the whole scoter flock and managed to find it amongst the mass of scoters in the photo. The following image of it is very heavily cropped and thus very poor quality, but I thought it might be worth putting up on here due to the lack of images that have been put online of this bird :t: .

Joseph
 

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crabplover

Well-known member
Travel advise please:

Hi All,

I'm in Aberdeen on Sunday arriving in city centre around midday, I was wondering if anyone can advise me the best/cheapest way of getting to Blackdog/Murcar to view the Scoter flock. I have no transportation and will have luggage for a weeks stay on Shetland. I will need to be able to get back to Aberdeen for the Early Evening sailing.

Ideally I would be looking for a 1/2 day car hire but am open to any suggestions.
Any help/advice would be much appreciated. There will be 2 people in total.

Andy.
 

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