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Wild in Aberdeen - City and Shire (1 Viewer)

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
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.

I think there's a place at the train station for leaving luggage. From the nearby bus station you can get a bus to Blackdog. Any bus going to Peterhead can drop you at Blackdog. On a Sunday these will leave on the hour and will take around 20-25 minutes to Blackdog. From where the bus drops you it's about a 15 minute walk down to the beach. You can either get the bus back from Blackdog or walk all the way down to Donmouth from where you can get a wider variety of buses. If the scoter are your main interest then it's much cheaper and easier to get the bus than to pay for car hire.

Looks like it's going to be quite windy this weekend - good luck!
 

crabplover

Well-known member
I think there's a place at the train station for leaving luggage. From the nearby bus station you can get a bus to Blackdog. Any bus going to Peterhead can drop you at Blackdog. On a Sunday these will leave on the hour and will take around 20-25 minutes to Blackdog. From where the bus drops you it's about a 15 minute walk down to the beach. You can either get the bus back from Blackdog or walk all the way down to Donmouth from where you can get a wider variety of buses. If the scoter are your main interest then it's much cheaper and easier to get the bus than to pay for car hire.

Looks like it's going to be quite windy this weekend - good luck!

Thanks Andrew-will give it a try.
 

Ian Hay

Well-known member
Just to let you know Kevin Hepworth saw a BIG whale about 3 miles offshore from Collieston at 6pm, very tall thin blow and a long back suggest one of the big three, please let me know on the aberdeen cetaceans thread site if you have any luck.

Ian
 

Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
A White-rumped Sandpiper was seen at the mouth of the Ythan yesterday evening, and this morning I went up to have a look for it. Unfortunately there was no sign of it despite meticulous searching of not just the mouth but the whole estuary. At the mouth of the Ythan there was a group of at least 30 Dunlin in amongst the mussel beds but this didn't contain the bird in question. It was pretty thin on the ground wader-wise throughout the estuary apart from this group anyway.

Strathbeg was extremely quiet, the only half noteworthy sighting here being 3 Greenshanks but virtually nothing else. I headed to Battery Park to see if anything was going past offshore, where a small throughput of birds lightened the spirits a little. A Sooty Shearwater heading north was the highlight, with a Manx Shearwater, 5 Great Skuas and 5 Arctic Skuas to boot all in the space of 20 minutes - a nice way to end an otherwise frustrating day's birding.

Joseph
 
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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Went up to Blackdog today and eventually managed to get good views of the Black Scoter (see Black Scoter thread for further details). Also four or five Surf Scoters there. Three were in the scoter flock nearest Blackdog and then two were in the flock to the north that contained the Black Scoter. I only found the second bird after I'd been looking through the flock for quite a while though, so it might have moved from the other flock.

Absolutely zillions of birds at Blackdog at the moment: scoters, Eiders, auks, Red-throated Divers, gulls, terns. A carpet of stuff stretched three or four miles along the coast. I was there for around seven hours today, and didn't really cover it fully. Has anyone had a good look for King Eider recently? Maybe the bird from the Ythan has found its way there to moult. It wouldn't surprise me. Several Arctic Skuas were tern-bothering. The four species of tern included three Little Terns. Also three Red-breasted Mergansers.
 

Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
Went up to Blackdog today and eventually managed to get good views of the Black Scoter (see Black Scoter thread for further details). Also four or five Surf Scoters there. Three were in the scoter flock nearest Blackdog and then two were in the flock to the north that contained the Black Scoter. I only found the second bird after I'd been looking through the flock for quite a while though, so it might have moved from the other flock.

Absolutely zillions of birds at Blackdog at the moment: scoters, Eiders, auks, Red-throated Divers, gulls, terns. A carpet of stuff stretched three or four miles along the coast. I was there for around seven hours today, and didn't really cover it fully. Has anyone had a good look for King Eider recently? Maybe the bird from the Ythan has found its way there to moult. It wouldn't surprise me. Several Arctic Skuas were tern-bothering. The four species of tern included three Little Terns. Also three Red-breasted Mergansers.

Hi Andrew,

Congratulations on managing to get good views of the Black Scoter, was getting fearful that it might have gone after a week of no reports. Well done on getting some photos of it too, certainly better than my one shot! In concern with looking for the King Eider, on several occasions since it has disappeared from the Ythan I have had a check for it most of the times I'm there, and each time it certainly wasn't there - it hasn't been seen for a month as per birdguides (26th June = last report) . Your theory seems a feasible one - will check the Eiders when I head up to Blackdog later this week whilst attempting for seconds of the Black Scoter with some folks that haven't seen it.

Joseph
 
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Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
After the mist of the last few days, I was hoping that a couple of days out birding might be more productive than they've turned out to be. I visited the Ythan both yesterday and today, both days playing host to a nice array of commoner passage waders which are now back in good numbers, but nothing at all of Wood or Curlew Sand standard. Yesterday was the more productive of the two days when I took the bus out to the area and spent the day there, with totals of 200+ Golden Plover, 50 Dunlin, 25 Sanderling, 17 sumplum Knot, 10+ Whimbrel, 4 Black-tailed Godwits, a juvenile Ruff and a Greenshank . The same set of species were around today (excluding Ruff) but less of them, with a Bar-tailed Godwit new in and 2 Greenshanks this time. Tern numbers seem to have decreased over the last week, with Little Terns seeming to have cleared out, with none at the mouth whatsoever and also less of the other tern species. That said there were a few Little Terns upstream by Waterside Bridge yesterday.

Also, earlier this week I had a Red Kite on the Deeside Way (cycle trail) near Drumoak, watched for several minutes low over a field without binoculars as I was cycling with a friend; always nice to see.

Joseph
 
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Capercaillie71

Well-known member
I spent an hour or so at Strathbeg yesterday evening. Generally it was very quiet with all the gulls and terns gone from the island at Starnafin and all the eclipse ducks hiding away. However, there were about 12 Ruff on the low ground and at least 4 Greenshanks. Also an immature Peregrine briefly appeared distantly over the loch, chasing stuff.
 

Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
Wader passage really seems to have picked up in the county now, as an enjoyable day's birding proved. After an unsucessful check of Girdleness for passage migs, a check of Rigifa Pool turned out to be quite decent. 7 Ruffs showed well, accompanied by a Dunlin, 2 Snipe and a flock of over 100 Curlews were behind the pool which also contained 9 Golden Plovers .

The Snub at the Ythan was quiet, holding a Greenshank and 4 Knots . The best of the passage wader action came from Strathbeg. 2 Green Sandpipers and 4 Common Sandpipers were elusive at first from the Visitor Centre but showed well together after a while. From Tower Pool Hide there was a decent amount of waders which included an obliging Spotted Redshank, 2 Wood Sandpipers, 16 Ruff , 15 Greenshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwits and a Whimbrel. A juvenile Peregrine occasionally harrassed the waders and rested on the Low Ground, and an Osprey flew over. Despite the high water levels at Strathbeg at the moment, it did well for waders today, and I hope it continues in this form.

Joseph
 
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Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
That's a nice mix of waders at Rigifa and Strathbeg, Joseph. Sounds like a great day out. Any photos?

Hi Barry,

Cheers, it was a very enjoyable day out and it's always nice to discover little pockets of waders - managed 18 species of wader during the day. I'm afraid I don't have anything of the Strathbeg birds as none of the waders were that close. I managed a few shots of the Ruff at Rigifa Pool, but they're not that good so not worth putting up on here - will consider putting them on flickr though.

Joseph
 
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jalethbridge

I like sea-watching
Hi All

I'm in the area (well, Fife), and am coming up tomorrow to have a look for the Black Scoter. It seems that it isn't too windy tomorrow, and that high tide is at 3.30pm, so I was thinking of starting my search from about midday. Any advice on where to start, Murcar golf clubhouse, or further north at Blackdog?

Also, is there anything else to go and see in the area? The furthest I have ever been up that coast is Montrose basin, plus a sprout field somewhere where there was a Richard's Pipit a few years ago. I was half thinking about arriving in the Abernethy area for first light, as I know it well, birding for a few hours, and then heading across to Aberdeen, but that is a 2 hour drive, and I'd only have about 4 hours birding before needing to head east. Are there better alternatives on my natural route from the Tay bridge? I thought I saw reports of a Spoonbill from that stretch, which I need for Scotland....

I'm NOT year-listing, but have not seen Osprey, any divers, any grouse sp, Crestie, Wood Warbler etc. I guess RTD is easyish on the sea as per one of the messages above. Are any of the others on or near the east coast?

And finally, are any local BF members about tomorrow who may like to assist with the Scoter hunt? Thought I might as well ask, you never know.

Thanks
Jonathan
 

jalethbridge

I like sea-watching
Is the Ythan King Eider still around?

Oh, and one more thing, are there any picturesque waterfalls in the area for me to test my new 10 stop ND filter on?!!
 
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Capercaillie71

Well-known member
I'm NOT year-listing, but have not seen Osprey, any divers, any grouse sp, Crestie, Wood Warbler etc. I guess RTD is easyish on the sea as per one of the messages above. Are any of the others on or near the east coast?

Osprey are fairly regular at the Ythan estuary (and the Montrose basin), RT Divers are common enough off the east coast, the A93 at Glenshee can be good for red grouse at times. The closest reliable crested tits to Aberdeen would be at Abernethy or the Lossie Forest (I saw and heard several at the latter site yesterday - they seem very easy to detect at the moment - much more so than earlier in the spring and summer).

Is the Ythan King Eider still around?

Not sure but I guess it would be in eclipse plumage now

Oh, and one more thing, are there any picturesque waterfalls in the area for me to test my new 10 stop ND filter on?!!

There are a few waterfalls not too far from Aberdeen along Deeside - Falls of Feugh at Banchory and Falls of Dess near Aboyne. Not particularly high but plenty of water at the moment.
 
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Mark Lew1s

My real name is Mark Lewis
Hi Jonathan,

I don't think many folk are looking for the scoter these days but it seems to be reported from blackdog or even further north when it does get reported. Not sure about the king eider either...again, could be down to a lack of local interest.

As for your other app...Osprey should be pretty easy around the Ythan by now. Go through Newburgh northwards, cross the bridge, the road goes through some conifers and then shortly after there are 2 lay-bys on the left. The second one is a great vantage point over the estuary and is a good spot for osprey.

Crestie is not available this side of the cairngorms unless you are very lucky...And I guess wood warbler would be difficult as well....there are not too many around this year and I reckon they will have stopped singing now so would be difficult.

To be honest you could do a lot worse than spending the day exploring the Ythan and Loch of strathbeg. If you fancy an early morning jaunt around girdleness (sea watching perhaps) let me know. I'll bring a flask!

Anyway, good luck whatever you decide to do!

(edit....caper has quicker fingers than I do!)
 

Hyrax

Well-known member
Hi all,

I'll be in Aberdeen as of tomorrow afternoon on business, I should have most of Friday through to the late afternoon free, but no transport. Any suggestions on good birding spots that can be reached by walking/reliable public transport?

Thanks in advance,

Owen
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Hi all,

I'll be in Aberdeen as of tomorrow afternoon on business, I should have most of Friday through to the late afternoon free, but no transport. Any suggestions on good birding spots that can be reached by walking/reliable public transport?

Thanks in advance,

Owen

Hi Owen - Girdle Ness is not far from the centre of Aberdeen. You could walk (about 30 minutes) or take the number 12 bus. It should produce a few waders and seabirds and maybe a few other things. The Ythan Estuary is easily reached by taking a bus to Newburgh (take buses to Peterhead via Cruden Bay from the bus station). This should be pretty decent for waders. You might also try Blackdog (easily combined with Ythan). There's been a Black Scoter there recently. If you get off the bus by Blackdog village it's about a 10-15 minute walk down to the beach.
 

pandachris

Well-known member
All being well I'll be in the area next week, from Wednesday. My main target is White-beaked Dolphin (see cetaceans thread) but I'll also be looking at and for birds. Sooty Shearwater would be nice (I seem to have missed them over the years, sometimes by two minutes) and that King Eider pretty special - I've been hearing about KEs at Ythan Estuary for years but have never been in the area before.

So if you get anything interesting, please let me know and I'll reciprocate on here, of course.

For any local birders desparate to avoid me, I'll be the fat bloke with the beard staring at the sea :)
 

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