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Wild in Aberdeen - City and Shire (1 Viewer)

Capercaillie71

Well-known member
I spent an hour or so in the sunshine at Strathbeg yesterday evening where a nice selection of waders was on show on the visitor centre pools. Pick of the bunch were 3 Green Sandpipers with a supporting cast of 5+ Greenshank, 1 Ruff and 1 Black-tailed Godwit. I managed all four species in the same scope view at one point. Also a female Marsh Harrier flew over the reeds to the right of the tower just before I left.

I also briefly called in at the Ythan on my way back, just before sunset. Plenty of Greenshanks (and midges!) by the lay-by opposite the snub and there was an Osprey perched on a low wooden post on the mudflats between the Snub and Inch Geck. Lower down at Inches Point, there were 5-6 Knot, a few Dunlin, a Bar-tailed Godwit, loads of Redshanks and Curlews and lots of terns (mostly Sandwich) roosting on the mud. Loads of roosting gulls for a gull enthusiast to sift through too (not me!).
 

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Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
Spent the afternoon and evening out birding today. First stop was the Snub car park at the Ythan , where things were quite lively. Passage wader wise the highlights were: 100+ Knot, 90+ Golden Plover, 11 Black-tailed Godwit, 10 Dunlin, 4 Greenshank and a Bar-tailed Godwit amongst the masses of Redshank, Lapwing and Curlew. At least two Ospreys were present, with one holding what appeared to be a squid at one point - quite a sight. 2 Little Egrets were the best of the bunch , first seen roosting on a spit towards Inch Geck island. As the tide came in they flew upstream and proceeded to feed quite nearby - see images below. Always nice to see them in the NE.

Strathbeg meanwhile was quiet in comparison to my last visit, unable to produce anything of Green Sand or Wood Sand standard. There was still good counts of the more common passage waders however, with 15+ Ruff and 10+ Greenshank present, as well as 8 Black-tailed Godwit , 6 Golden Plover 3 Snipe and only one Dunlin .

Joseph
 

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pandachris

Well-known member
Should be in Aberdeenshire by this time tomorrow (Wednesday) until Sunday or Monday. Does anyone have recent news on the Ythan Estuary King Eider? If not, is it worth looking for and if so, where would be a good place to start? I have the OS 1:50000 maps but no satnav.
 
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Capercaillie71

Well-known member
Should be in Aberdeenshire by this time tomorrow (Wednesday) until Sunday or Monday. Does anyone have recent news on the Ythan Estuary King Eider? If not, is it worth looking for and if so, where would be a good place to start? I have the OS 1:50000 maps but no satnav.

The most recent report I can find is from 26 June, but that may be because nobody is looking any more - if it is still there it will be in eclipse plumage and a lot more difficult to pick out among the Eiders. Back in June it was favouring the mouth of the estuary - best accessed from the car park at the golf course. Go down beach road at the south end of Newburgh village and from the car park you can follow various paths through the scrub and dunes to a boat house (NK 004 246) which is opposite the favoured roosting beach on the north (east) bank. However, it has been seen right down at the entrance to the sea near a colony of seals, which involves walking further down the estuary. It has also been seen upstream as far as Inches point (marked as Inches on the OS map), which is accessed from a road in the middle of the village which passes through a builders yard (don't be discouraged from driving through the builders yard by the no parking signs - there is a public parking area round the corner beyond). Inches point is usually good for a selection of waders.

BTW a basking shark has been reported from Kinnaird Head at Fraserburgh
 
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pandachris

Well-known member
Thanks. I'd better brush up on my eclipse Eider ID :)

I'm hoping to have internet access so I'll post anything of interest on here and/or the local cetacean thread.
 

jalethbridge

I like sea-watching
The most recent report I can find is from 26 June, but that may be because nobody is looking any more - if it is still there it will be in eclipse plumage and a lot more difficult to pick out among the Eiders. Back in June it was favouring the mouth of the estuary - best accessed from the car park at the golf course. Go down beach road at the south end of Newburgh village and from the car park you can follow various paths through the scrub and dunes to a boat house (NK 004 246) which is opposite the favoured roosting beach on the north (east) bank. However, it has been seen right down at the entrance to the sea near a colony of seals, which involves walking further down the estuary. It has also been seen upstream as far as Inches point (marked as Inches on the OS map), which is accessed from a road in the middle of the village which passes through a builders yard (don't be discouraged from driving through the builders yard by the no parking signs - there is a public parking area round the corner beyond). Inches point is usually good for a selection of waders.

BTW a basking shark has been reported from Kinnaird Head at Fraserburgh

I looked for this bird from the Estuary mouth all the way to the village, as well as north of the bridge. This was on the 17th. Didn't see it. By far the majority of the eiders were on the roosting beach.
 

pandachris

Well-known member
Skua bonanza

For me, anyway, but being based inland I don't get many opportunities.

Spent about two hours at the Torry Battery this p.m. to about 17:14. Not much going on on the cetacean front, but loads of Skuas. My guess is at least 8 of which none where Bonxies. Mainly Arctics but two definite Pomarines including a super pale adult that entered the river mouth (i.e. within the two outer jetties) and showed nicely.
 

pandachris

Well-known member
Skua bonanza continues

Another two hours at the Torry Battery Saturday p.m. to about 18:15. We watched dolphins for the first hour then walked to the seaward side of the outer pier. Lots of Skuas again. No Pomarines this time but plenty of Bonxies, one of which had a try for an Arctic Skua before realising it didn't stand a chance of keeping up. At one time I had six Skuas in the 'scope, four Bonxies and two Arctic, with most of the Bonxies on the sea. Julie had a look (we'd only taken one 'scope) and got a fifth Bonxie.

Back at Stonehaven, from the hotel bedroom window, several more Arctics were spotted, mostly quite distant.

Plenty again early on Sunday morning before the weather broke, some more at Torry and three Arctics within one minute at Collieston from the car, as it was too vile to step outside.

I'll put a digest together during the week with times and dates of anything that might be vaguely of interest to visitors or locals.
 

kelvin

Member
Hi, I am going to try for the Black Scoter on Saturday. Is the best tactic to park at Murcar Golf Club and then walk towards Black Dog. Or should I start at Black Dog. I am totally unfamilar with the area so any advice would be really appreciated.

thanks Kelvin
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Hi, I am going to try for the Black Scoter on Saturday. Is the best tactic to park at Murcar Golf Club and then walk towards Black Dog. Or should I start at Black Dog. I am totally unfamilar with the area so any advice would be really appreciated.

thanks Kelvin

I think it's probably easier to start at Blackdog, because from there you can easily assess where the scoter are. The Black Scoter has been seen south of Blackdog at Murcar, at Blackdog itself, and also up to a mile or so north. Blackdog is therefore roughly 'in the middle' of where you might see it so is the best starting point.

I'd be interested to know if it's been seen in the past couple of days, given that one has now appeared again in Northumberland.
 

kelvin

Member
I think it's probably easier to start at Blackdog, because from there you can easily assess where the scoter are. The Black Scoter has been seen south of Blackdog at Murcar, at Blackdog itself, and also up to a mile or so north. Blackdog is therefore roughly 'in the middle' of where you might see it so is the best starting point.

I'd be interested to know if it's been seen in the past couple of days, given that one has now appeared again in Northumberland.

Thanks for your reply Andrew, is the parking at Blackdog easy? I think there have been reports on and off of two B Scoters so I am hoping that the Aberdeen bird is still there. I have left it a long time to go.. never a good strategy!! I would sleep better Friday night if it is seen again before Saturday.

Weather forecast looks good so hoping I get a slice of luck.

Kelvin
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
Thanks for your reply Andrew, is the parking at Blackdog easy? I think there have been reports on and off of two B Scoters so I am hoping that the Aberdeen bird is still there. I have left it a long time to go.. never a good strategy!! I would sleep better Friday night if it is seen again before Saturday.

Weather forecast looks good so hoping I get a slice of luck.

Kelvin

There's a small car park at Blackdog, so parking should be straightforward enough as it's unlikely to be busy. I guess there was that Black Scoter in Moray a while ago, so maybe that's the one that's moved to Northumberland.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
How did you get on Kelvin? The Black Scoter was still around today and I managed to see it late afternoon just off Blackdog. It gave reasonable views despite the heavy swell. Also still four drake Surf Scoters, a few Velvet Scoters and at least five Arctic Skuas around. There were a few duck moving through, with groups of Teal and Wigeon and, more impressively, two Pintail. Also lots of Sanderling and three Dunlin on the beach and a few groups of Knot flying through.
 

kelvin

Member
How did you get on Kelvin? The Black Scoter was still around today and I managed to see it late afternoon just off Blackdog. It gave reasonable views despite the heavy swell. Also still four drake Surf Scoters, a few Velvet Scoters and at least five Arctic Skuas around. There were a few duck moving through, with groups of Teal and Wigeon and, more impressively, two Pintail. Also lots of Sanderling and three Dunlin on the beach and a few groups of Knot flying through.

Hi Andrew,
I looked at the forecast last night and it looked really bad with fog and then rain with strong wind. The Scoter had not been reported all week and I made the wrong decision to not go!

Thanks again for your help and I am glad you saw it again today.

Kelvin
 

Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
A great, long days birding with Alan Knox today. After no luck for passerines at Balmedia, we headed to New Pitsligo where we aimed to see the 3 Common Cranes that have been present there in the last few days. Despite following the given directions, we were unable to locate them, which was frustrating. When they were reported later in the day I was pretty annoyed! As we were fairly close to Fraserburgh we took the opportunity to check Rosehearty. On the beach here 2 Bar-tailed Godwits were present. Wending our way round to the Rosehearty Tower, we decided to have a look off the sea. There were lots of auks sitting on the sea, most of which were Black Guillemots. To our astonishment, we managed to count 37 Black Guillemots spread out across the bay - a count that we were aware is pretty exceptional in the county for this unusual county species, despite it not being scarce along that stretch of coast.

After checks of Sandhaven Bay, Kinnaird Head and Cairnbulg proving unfruitful, we headed to Strathbeg. Whilst at Strathbeg we checked the lagoon, and it turned out to be full of birds. The highlights were the waders which weren't all seen together but were all spread out across the lagoon and expansive creek leading down from it. There were at least 25 Curlew Sandpipers in the area, the most I have ever seen of this species and an amazing spectacle. Also present were 2 Wood Sandpipers, a flushed Green Sandpiper, a Little Stint , 3 Ruff, 4 Golden Plover, 6 Sanderling, 50+ Dunlin and 2 Pale-bellied Brent Geese. There were also raptors around, with Buzzard, Kestrel and Marsh Harrier all present. More notable however was a female Merlin was seen well on the beach by the lagoon and then later seen being harrassed by some crows in the dunes. Even better than this was a Short-eared Owl which we put up whilst walking through the dunes near the lagoon, watched for just less than a minute before it went out of view. This was brilliant as it was my first Short-eared Owl in the county. To discover all this on just the lagoon was great, and it meant that we stayed there for over two hours.

With a Pec Sand reported from Starnafin in the afternoon, we headed there in the evening to have a look for it. There was no sign of it, but a Green Sandpiper showed well from here. On the Low Ground, at least 15 Ruff and 8 Black-tailed Godwit were present. Despite dipping on the scarcer birds, it was a fantastic day. No pics I'm afraid - everything was too distant for photography!

Joseph
 
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pandachris

Well-known member
My (mostly) bird observations from my short visit last week. Probably not much of interest to local birders, perhaps of value to someone who doesn't spend much time at the coast, and birds were of secondary importance to cetaceans for most of my trip (see cetaceans thread).

Sunday 28th included perhaps the worst weather I've ever seen in August in the UK, so we missed a few opportunities.


24/08/11 12:55 Torry Battery - 100s of Eider, Kittewakes and Sandwich Terns
13:20 Torry Battery - 3 Wigeon (m)
14:30 Torry Battery - 1 Bonxie, poss distant Shearwater sp
14:45 Several flocks of Goldfinches and Linnets (20s and 30s); 2 Turnstones
16:20 From Stonehaven Harbour - 100s of Gannets offshore
17:20 From Stonehaven Harbour - 2 post-breeding Black Guillemots, 3 Knots and 1 Purple Sandpiper past, 1 Bonxie
19:45 From Royal Hotel, Stonehaven - 3 Shearwaters in distance - prob. Manx
20:10 From Royal Hotel, Stonehaven - 1 Bonxie
20:15 From Royal Hotel, Stonehaven - 1 Arctic Skua


25/08/11 09:00 Torry Battery - 5-6 Turnstones
12:05 Cransdale Watch Point, Collieston - 1 skua sp, weather worsening
12:10 Cransdale Watch Point, Collieston - 1 Northern Wheatear. Weather too unpleasant to encorage further delay.
13:00 Waulkmill Hide, Forvie NNR - 1 Greenshank, 2 Turnstone, 1 Dunlin
13:25 Waulkmill Hide, Forvie NNR - 2 Ospreys, 1 fishing successfully in the river
13:25 Waulkmill Hide, Forvie NNR - several hundred Golden Plovers in various plumages flushed by Ospreys
13:45 met Ian Hay at the Waulkmill Hide, Forvie NNR - weather improving
14:20 Waulkmill Hide - 2 more Ospreys
16:10 Final approach Road to Tod Head - Northern Wheatear - conditions vastly improved
17:15 Tod Head lighthouse - 6+ House Martins (first of the trip)
17:30 Road between Tod Head and Caterline - Peregrine flew in front of the car for 1/4 mile

26/08/11 07:55 Torry Battery - Arctic Skua harrying Sandwich terns
11:15 Newburgh - House Martins visiting nest
12:30 Cransdale Watch Point, Collieston - 1 Red-throated Diver - otherwise very quiet with little bird movement
12:00 Torry Battery - Common and Arctic Terns in amongst Sandwich Terns, 1 Arctic Skua.
15:05 Torry Battery - Pomarine Skua just outside last breakwater
15:40 Torry Battery - 6 Red-breasted Mergansers flew in off the sea
15:50 Torry Battery - 1 Arctic Skua
16:15 Torry Battery - 1 Pomarine Skua inside breakwater (not the same bird as at 15:05)
16:30 Torry Battery - At least 6 skuas (none of them Bonxies) north of the harbour
16:50 Torry Battery - Still lots of skuas

27/08/11 11:15ish Cransdale Watch Point, Collieston - spoke to JosephN briefly in mediocre conditions
12:00 Waulkmill Hide, Forvie NNR - 1 Peregrine, plenty of Knot, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover
12:30 Waulkmill Hide, Forvie NNR - 1 Bar-tailed Godwit
17:30 Torry Battery - 3 Skuas (2 Arctic and one prob Arctic)
17:45 Torry Battery - 5 skuas in scope at same time - 5 Bonxies, 2 Arctics


28/08/11 06:55 From Royal Hotel, Stonehaven - 1 Arctic Skua on sea
07:15 From Royal Hotel, Stonehaven - 2 Bonxies
07:25 From Royal Hotel, Stonehaven - 2 Arctic Skuas close to shore
07:30 From Royal Hotel, Stonehaven - skua sp - further out
07:40 From Royal Hotel, Stonehaven - 2 skuas (sp unknown) further out
07:50 From Royal Hotel, Stonehaven - diver sp flying north distantly
08:00 From Royal Hotel, Stonehaven - 1 Bonxie - weather conditions up to now pleasant and calm
11:30 Cransdale Watch Point, Collieston - 1 Red-throated Diver, 3 close Arctic Skuas, lots of Guillemots during a 15 minute seawatch from the car in appalling and worsening conditions.
15:00 (approx) - Loch of Strathbeg - reserve almost invisible from the visitor centre because of rain. We passed at least three fallen trees.
Hundreds of swallows and martins in just about any area with trees, swooping low over the debris on the road, presumably collecting bugs dislodged by the gales.
 

pandachris

Well-known member
I seem to have missed recording a couple of Whimbrel. I think one went past Stonehaven Harbour on 24th and I've no idea where the other one was. Pretty certain I saw two, though.
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
I spent most of this morning on the Ythan, which produced a few good birds. At the river mouth there was a very smart looking juvenile Mediterranean Gull, along with three equally splendid juvenile Little Gulls. Two Little Egrets were still on Foveran Burn. Waders were okay, although I only managed to find one Curlew Sandpiper. Other waders included 2 Greenshank and 3 Black-tailed Godwit. A juvenile Peregrine was unsettling everything.
 

Joseph N

Lothian Young Birder
Yet another successful day on the passage wader front today, although not at first. I was hoping to see at least one of the Pectoral Sandpipers that have been at Strathbeg in the last week or so, bu the Low Ground and Starnafin didn't reveal any of them. In fact, it was pretty quiet wader-wise on the pools - with 7 Greenshank and maybe 10 Ruff on the Low Ground and 6 Dunlin from Starnafin. The Pink-footed Geese were back on the reserve as well, with at least 150 around - a sign that winter is on its way. However once again the lagoon at Strathbeg produced, when on arrival 9 Little Stints were discovered amongst a flock of 15 Dunlin, the largest number of this species I've ever seen at one time. They were watched for 20 minutes until they flew south down the creek leading into the lagoon, not to be relocated. 3 Whimbrel also flew over and Pinkfeets were coming in off the sea.

Success continued at the Ythan this evening where there were plenty of waders from Waulkmill Hide. At least 8 Curlew Sandpipers, a Spotted Redshank, 35 Ruff and 5 Black-tailed Godwits were amongst 120+ Dunlins, 80+ Golden Plover and others - the most waders I've seen on the estuary in a long while. It's delightful to see passage waders around in such good numbers at the moment.

Joseph
 
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danny_heptinstall

Active member
Hi All,

I had a brief stop at the Ythan Estuary today and had 5 Curlew Sandpipers from the layby N of the road bridge - the one that looks up towards Waulkimill Hide. I also saw three earlier in the day from the Inches Car Park.

Then this afternoon I stopped in at Rigifa Pools where there was nought special although I reckon the solitary male shoveler was probably a bit of a rarity for the site! Three wigeon and a dozen teal with it as well but no waders other than the standard lapwing/curlew/oystercatcher.

Rounding off the day I had a surprise star find - a stunning winter plumaged Slavonian Grebe at Loirston Loch!!! I've never bothered to stop here before but having been rewarded like this on my first visit I'll definitly be stopping by again :)
 

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