Friday, 28 December 2012

Christmas viewing!

The on-going weather conditions has brought more Long-tailed ducks into the area, 2 on Meikle 2 days ago, as well as one that set up camp on a flooded field by Mains of Slains farm. Not your usual farmland bird.

Plenty of Coal Tits remain around village feeders..used to be rare for us.
Up to three male Goosanders remain on Cotehill Loch, and there were 3 RB Mergansers on the Sand Loch on boxing day.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

The deluge continues...

There is localised flooding around the village with the back road inundated and a small river cutting across the Cransdale road.
There are up to 5 Purple Sandpipers at Cransdale head now. The most notable bird today though was a first year Iceland Gull in the field by Mains of Collieston farm, then moving to Meikle Loch.
Purple Sandpiper

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Storm Surge!

The winds kept on rising overnight causing havoc around the harbour, with one car dragged out to sea and small boats lost as well. New holes appearing in the harbour wall with chunks of concrete being seen driven into the air. The Cransdale car park is littered with debris and the sculpture has been driven from its usual position. The sea's remained high well into the afternoon on a very high tide .
This was a once in a 20 year event according to the longer residents. Certainly a new one on me!

Birding a bit restricted by the hypnotic views, but a good flock of Rock pipits at the Cransdale beach, with one or two good candidates for Scandinavian Rock Pipit among their number. One Purple Sandpiper with the Turnstone.
Aside from this, there are now 3 drake Goosander on Cotehill Loch. A male Hen Harrier also crossed the road going out of the village in the morning, always good to see.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Wild winter weather

The first part of December has seen some low temperatures, but not much movement of birds in on it noted. However tonight it is blowing a gale, with easterly winds, so there must be some hope of something of interest in the next couple of days. Hard to stand up out there just now.
Records of interest from the last 10 days or so include a Woodcock near the Forvie centre entrance. There has also been an expanding group of mixed finches and Tree Sparrow near the vegetable crop by the Forvie centre, including a few Twite mixed in.
A pair of Red-breasted Merganser have occasionally been viewable of Cransdale head, and a drake Goosander was seen flying over Meikle loch last week...relatively scarce in this area.
A few smaller groups of Pink-footed Geese are still in the area unsurprisingly, but with no more unusual Geese with them.
Herring Gulls in the strong winds

Meikle Loch

Seas from Cransdale this afternoon
There are also a few, small, miserable looking groups of Golden Plover around especially behind Meikle Loch.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

December 1st, and its snowing!

Sightings today include the unseasonal Whinchat still at Meikle loch along the eastern edge, though elusive.
A good flock of Meadow Pipits (30+) around there as well, with a few Rock Pipits mixed in.
Good numbers Teal on Cotehill which appeared packed out for once, and certainly has more wildfowl currently on it than Meikle.
Awaiting a few arrivals in on the cold weather and snow hopefully.

Great Spotted Woodpecker.Ruth L.
At least 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers are still frequenting the village favouring the plantations and gardens from the Forvie Centre down into High Town. Unusual in the village, though this year has been particularly good for them.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Collieston's November...Late Whinchat

Things have turned very quiet over the last weeks. A run of Westerly winds have finished off the Autumn  bringing any late migration more or less to a halt. The only exceptions to this have been a single Waxwing on 10.11.12 at Feu farm, and on 18.11.12 a surprise Whinchat at Meikle Loch, this is the fourth latest record ever for Scotland. At the same time a Lapland Bunting was frequenting the meadow there with a mixed flock of Rock and Meadow Pipits. These birds seem to appear in advance of a front of poor weather.
Latterly a Long-Tailed Duck has been on Meikle as well.
A number of small, mixed flocks of Reed Buntings, Yellow Hammer, finches and usually some Tree Sparrow are dotted around the field edges and the village.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Autumn Update...Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler the headline

Intermittent easterlies through the latter part of the Autumn have resulted in a number of notable records: 1 or almost certainly 2 Little Buntings(this is the first definitive record for the village) from the 26th September onwards, a number of Yellow-browed Warblers have been in and around the village, a Hawfinch at Cotehill for 3 days, a Reed Warbler, Lapland Buntings, a handful of Lesser Whitethroats and good numbers of commoner migrants. A number of Coal Tits have been frequenting gardens in the village, they are actually relatively unusual for Collieston village itself.

Of cetacean interest was a probable Sowerby's beaked whale that was watched by one observer going slowly north on the 17th October, this poorly known species was the first of the beaked whales to be discovered, after one stranded in the Moray Firth in 1800(ref:  Carwardine, 1995)

Pick of the bunch though has been certainly the 1st mainland Scottish record of Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler on 26.9.12. This bird showed for one afternoon and early evening in the larger of the back road plantations. An unforgettable experience with YB Warbler calling in the background and a Little Bunting flying through as well at one point.
It attracted quite a crowd for the NE and performed at very close range for a number of hours.
It was unworn and hence showed the characteristic features very well, including the pale tertial and white tail tips. A great find by one of our local birders and a visitor brought in by the first sighting of Little Bunting earlier in the day.

Poor shots showing the Pallas's Gropper:

Lesser Whitethroat:

The almost inevitable (in October) Goldcrest:

More recent reports include small groups of Crossbill flying over and  a few Great Northern divers passing on the sea.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Migrants arriving

A number of common and scarcer migrants around the village today:
Two Yellow-Browed Warblers in and around the trees at the roadside as you come into the village.
A Yellow Wagtail also overflew the area at 17.30. A scattering of Goldcrest around the village.
Yellow-browed Warbler
The Sand Loch had a Lesser Whitethroat in the afternoon.
The Mains of Slains back road area had good numbers of Meadow Pipit and  Chiff-Chaff, Willow Warbler and a single Garden Warbler. Still a few Ruff and Black-Tailed Godwit in the Slains area as well.
Winds are predicted easterly over next few days so more sure to arrive.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Waders and westerlies

Main highlights in the last week have been the 3 Pectoral Sandpipers that stayed at least 3 days on the northern edge of Feu Farm, in a small field pool. Also of rarity interest nearby was the Paddyfield Warbler that interrupted a Swallow ringing session near Logie Buchan on the 8th September.This was the first record for NE Scotland.
Pectoral Sandpiper, Feu Farm
Otherwise waders continue to frequent the wide variety of small pools in the fields in the area, with Black-Tailed Godwit , Green Sandpiper and Common Snipe all being seen in the last few days.High tide on the Ythan encourages greater numbers into the fields.
Also reported over Cotehill recently were 5 Crossbills and a Great-Spotted Woodpecker.