Saturday, 10 September 2016

Whales and Waders

A lack of sustained easterlies have meant that waders continue to be the main birding attraction locally. The estuary continues seeing record number of Black-tailed Godwits with 328 being a peak count so far. A first year Hobby was at Waulkmill last Sunday. This morning the southerly gale overnight did bring with it a few hundred Meadow Pipit into the Collieston area, with a Pied Flycatcher being along the back road. Otherwise the main arrivals were of a few Willow Warblers and Wheatear.
2 Humpback Whales now are continuing to show intermittently, including very well indeed off Collieston, with displays of breaching reported some days. Hackley Bay is another favoured spot as well as the Ythan mouth still.

Black-tailed Godwit, Waulkmill

Hirundines, Kirkton

Waders, Waulkmill

Humpback Whale, Cransdale Head

Red-throated Diver, Collieston Harbour

Season of Mists of Forvie

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Greenish Warbler on Forvie...Early Autumn Migrants

There is a Greenish Warbler in the bushes on the Rockend track on Forvie NNR. Found yesterday (HAA) it was still present today.
Elsewhere there was a  Red-backed Shrike on the Collieston backroad (Mains of Slains area), with 3 Pied Flycatchers and a Garden warbler. Good numbers of Willow Warblers also.
Garden warbler and Redstart at Kirkton, and a Pied Flycatcher at Kirkton yesterday.
 NB Turns out that there were 2 Red-backed Shrike in the same area of Mains of Slains yesterday.
Pied Flycatcher

Red-backed Shrike, Mains of Slains

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Waders on the move

The Ythan is looking increasingly packed with good numbers of a range of species. A Juv Little Stint added to the variety this evening at Inches Point alongside a single Ruff and around 30 Dunlin. The Golden Plover numbers are gradually building with a small flock of a few 10s favouring the Snub.
Meanwhile in Aberdeen , at Girdleness, a very confiding adult White-rumped Sandpiper is giving amazing views....hopefully a taste of more to come on the patch.
White-Rumped Sandpiper, Aberdeen

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Seeing double: another White-winged Black tern and the Humpback Whale star

Great summer wildlife on offer in and around the Ythan: The Humpback Whale continues patrolling the sea just off the mouth off the mouth of the estuary, maybe for over 2 weeks now. It is accompanied by a mass of seals, terns, Gannet and varied gull species. Up to 10 Arctic Skuas have been seen in the area. The White-winged Black Tern (2nd Summer bird) re-appeared, once more spotted by Cotehill's birder, on the 29th and 30th of July. It commuted between Cotehill and Meikle Lochs.
Very surprisingly a new bird, an adult, appeared in the morning on Meikle Loch on the 5th August. Pictures below of this individual.

Humpback Whale, Ythan
Arctic Skua, Ythan

Adult White-winged Black Tern, Meikle Loch

Sunday, 24 July 2016

White-winged black tern

A nice surprise this morning.  A white-winged black tern briefly graced Cotehill Loch this morning.  It's the first one for the Collision area but unfortunately didn't stay long and was last seen flying south at 10.40.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Pacific Golden Plover on Slains Pools 21.5.16

A cracking Summer plumaged Pacific Golden Plover was showing on the main Slains Pool area today.
A tricky ID (from American Golden) this bird showed all the necessary features with: short primary projection (3 primaries only) beyond the long tertials, bold gold spangling in the upperparts, particularly long bill and legs, small slim bodied with relatively large head. White in flanks intermingled with black, and likewise in the undertail and vent. Heard also to call a number of occasions , giving a distinctive if rather muted "chu-it", reminiscent of a distant Spotted Redshank.

The weekend got off to a good start with yesterday a Glossy Ibis being also in the Slains Pools area for a few hours in the evening before there being an increased count of birds at Strathbeg later in the evening.

Otherwise the patch has had a little passerine movement over the last week with a male Red-backed shrike on the 15th, more or less in the village. A different bird to the one previously at the Forvie Centre. |This one showed more grey in the upper-parts.

A young, or perhaps female Marsh Harrier, is frequenting the patch area on and off over the last 6 days.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Red-backed Shrike

This little cracker popped up on the fence outside the Reserve office late this afternoon. One of the finest spring birds you'll ever see. Exciting times on the patch!


Sunday, 8 May 2016

Lesser Yellowlegs

A male Redstart was at Mains of Slains this morning along with other common migrants. There was a continuous, if low level, passage of Swallows coming through the area, along with small numbers of Wheatear along the roadsides.
A group of 7 Whimbrel went over Sandloch early afternoon.

The highlight was a summer plumaged Lesser Yellowlegs just off the patch area near Logie Buchan. On a small pool, by the track, it allowed close views.

Maybe more to report in next few days with SE winds predicted.

Lesser Yellowlegs, Logie Buchan

Meadow Pipit, Mains of Slains

Pied Wagtail, Collieston

Common Redstart, Mains of Slains

Common Eider, Collieston

Great White Egret, Cotehill and Sandloch

Friday, 6 May 2016

North meets south

A crazy couple of weeks on the patch has seen northern strays meet southern overshoots in bizarre fashion. Early April saw a fine but frustratingly elusive Great Grey Shrike in the Little Collieston / North Forvie area, and another Black Redstart on the Reserve. Then in late April it was possible to see both King Eider and Avocet on the estuary on the same day!

Avocets at Waulkmill, Ythan Estuary

Things then upped another gear, firstly with the big discovery (literally) of the Great White Egret on Cotehill Loch, which thankfully stuck around so Rosie and I could see it. It was still here yesterday (5th May) and has been seen on both Cotehill and Sand Lochs.

Great White Egbert

This was followed up on Tuesday by another stonking southern overshoot, this time a Hoopoe, which caused some language in the Reserve office as it flew past the window, grub in bill, Jackdaw in pursuit! It eventually lost its pursuer and flopped its way onto the Reserve, where it sadly went to ground and wasn't subsequently pinned down. Frustrating but exhilarating!

In other news, there has been a good passage of Whimbrel this week, including a flock of 30+ over Cotehill on Monday. They have been in evidence again this evening, with noisy small parties passing over the house.

Whimbrel on the move

Elsewhere, there has been a long-staying second-summer Mediterranean Gull at the Forvie ternery, where all the usual tern species are now back on territory. This Med Gull may be the same one sighted by Collieston Birder in the village back in January, but who knows? Anyway, it was joined today by a stunning full adult, though the two didn't seem to be interested in each other. Surely a future breeder in the Forvie gullery (where there are currently 1,921 pairs of Black-headed Gulls nesting).

Finally, there has been a small flurry of Lesser Whitethroat sightings, with one found by Collieston Birder in the roadside willows, followed by one at the Reserve office this morning, and then another in our garden this evening. With a promising weather forecast for the next few days, I hope we're reporting on more passerine interest soon...

Lesser Whitethroat - garden tick!