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Sunday, 27 November 2011

November Desert

Went off to Bempton first thing with Andy and Mark for the Desert Wheatear first seen last weekend and refound on Friday, there was no sign of it at first in the very windy conditions but eventually it was picked up feeding along the edge of the field and we got good views of this super little bird although it was quite flighty early on, we also saw a Short Eared Owl as we returned to the car. Next up we paid a quick visit to Flamborough where a flock of Twite has been flying around the Headland over the past few days but we couldn’t locate them this morning so we headed off to Filey Dams, some White Fronted Geese had been posing here yesterday and we hoped they might be doing the same today, they dropped in to the back of the pool accompanied by two Barnacles shortly after we arrived but it wasn’t long before they moved on somewhere else so we did too, to try our luck at nearby Lebberston where a flock of White Fronts with a possible Taiga Bean Goose had been seen yesterday, the White Fronts were still present but there was no sign of the Bean Goose today. We then trekked over to North Cave Wetlands where an adult Caspian Gull had been seen this morning but again although there were lots of large Gulls to scan through there was no sign it late afternoon.

the White Fronts with Barnacles at Filey Dams

the White Fronts at Lebberston

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

York Bird Club weekend trip to Fife, Last day.

Apart from a brief spell of early sunshine it was dull and overcast today, we started with a look from behind the Hotel again, a Purple Sandpiper was showing on the rocks there this morning, then we headed to an area half way between Largo and Ruddens Point where we hoped to get closer views of the Surf Scoter if it was in the same area as yesterday, we couldn’t find it today though and in fact there seemed to be fewer birds in the bay altogether. Next up was Tentsmuir Forest north of St Andrews which is the release site of the White Tailed Eagles, a vast area with some impressive dunes between the forest and the sea but no Eagles were seen while we were there. Early afternoon we made our way over to Loch Leven and visited the RSPB Vane Farm reserve, it looked an impressive reserve but after recent earthworks there was nothing much in front of the hides apart from a couple of Buzzards perched on posts, there was a good number of Whooper Swans and Pinkfeet on the edge of the Loch however as well as a wide range of Ducks and further out we added Goosander and Great Northern Diver to the trip list, then with the prospect of a long drive back we packed up mid afternoon and headed for home, again it had been a very enjoyable weekend and I look forward to next years, collectively we saw around 115 species over the three days and I personally saw 95 including a new sub-species.

Lower Largo in early morning sunshine

Tentsmuir forest and dunes

Pinkfeet over Loch Leven

Loch Leven scenics

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

York Bird Club weekend trip to Fife, Day 2

We started the day with a look out over Largo Bay from behind the Hotel before heading round to Ruddens Point for a more complete view, the recent mild weather meant there wasn’t masses of wintering stuff in the bay but there was still a good number, particularly of Velvet Scoter and Long Tailed Ducks with several Slavonian Grebes, a Red Necked Grebe and best of all a drake Surf Scoter, the only Divers though were Red Throated, most stuff was fairly distant but the flat calm sea and superb light made for excellent viewing just not good for photography, just inland from the point a field hosted a large flock of Grey Geese and a scan through them revealed a good mix of Eurasion White Fronted, Pink Footed and Tundra Bean amongst the Greylags, they were also accompanied by two Whooper and two Bewick's Swans. We then headed off to St Andrews calling off at the small Loch Kilconqhar and the much larger Loch Cameron en route, both Lochs held good numbers of Diving Ducks and to be expected several Buzzards were in the vicinity but there was nothing out of the ordinary, at St Andrews we had a look out to sea but only added a few Fulmars to the list apart from some of the group who managed to get on to a Pomarine Skua, not me though, we ended the day at the nearby Eden Estuary where there were masses of Waders particularly Sanderling and Grey Plovers as well as several Long Tailed Ducks and at least seven Slavonian Grebes on the river, a small flock of Pale Bellied Brent Geese flew in just before dusk and as we walked back to the cars hundreds of Pinkfeet made quite a spectacle as they flew in to roost, a most enjoyable day had by all.

sunrise over Largo Bay

only the Eiders came anywhere near close enough

distant Red Throated Diver

Long Tailed Ducks and Velvet Scoters were even further away

a couple of record shots of the Surf Scoter

this drake Merganser came a bit closer

cutting a lonesome figure as he scans through the Scoter flock

a couple of views of Largo Bay from Ruddens Point

a couple of scenics from Loch Cameron

St Andrews

Sunset over the Eden Estuary

Monday, 21 November 2011

York Bird Club weekend trip to Fife, Day 1

It was the York Bird Club weekend trip to Fife last weekend and on Friday the 18th me, Andy and Mike headed north, we decided to do a spot of birding in Northumberland on the way up as Mike wanted to see the Greater Yellowlegs, me and Andy didn’t mind having a second bite of the cherry anyway, and there was also an Eastern Black Redstart on Holy Island. The Yellowlegs had become restless and had been moving around a bit over the last couple of days and as we got up there the last report had been from the Druridge Bay Country Park, we headed there but upon arrival there was no sign of it and we were told the bird had flown off towards East Chevington but birders arriving from there said there was no sign of it there neither, we went to Hauxley to see if it had returned there but it hadn’t although a Greenland White Fronted Goose showed well from the approach road, we had just decided to give it one last try back at East Chevington when news came over that it had returned to Druridge Bay, we got there and there it was in a lot better light and a lot closer than last weekend, a superb bird well worth the perseverance, there were also three Scaup on the lake and a Crossbill flew over. With time getting on we headed off to Holy Island and fortunately it didn’t take too long to find the Eastern Black Redstart, just a sub-species at the moment but a really distinctive and smart looking bird and we enjoyed great views as it fed along the beach, also a Short Eared Owl was hunting near the car park when we returned to the car, a good start to the trip. Then it was Northwards with a fight through the Edinburgh traffic and on to our Hotel at Lower Largo.

feasting on a fish

it was eventually flushed by two little old ladies