Tuesday, February 19, 2019

πŸ“– #6/2019 ~ Aberdeenshire

A weekend in Aberdeenshire househunting gave the opportunity for some coastal birding in between viewings, culminating in a Sunday afternoon visit to RSPB Loch of Strathbeg before flying back late evening.

Bar-tailed Godwit
Hooded Crow on the road while enjoying a coffee stop!
Saturday we spent time around the Ythan Estuary where large numbers of Eider had congregated and with the tide ebbing there were plenty of waders with large groups of Oystercatchers, along with Bar-tailed Godwits, Sanderling, Turnstone, Grey Plovers and over fifty Curlew!

Rock Pipit around Peterhead Harbour
Shag at Peterhead Harbour
Before heading off to Strathbeg on Sunday we stopped at the harbour at Peterhead to sift through the many Gulls, both Glaucous and Iceland can regularly be found around the fishing fleet. Unfortunately being Sunday there wasn't a lot of activity and so fewer Gulls but there was plenty on offer with many Shags, small groups of Eider and several Rock Pipits.

Purple Sandpipers around the rocks at Gadel Braes
Just around the corner from the harbour is Gadel Braes, a road which runs parallel to the rocky shoreline and a great place to stop and search for Purple Sandpipers. It wasn't long before we managed to find at least eight feeding around the kelp. Offshore more Eiders, a few fishing Gannets, Red-throated Diver and many Shag.

Tree Sparrow at the visitor centre feeders
We spent a few enjoyable hours at RSPB Loch of Strathbeg before heading off to the airport. Around the visitor centre feeders, a large population of Tree Sparrows is still evident, along with some stunning male Siskin but alas no Brambling on this visit.

Siskin at Loch of Strathbeg
There are still plenty of Whooper Swans to be found, along with 1000s of Pink-footed Geese and during our stay, a couple of Hen Harriers and a single Taiga Bean Goose were other highlights. As you would expect Goldeneye were plentiful, along with small numbers of Pintail but a distinct drop in Wigeon numbers since our last visit in November.