Sunday, September 27, 2020

New Surroundings!

A chance over the last week to check out my new birding surroundings in Aberdeenshire Scotland. I've been up here with Dazza preparing our new home for our permanent move back on to terra firma in a few weeks time.

At Newburgh, there are plenty of areas to view birds at close range, like this Goosander.
While here we've spent time checking out the amazing coastline which from a birding perspective for me will begin on the coast at Newburgh & Collieston, around a 30-minute drive. Once here there is an extensive estuary with a variety of surrounding habitats including sand dunes, heathland, farmland, reedbeds and mudflats. Collieston has a sheltered harbour and beach and has over the years produced some good local and national rarities. Sands of Forvie close by is a National Nature Reserve and has extensive sand dunes and borders the Ythan Estuary.

From here I would head north taking in Cruden Bay, where there are rocky cliffs and a wooded gully with sycamores and willows for searching out passage migrants.

Great views can be obtained from the car at Gadle Brais 
Further north lies Peterhead and the Ugie Estuary, Peterhead being a working harbour is a good place to search for Gulls in winter, plus there are some excellent seawatch points, particularly around Gadle Braes. In fact, the past few days have been a wonderful experience with strong northerly winds allowing for a major Sooty Shearwater passage along the coast, both exciting and fascinating to watch!

Cairngorms National Park ~ Only a 40-minute drive.
Part of Aberdeenshire councils slogan contains the phrase 'From Mountains to Sea' and of course I haven't even mentioned yet that the Cairngorms National Park is just a 40-minute drive away. So you can understand why when we decided to make the move north, the birding was a big factor for me. It wasn't too difficult a decision for Dazza as she's an Aberdonian anyway, so a return home was simply a no-brainer! 

As a sub-note, after eleven years writing as Boatbirder, this is likely to be my final post under that particular pseudonym, although I suspect the new one won't be too much of a surprise! I've immensely enjoyed living on the water for the past 16yrs but a move to the coast was always my end game! I've enjoyed the company of some excellent and genuine birders over the years, particularly at Brandon Marsh, where I had many wonderful moments and indeed some good finds. Sadly some are no longer with us but the memories will remain. 

When the ultimate move takes place next month I'll be restructuring the blog to take in my new surrounds, nothing too drastic, perhaps a different theme and of course a different header? So watch this space. 

For now, this is Boatbirder signing off with a few images of our first week in our new surroundings........

Despite being a national rarity Curlews are widespread here.

Black-tailed Godwits over the Ythan + Knot

A Ruff stands out among the many Redshank.

Shags at rest at Peterhead ~ One sporting a ring from a local colony.

Still plenty of Sandwich Terns passing through.

Crossbills are a feature of the area. 

Pink-footed Geese in off the sea ~ Spot the Barnacle, these birds likely from the Svalbard population.

Guillemots are plentiful throughout the area.

Moulting Eiders ~ A regular breeder around the Ythan.

Rock Pipits are fairly common along the coastline.

Skylark, another regular of the area.

Grey Wagtail during a visit to Port Soy

Turnstones, a common feature around the harbours.