YTHAN ESTUARY & PETERHEAD
An early start this morning before the forecasted rain comes in later today. It was another gorgeous start and a frosty one too and so I spent the first 10-minutes defrosting the car. A quick stop at our excellent local bakery/cafe for a bacon roll and a couple of 'Aberdeen Rowies' for later and I was at the Ythan Estuary a half-hour later.
|A Bar-tailed Godwit passes by along the Ythan.|
Tide times were better today and so there was plenty of mudflats showing around 'Inch Point' and as usual the place was simply awash with life. Overhead skeins of noisy Pink-footed Geese were on the move and the sounds of Oystercatchers, Redshanks & Curlews was almost deafening. Some large flocks of Dunlin were constantly on the move too, dropping in close by occasionally for a feeding frenzy. Out in the channels Goosander, Red-breasted Merganser, Little Grebe, Wigeon and the resident Eiders. The Seals were also out in force and an Otter swam through keeping close to the far bank. Passing overhead during my visit Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Rock Pipit.
|A very inquisitive Long-tailed Duck at the Ythan Estuary|
The highlight of the visit was a stunning drake Long-tailed Duck, which I first scoped at distance but then it seemed to spot me and fly in landing directly in front, pretty surreal! I have to say I was literally mesmerised by him and watched him for some considerable time. The last time I saw a drake like this close in, locally known as an 'Oldsquaw' was in Canada some years ago.
|Turnstone enjoying the weather|
My next stop was for a walk along the Ythan shoreline further upriver, parking at the bridge car park. This is where the Ythan River begins to open out into the estuary and just as I arrived 17 Whooper Swans passed south. Immediately below several Turnstones were feeding in the glorious sunshine.
|Roe Deer ~ A wonderful sight & quite a common one around these parts.|
I had to head off to Peterhead B&Q at some stage today so I drove the back roads stopping at a few plantations to listen out for anything unusual. A Roe Deer suddenly appeared alongside and after hitting the brakes I managed to grab a few images before it bolted off.
|Three of sixteen Purple Sandpipers roosting at Gadle Braes|
The weather was deteriorating by the time I reached Peterhead but before shopping, I stopped off at Gadle Braes. My target here with the tide almost fully in was Purple Sandpiper and I wasn't disappointed with 16 birds roosting on the rocks.
|Long-tailed Duck coming in to investigate!|
|Unlike most of the others, this Purple Sandpiper was actually awake!|