🍂🍁After a late-summer surge and unseasonably high temperatures, it would seem that Autumn has finally arrived this morning with heavy rain and strong winds. Unfortunately, It was an awful morning altogether for Dazza's work flight down to Birmingham! She tells me it was a bumpy ride throughout and that they were required to circle a dozen times due to torrential rain before finally getting in at Birmingham, with some other flights even being diverted.
|A late Common Whitethroat at the Sand Loch, Forvie NNR|
Since arriving back from Spain I've managed two visits to RSPB Strathbeg, Forvie Nature Reserve and my usual few hours around the Ythan Estuary and upper reaches. One thing that's struck me since my return is the reluctance of trees, shrubs and flowers to accept that Autumn is on the horizon. Full canopies with no sign of colour changes, lots of insects and bees still buzzing around and even plenty of butterflies, mostly Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, along with the odd Large White. My visit to Forvie on September 20th even threw up a late staying Common Whitethroat and also noted during my short walk a half dozen Stonechat, a single Wheatear and my first Common Darter dragonflies of the year.
Despite the late Summer warmth, accompanied by a long period of southerlies, the wind did eventually swing around to the northwest overnight Wednesday and on Thursday while having a garden tidy skein after skein of Pink-footed Geese drifted endlessly overhead, the floodgates have opened! Due to not having any previous experience of the late summer up here in northeast Scotland, I'm unsure as to whether the birds have arrived early or late but either way it's a wonderful sight to behold.
|Whooper Swans ~ Another winter visitor from Iceland|
Friday morning I was along the Ythan for a few hours pre-high tide and was delighted to see a group of 32 Whooper Swans drop in, another wonderful sight and interesting to think that it may well have been their first landfall since leaving Iceland! By the time I departed they were all fast asleep and who could blame them after another epic journey.
|Redshank ~ Abundant around the Ythan|
As is the norm the Ythan was awash with waders during my Friday 24th visit, hundreds or even thousands of Redshank, double-figure Greenshank and I managed my first Curlew Sandpiper of the year during my stop at the Waulkmill Hide.
|Peregrine Falcon from the Snub lay-by|
In the end, I recorded fifteen species of wader with some huge flocks of Golden Plover and with this many waders to choose from the above Peregrine was never far away!
|Two Pectoral Sandpipers on Starnafin Pools, Strathbeg during my visit on the 16th.|
Two trips to RSPB Strathbeg the first of which was on the 16th, mainly to catch up with the Pectoral Sandpipers. A quite remarkable three on one day at one stage but just two during my visit. While here I dropped onto a Whinchat, a decent Aberdeenshire tick along with three Stonechat while walking the farmland birds track. I also noted some early Pink-footed Geese fifteen in total which had obviously braved the southeasterlies.
|A good few Common Darters at Strathbeg|
Also of note during my visit (2) Snipe, (3) Greenshank, (2) Ruff, (5) Curlew, (8) Dunlin, Blackcap, Water Rail and number of Common Darters along with Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell.
|One of two Grey Plover at RSBP Strathbeg|
The highlights of my short visit on the 21st were my first two Grey Plovers of the year, not that regular up here in the northeast, Little Stint and just a single Pectoral Sandpiper today.