For the early part of the month, the weather stayed unsettled and blustery, along with brief periods of snow and ice but little in the way of rain. Unseasonal southerly winds have also brought milder air north on occasions raising temperatures to the dizzy heights of 12/13C on at least two days.
|One of three Smew at Fyvie Loch|
On the 7th I decided to head a little further north for a walk along the coastline at Fraserburgh and Sandhaven. On route, I made a short stop at Fyvie Loch to catch up with three long-staying Smew, all redheads! At first, all three were asleep but a single bird did have the good grace to offer up an opportunity for a few snaps during my stay.
|1st Winter Little Gull ~ Sandhaven Harbour|
Kinnaird Head at Fraserburgh is known as one of the best east coast seawatching points (as you'll note later in the post) and I spent a short while here watching a few diving Gannets before driving a little further west along the B9031. After parking up I took an enjoyable beach walk along to Sandhaven harbour. A good selection of waders but nothing unusual searching through the many Gulls until I reached the harbour itself. Here the highlight was a 1st winter Little Gull, which after a short while headed west.
I've made my usual visits to the Ythan Estuary over the period and have enjoyed several local walks. While returning from one walk in particular on the 8th a Red Kite drifted directly over the house, a welcome year tick.
|Ross's Gull One of the worlds least-known seabirds ~ Kinnaird Head, Fraserburgh.|
However, the highlight of the month thus far has to be Ross's Gull on the 8th! Thankfully I was in the right place, just north of Inverurie when the news broke and it was pedal to the metal. I needn't have rushed as the bird stayed for the rest of the afternoon and although never came too close to shore offered excellent scoped views and the odd photographic opportunity. This particular species (a lifer for me) was high on my 'Must See' list when moving up here to northeast Scotland and I'm delighted to have seen one so soon after my move. I spent a good 90-minutes fascinated by this beautiful small Gull of the far north! Thankfully as I post the bird is still making an appearance from time to time in the same vicinity, offering the chance for more birders to enjoy its delights.
More Images of the week so far...
|Ross's Gull ~ showing the salmony pink colouration|
|Ross's Gull ~ Often hover briefly and paddle feet in the water.|
|Ross's Gull ~ Was considered almost mythical by North American birders until 1980, when it began nesting for several years in Manitoba.|
|Another image of Little Gull at Sandhaven|
|Oystercatchers along my beach walk|