After a period of unsettled but relatively mediocre weather in the first half of the month, the second can only be described as dramatic! Shortly after my last post on the 14th the first of three named storms were announced, storm Dudley. Incredibly this was followed shortly after and in the same week by two more named storms Unice and Franklin which both produced record wind speeds, widespread damage and major flooding. Thankfully and unlike the storms of January up here in Aberdeenshire we escaped lightly with most of the damaging winds limited to the central belt, northwest Scotland and southwest England.
My birding time has been a little curtailed in the latter part of the month, mainly due to other commitments and several snow days but I've still managed a few local walks and odd outings with Dazza.
|Snowdrops cover the ground around the nearby Fetternear Woods.|
Spring arrives a little later up here but there are many signs that nature is waking up. The local woodland at Fetternear now has washes of Snow Drops and the garden is beginning to come alive too with Crocus and Daffodils beginning to appear.
|Iceland Gull ~ Ugie Estuary|
On the 23rd I had an enjoyable morning and early afternoon out with the RSPB Aberdeenshire & District Local Group walking the Ugie Estuary to Peterhead. The highlights here were a couple of Iceland Gulls a selection of Waders (Dunlin, Sanderling, Turnstone, Snipe, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Curlew & Oystercatcher), plus several Purple Sandpipers. The final stop at Peterhead Marina, now in the heavy rain, produced a couple of Great Northern and Red-throated Divers before I finally succumbed.
|Greenshank along the Ythan ~ At least a half dozen are here throughout the winter months.|
A stop off on the way home at the 'Snub' layby which overlooks the Ythan Estuary produced many Curlew & Redshank, circa 1000 Golden Plover, most now entering into summer plumage, at least thirty or so Bar-tailed Godwit and a couple of wintering Greenshank.
|Green-winged Teal ~ Starnafin Pools, Strathbeg|
On Friday 25th I finally caught up with the Green-winged Teal at RSPB Loch of Strathbeg, after two previous failed attempts! Thankfully the bird was showing very well among the Eurasians on Starnafin Pools.
|Waxwing ~ Few & far between since moving to Aberdeenshire in 2020 (known as a hotspot for these charismatic winter visitors) but today was my day!|
|This 1st Winter Little Gull still frequenting Sandhaven Harbour on 15th|
|More Brambling at Fetternear while out with Dazza on the 19th|
|Dipper out gathering nest material on the River Dee at Dinnet today!|
|2nd Iceland Gull of the day on the 23rd at Peterhead|
|Hybrid Hooded Crow at Dalmadilly Ponds|
|Red Squirrel acrobatics!|
|Purple Sandpipers at Peterhead harbour|
|Waxwing from today|
|Waxwing from today|