🏴 Friday 6th January 2023 ☀️ 8C ~ Wind W @ 12MPH ~ Of course up here in the northeast of Scotland at this time of year we are still barely getting 7hrs of daylight and today I watched the moonset across the Bennachie range from the kitchen window at dawn and the moonrise from RSPB Strathbeg at dusk!
|Moonset over Bennachie from the kitchen window at dawn ~ iPhone|
Today a morning visit to Cairnbulg and Inverallochy for a few year ticks before spending the rest of the afternoon at RSPB Loch of Strathbeg.
|A year first Purple Sandpiper at Cairnbulg|
Although a little breezy the light was excellent for photography, particularly waders. I spent a little time searching the many gulls flying against the crashing waves at Cairnbulg but frankly, there were so many I wasn't surprised to draw a blank on any white wingers. I managed a couple of ticks with a half dozen Rock Pipits feeding in the shallows along the seaweed and a couple of Purple Sandpipers along the rocks before I headed to Inverallochy.
|A locally breeding Shag on the rocks at Inverallochy|
Here I had a walk along the golf course and down to the beach but spent most of my time photographing the Shags and waders along the shoreline.
|A single Grey Plover poses between Purple Sandpipers and Golden Plovers|
There was a good mixture with a single Grey Plover along with various counts of Golden Plover, Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Turnstone and Oystercatcher.
|A selection of waders at Inverallochy|
During my drive over to Strathbeg, a report came through of two Russian White-fronted Geese in a field just east of the B9033 feeding with Pink-footed Geese. I did find the field and spent a good half hour searching the large flock and if indeed the white fronts were still there I certainly couldn't find them.
After my search, I took the back road to the Strathbeg centre stopping near Crimond graveyard, a great place to find Corn Buntings. Normally they can be found singing on the wires of the surrounding electric pylons and I located four birds fairly quickly.
I spent the remainder of my day at Strathbeg, beginning with a walk to the Tower Pool and Dunbar hides, taking the farmland bird route. As usual the wonderful sight of 1000s of wildfowl from the hides, which included many Wigeon, Teal, Pink-footed Geese and Whooper Swans, along with some circa 800 Lapwing and two Little Egret. A single Marsh Harrier was also noted, plus three Buzzard and I did spend a considerable amount of time searching the many swans for the single juvenile Bewick Swan reported several times recently but to no avail.
|A healthy Tree Sparrow colony at Strathbeg|
Back at the centre, plenty of Tree Sparrows on the feeders and a look over a very quiet Stranafin Pool from the bench area produced my final bird of the day, when a Great White Egret flew into trees to the northeast, likely going to roost!