Another new year and the first days of January have been busy on the birding front with visits to the Ythan Estuary with the Aberdeenshire RSPB Local Group on the 2nd and two local walks on the 4th at Dalmadilly Ponds and the River Don, south-west of the village.
|Golden Plover on the Ythan ~ Sadly this one has a damaged left leg!
With a high tide predicted the group met on Monday the 2nd at the Waterside carpark and headed downstream towards the ternary. It was a gorgeous day to get the new year list off the ground with cloudless skies and a balmy 1C. Plenty of waders to be found along the shoreline including Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Curlew, Sanderling, Redshank and a single Grey Plover in flight.
|A few of the thirty or so Twite near the ternary.
As we reached the ternary, which is accessible in the winter, we located a decent flock of wintering Twite, along with the odd Linnet mixed in. The walk back to the carpark along the beach was pretty quiet for birds, a bank holiday here and lots of folks taking advantage of the glorious weather, but a single Red-throated Diver and two Red-breasted Merganser at sea, a couple of Porpoise and the bonus of three Snow Buntings flying low over the shoreline.
|Always great to see the Eiders along the Ythan
An excellent day with 47 species and with a stop at the Snub layby before heading off to check out more of the Ythan, an addition of Greenshank to the day list.
|Today's track Dalmadilly Ponds ~ MapMyWalk
My first visit of the year to Dalmadilly Ponds was on the 4th and with both pools frozen it was a quieter visit than normal. However, there were still (11) Common Gulls and (2) Herring Gulls on the ice. I paid particular attention to the peripheral of the pools today where I came across six Common Snipe and a single Jack Snipe, which, unlike the noisy departure of the others, left silently and dropped back in rather quickly.
|One of three Bullfinch ~ 2 male and one female.
The surrounding trees and vegetation produced of note no less than (6) Goldcrest, (2) Treecreeper, (3) Bullfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker and a flock of circa 30 Siskin. From the viewpoint which looks down onto The River Don, which was running above normal, just (3) Goosanders were noted.
|1st Winter drake Goldeneye along the Don ~ Quite possibly the one noted at Dalmadilly Ponds recently.
After Dalmadilly a walk along the southwest side of the river from Kemnay Bridge to the lagoon, the surrounding marshland holding 6 Snipe. Along the river (2) Goldeneye, one a first winter drake, (4) Goosander, (2) Little Grebes and in the fields to the west the Whooper Swans, which gather here each year were now at fifty in total. Also of note circa 30 Pink-footed Geese heading west, my first Sparrowhawk of the year and in the local burn just off the river (18) Teal.