🏴 Friday 20th January 2023 🌤 3C ~ Wind NW @ 5MPH ~ I had intended to travel a little further north today along the Aberdeenshire coast but with most of the back roads like sheet ice, I decided to take the main 'A' roads across to Newburgh and the Ythan instead. Even the route out of the village to Kintore was treacherous but I made it down to the A92 unscathed!
|Eider Duck ~ An icon of the Ythan|
I parked at the Waterside Bridge Car park and from there I took a circular route from the Ythan anticlockwise, heading back along the beach. With the tide in there were only a few waders feeding along the water line: Sanderling, Turnstone, Redshank, Oystercatcher and Dunlin. At this time of year, the Eider Duck is already beginning to display and it's always a treat to hear their cooing display call echoing around the estuary. Not much movement overhead today, just a small passage of Skylark, (4) in total before I reached the beach.
The usual flock of thirty or so Twite were around the ternary, although as usual very flighty. I spent a while here trying to search out a small flock of Grey Partridge reported recently here but to no avail. However, I did manage to capture a shot of three Snow Buntings as they flew by.
|Some of the 21 Grey Plovers seen along the shoreline today.|
The return walk along the beach provided the best spectacle of the day with an unprecedented (21) Grey Plovers along the shoreline. I think my previous best count was three! In the foreground was a colour-ringed Knot but unfortunately, the flock moved off before I had a chance to attempt any better images, several Ringed Plovers were also noted.
|One of a group of (18) Curlew|
With little wind, the sea was pretty calm today and indeed quiet, with the exception of the odd Seal which would come up occasionally for a nose. In fact, the walk back from the shore was particularly quiet, best was a group of (18) Curlew, which had discovered an area of unfrozen pasture, plus three Fieldfare and a Redwing. I left the best until last with a Merlin perched on the roadside fence as I drove around to Meikle Loch which produced the usual wildfowl, my first two Stonechats of the year but nothing unusual during the briefest of visits.