🏴 Monday 6th February 2023 🌤 8C ~ Wind Variable @ 1MPH ~An enjoyable visit to RSPB Loch of Strathbeg in glorious springlike conditions and then on to Scotstown and Buchanhaven.
|Tree Sparrows at Strathbeg
I arrived at Strathbeg around 10:30am and as is my routine had a quick coffee while enjoying the many Tree Sparrows that reside around the centre. A look over Starnafin Pools and in particular the large gull population which failed to yield anything out of the ordinary. A Skylark singing overhead and the usual selection of Teal, Wigeon, (3) Shelduck and a single Little Egret (4 in total today) before I headed off to the Dunbar Hide.
Before I settled into the hide a Water Rail suddenly took flight as I approached the boardwalk, a nice year tick, to begin with. There were plenty of Wigeon and several families of Whooper Swans plus a single drake Pintail and many Teal to search through in the hope of finding a reported Green-winged Teal, which I dipped on!
|Marsh Harrier from the Dunbar Hide
A little further out descent numbers of Curlew, Dunlin, Lapwing and circa 300 Golden Plover, which were occasionally spooked by a Marsh Harrier. Likely one of last year's juveniles who has decided to winter here. However a bird high on my list today was the elusive long-staying juvenile Bewicks Swan, which I failed to connect with on two previous visits.
|At a distance the best I could manage on the Canon of the juvenile Bewick Swan
Today was 3rd-time lucky when I noticed a lone Swan way at the back of the pools. It kept disappearing into the reedbeds but I was confident this was the bird, in the scope a smaller bird with a smaller rounded head and the patch on the bill not extending beyond the nostrils. I was delighted when Mark Sullivan arrived, always best to get a second opinion who, once on the bird, left no doubt this was indeed the Bewick Swan!
|Eurasian White-fronted Goose at St Fergus.
Mark had mentioned a Eurasian White-fronted Goose he'd come across with a Pink-footed flock in a field North of Scotstown beach road, St Fergus and a Black Redstart at Buchanhaven, both on my route home. Although it was getting quite late in the day thankfully the goose was still there when I arrived and after a few record shots, I headed off to Buchanhaven where the Black Redstart obliged by perching on the roof of one of the dwellings, just long enough for a photo, a great end to an excellent day.