Friday, March 31, 2023

📖 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 ~ Spring Migration ~ 31/03/2023

A day out with the Aberdeenshire RSPB Local Group on Sunday 26th and a visit out of county to Angus and Forfar Loch with 26 members in attendance. A creditable 42 species were noted. After lunch, half of the group headed off to Monikie Country Park. A full report of the trip can be found HERE the highlights for me were displaying Great Crested Grebes, sadly only one site left now in Aberdeenshire where these charismatic grebes can be found, Osprey, Chiffchaff, (2) Little Gulls, and (5) Lesser Black-backed Gulls amazingly a species which only returns north in the spring to breed.

A likely new arrival Lesser Black-backed Gull

Closer to home an afternoon visit to Dalmadilly Ponds on the 28th to begin this year's search for spring arrivals. I wasn't too convinced after yesterdays dusting of snow that I'd be in luck but two singing Chiffchaffs brightened the visit but I still await the first hirundines of the year. Having been in Norfolk last week I have to remind myself that spring begins much later up here in northeast Scotland! 

Greenland White-fronted Goose at Dalmadilly on the 28th

Outward bound were (11) Whooper Swans heading north and just as I was about to depart a Greenland White-fronted Goose dropped onto the east pond along with (5) Greylags. Although I can't be certain I'm pretty sure this bird spent a few days around Dalmadilly during the same few weeks last year.

Ross's Gull from February 2022

On the 30th I took a drive over to Kinnaird Head to catch up with a rare Ross's Gull that's being seen regularly offshore from the foghorn. I'd managed some excellent views last February of the same species and amazingly from the exact spot. It was a lovely start to the day and I spent an hour or so tucked away on the rocks just below the lighthouse watching both Meadow Pipits and Rock Pipits displaying. 

A Rock Pipit takes a breather from its display flying!

The light wasn't particularly good today with a light mist over the sea but I eventually managed a scoped view of the bird. I was quite lucky actually as the bird flew directly through my scope while I scanned the sea and after a few dips onto the sea headed southeast and out of sight, still it was job done! A bonus was my first Swallow of the year over the lighthouse, can't remember the last time I saw a Swallow before a Sand Martin in any spring!

With the warm sun now burning off the mist a Gannet passes my obs point 

Along the coastline, numbers are beginning to build now as we head into spring with lots of Auks on the water and good numbers of Kittiwake heading through. Gannets are back and of course, it remains to be seen how devastating avian flu had on the colony at Troup Head just along the coast from here.