Wednesday, June 14, 2023

πŸ“– 🏴󠁧󠁒󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 King Eider 14/06/2023

🏴󠁧󠁒󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Wednesday 14th June 2023 ☀️ 21C ~ Wind SSW @ 8MPH ~ Today, Just 30 minutes from home, I went on a short excursion to the Ythan River's estuary to catch a glimpse of a King Eider.

Sleeping Beauty ~ Drake King Eider

For years, the Ythan has been a popular spot for King Eider sightings during spring and early summer. One particular bird, known as Elvis, has become famous both locally and beyond. However, the consensus among local birders is that the current visitor is a 2nd-summer Drake and not Elvis. Many are wondering if the beloved bird has finally 'left the building'.

Drake King Eider ~ A new bird for the Ythan.

It didn't take too long to find the bird today, but most of the Eiders were sound asleep. However, I was fortunate enough to witness him waking up for a brief period, after what felt like an eternity but he soon dropped off back to where Eiders go in their dreams😴, gorgeous bird!

A photo-bombing Goosander!

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

πŸ“– 🏴󠁧󠁒󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Muir of Dinnet NNR 13/06/2023

🏴󠁧󠁒󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Tuesday 13th June 2023 ☀️ 26C ~ Wind SSE @ 5MPH ~ I am happy to report that the continuous northeasterly winds have finally subsided after weeks of cold spring weather. The shift in wind direction towards the south and the presence of a high-pressure system has provided an ideal environment for butterflies. Hence, a trip to Muir of Dinnet NNR. 

Pearl-bordered Fritillary ~ One of the first of the fritillaries to emerge!

During my visit, I was fortunate to record both Pearl-bordered Fritillaries and Small Pearl-border Fritillaries in flight. The Pearl-bordered fritillaries, one of the first fritillaries to emerge, are active from early May until mid-June, while the Small pearl-bordered fritillaries have a slightly later season. However, there is a brief overlap period where both species can be observed.

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary ~ Just 2 recorded today.

I recorded in the region of 20 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, which with the warm and perfect flying conditions (26C) rarely settled. Just two Small-pearl Bordered today, but much happier to pose for a while for photographs. 

Double-figure Four-spotted Chaser

While the boardwalk over the raised bog area was slightly lacking in water in some areas, there was an abundance of it around the bridge. The main highlight here, however, was the Four-spotted Chaser dragonflies, which were in the double digits. Also noted were various numbers of Common Blue and Large Red Damselflies

Just a single Green Tiger Beetle was noted today.

When I've completed the boardwalk, I always keep a lookout for Green Tiger Beetles. Luckily, today I was able to spot one lone specimen. I absolutely adore these little creatures.

Young Tree Pipit awaiting a snack.

Today, while I wasn't specifically birdwatching, I enjoyed watching a family of Tree Pipits, a Meadow Pipit caring for their young on the boardwalk bridge, and hearing Garden Warbler and Common Redstart (even though I couldn't spot the latter two). I also came across a few other interesting creatures, including a Common Shrew, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood Butterflies.

Other Images of the Day...

Meadow Pipit about to feed young.

Tree Pipet in song.

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Saturday, June 10, 2023

πŸ“– 🏴󠁧󠁒󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 White-crowned Sparrow 10/06/2023

I've been on several outings since my last post on June 5th. The following day June 6th, I visited Meikle Loch in the afternoon. Then on the 8th, an RSPB Local Group outing to Benneachie. The week ended with a mega rarity sighting at Girdleness on Saturday the 10th.

Record image of Pectoral Sandpiper at Meikle Loch

On June 6th I received news about a Pectoral Sandpiper being spotted on Meikle Loch, so I decided to head over in the early afternoon. Although the weather conditions were not ideal for photography, I was able to locate the bird and capture a few images for my records. Additionally, a Timminck's Stint and a handsome male Ruff were also noted during the visit.

Spotted Flycatcher at Bennechie

On Thursday, June 8th, I joined the RSPB Aberdeen Local Group on their outing to Bennachie, which is conveniently located just a few miles from home. You can find a detailed account of the outing on the group's website HERE. Personally, my highlight of the day was observing a Spotted Flycatcher diligently caring for its young.

White-crowned Sparrow ~ Possibly the first mainland sighting for Scotland?

The surprise of the week came on the afternoon of Saturday the 10th when remarkably a White-crowned Sparrow, a native of North America, was seen singing at Girdleness! Having first been seen briefly in the early morning the bird was relocated later in the afternoon. It took me around 40 minutes to arrive at Girdleness and on arrival, I found around a dozen or so birders checking out the local allotments on Greyhope Road. 

White-crowned Sparrow ~ On top of a shed within the allotments

Although seen and photographed on fencing in the allotments there had been no further sign when I arrived. I'm happy to say that after an hour or so later the bird suddenly appeared at the top of an apple tree, once again singing! A most unexpected UK first for me and I'm led to believe a first for the Scottish mainland!

BUBO Listing
NEW Scottish Life List Since Relocating Permanently to Aberdeenshire in October 2020

Monday, June 05, 2023

πŸ“– 🏴󠁧󠁒󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Ythan Estuary ~ 31/05/2023

🏴󠁧󠁒󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Wednesday 31st May 2023 ☁️ 8C ~ Wind NE @ 3MPH ~ Unfortunately, I haven't had many opportunities for birding since returning from Aviemore last month. Nonetheless, I plan to make a concerted effort to do so once things settle down.

Six of ten Black-tailed Godwits from Inch Point on a gloomy morning.

On May 31st, I did manage to spend a morning exploring the Ythan Estuary. A high-pressure system has recently controlled the weather, resulting in glorious conditions throughout most of the country but here on the northeast coast high pressure usually means cloud. Recently, there has been a consistent occurrence of cloud cover during the late afternoon that continues into the late morning. The mornings have been quite chilly, with temperatures in the daytime not exceeding 18C.

Little Stint from Inch Point

As the tide rolled in, I made my way to Inch Point. I was delighted to spot a healthy population of Ringed Plovers, double-figure Dunlin, and even a few Sanderlings. Additionally, I also noted ten Black-tailed Godwits and a lone Little Stint.

Osprey ~ Fishing over the Ythan.

I went for a walk at Newburgh, down to the estuary mouth and back to the 'Tin Hut'. While walking, I came across many Common Eiders, including some with their young. I also saw around 20 Goosanders and the usual abundance of Grey Seals in the area. However, despite reports of a King Eider sighting, supposedly a different drake than the one that usually visits in the spring, I was unable to spot him.

Two Arctic Terns take a breather from fishing

At the ternary, I observed a high level of activity with the presence of all four regular tern species. While the majority comprised Sandwich Terns and Arctic Terns, I was able to spot a few Common Terns and a handful of Little Terns by the time I departed.

A trio of Avocets ~ Quite the rarity for Aberdeenshire!

When I got back to the parking, I had news that three Avocets had been seen at the Waulkmill Hide. It only took me five minutes to drive there and I was lucky enough to witness all three, which is a rare occurrence in northeast Scotland.

I wish the lighting was better, more pictures from the visit!

Avocets take flight as another Osprey passes overhead ~ soon returning to feed.

Little Tern

Sandwich Tern

Common Tern

Common Tern

An Osprey sets the many waders off (mostly Ringed Plover

Sandwich Tern

Arctic & Sandwich Terns resting up!

Smart looking Dunlin ~ From the 'Tin Hut'

An ever-inquisitive Grey Seal