On the night of Friday 18th August, Storm Betty swept through the UK and eventually, reached northeast Scotland in the early hours of Saturday, bringing with it heavy rainfall and strong winds. As a result, it was expected that by morning, the avid birdwatchers of Aberdeenshire would be out in search of any migrant birds that may have been brought down by the storm.
Reports of Pied Flycatchers, Spotted Flycatchers, Red-backed Shrikes, Wrynecks and even an Icterine Warbler at Girdleess. Unfortunately, the earliest I could get out and about was on Sunday morning and with clear skies overnight Saturday I wasn't feeling confident. The best I managed was a single Pied Flycatcher at Girdleness, with as expected most species continuing their migration overnight.
|Wryneck at Milton Haven
However, a few migrants did hang around and on Tuesday 22nd I managed to catch up with a Wryneck at Milton Haven Caravan Park near St. Cyrus. The bird did prove a little elusive during my stay but eventually showed quite well, even though the best photograph I managed was the one above!
|Double-figure Greenshank along the Ythan during a day out with the RSPB Local Group
🏴 Wednesday 23rd August 2023 ☀️ 16C ~ Wind S @ 3MPH ~ A really excellent day out with the RSPB Aberdeen and District Local Group along the Ythan Estuary. A great selection of waders during our visit which included among others Spotted Redshank, Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwit, Sanderling, many Ringed Plover and double-figure Greenshank. During our lunch break at the Snub car park, we were delighted to see a couple of Ospreys. One of them was practising its diving skills, while the other was displaying its wading skills. It was a fascinating experience to witness. Also of note during lunch a Marsh Harrier briefly.
|An Arctic Skua tries to encourage this Sandwich Tern to part with his lunch!
However, the most memorable part of the day for some was observing a pair of Arctic Skuas harassing the numerous Arctic, Common and Sandwich Terns that gather at the Ythan mouth during this time of year. It also offered me an opportunity to take many flight shots of these encounters, a selection of which is below.