🏴 Thursday 21st September 2023 🌤️ 💨 18C ~ Wind SW @ 25MPH ~ I arrived at Cransdale Car Park in Collieston at approximately 9:45 a.m. to meet David Leslie, the chairman of our local RSPB group. Our intention was to explore the surrounding area for a few hours, hoping to spot some autumn migrants. Despite the dry weather, the stiff southwesterly breeze made the conditions quite challenging. The wind was strong enough to whip up a considerable amount of sea foam, which floated over some parked cars just as I arrived!
As we were ascending the hill towards the parish church, a Wheatear suddenly appeared and flew over the nearby scrubland. Along the way, at least four Stonechats, including an adult male and three juveniles. Additionally, several Meadow Pipits and Goldfinches were noted along the route. David then caught sight of an adult male Common Redstart which perched briefly on rocks before disappearing into the willows at the churchyard, we never did manage to relocate.
|A single Curlew Sandpiper feeding just below the car park.|
A circular walk up to Forvie around the sand loch and back to the car park in strong winds made birding very challenging with nothing of any great interest to report so we decided against a sea watch and instead headed over to the 'Snub' car park for a look over the Ythan. Here, as per usual a good selection of waders with several Whimbrel among the Curlews and a single Curlew Sandpiper. Also of note before calling it a day: (2) Little Egret, (11) Black-tailed Godwit, (11) Greenshank, (4) Bar-tailed Godwits and various numbers of Dunlin, Redshank, Ringed Plover and Lapwing.
|A selection of Barnacle Geese from several skeins heading south today.|
The sea was pretty quiet with just a few Manx Shearwaters and an Arctic Skua of note but it was good to see several large skeins of Barnacle Geese, maybe 2/300 in total. These were likely from the Svalbard population heading down to the Solway Firth for the winter.
|Juvenile Black Tern along the southern breakwater at Girdleness.|
Due to the numbers, it was decided to split the group into two. My particular group took a circular walk along the shoreline below Greyhope Road and then after meeting back up over lunch, some of the members headed over to Nigg Bay. A selection of waders included Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Knot, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Redshank and Curlew. As we were observing a group of terns along the southern breakwater a Black Tern dropped in. Up against a nearby Sandwich Tern, the size difference between the two was quite noticeable. As we reached the harbour entrance three Common Sandpipers were feeding along the shoreline. There are still plenty of Swallows, along with the occasional House Martin moving through and juvenile Common Terns, Arctic Terns and Sandwich Terns were all noted today.
A half dozen Red-throated Divers were also seen today including the above almost summer plumage bird within the harbour walls. To be honest, it was a very quiet outing overall with no passerines of note, the highlight of the day for me was the juvenile Black Tern along the southern breakwater and of course the excellent company.