|Red-necked Grebe ~ A record shot in dire conditions at Sand Loch Forvie NNR on January 3rd.
|Green-winged Teal at Cotehill Loch ~ Thanks to Mark Sullivan for the image.
My year started off well by adding Firecrest at Drumoak, a rare species to Aberdeenshire and Short-eared Owls at Kings Links golf course in Aberdeen during a day out with my wife Dazza on the 2nd. I've also managed several local outings since including Cotehill Loch Collieston where I recorded Green-winged Teal and the the Sand Loch at Forvie for a Red-necked Grebe.
|Drake Long-tailed Duck ~ At least 10 birds sheltering within the harbour walls at Cairnbulg.
On January 5th I stopped off on route to Strathbeg at Cruden Bay Harbour where a Meditteranean Gull had been reported and connected immediately as the bird flew along the shoreline on the opposite bank. I reached Strathbeg a short time later in torrential rain, taking cover in the visitor centre where I was able to view the many wintering Whooper Swans, also noted while here Tree Sparrows and of course Pink-footed Geese. My final stop was at Cainbulg Harbour, still in the pouring rain but from the car Common Scoter and the usual good numbers of Long-tailed Duck.
|Grey Seal haulout at Forvie Sands
|A deceased Minke Whale on Forvie Sands ~ David gives a perspective of size!
David Leslie and I had an enjoyable day out on the 10th, taking a circular walk along the Ythan Estuary and Forvie Beach. We spotted a variety of wader species, including three Grey Plovers which are a rare sight in this area, but their frequency seems to be on the rise. The highlight of the visit was witnessing a ringtail Hen Harrier being harassed by the local corvids.
A few walks around my local village sites of Dalmadilly Ponds and Fetternear Woodlands, the latter producing a nice surprise when I came across a group of 13 Hawfinches. We did manage Hawfinch during an RSPB walk I guided back in November but I imagined those birds were just passing through, obviously not the case. Indeed, during a visit yesterday, the flock has now increased exponentially with 49 birds reported by other birders on site. Worth a mention too is a large flock of around 100 Brambling, regular here most winters feeding off the mast of the many Beech Trees at Fetternear.
At home, the garden feeders have been busy with the huge House Sparrow population that resides here being constantly usurped by some very fiesty Siskin. Lesser Redpoll are also regular visitors and on the 8th a brief visit from a Mealy/Common Redpoll, which unfortunately didn't stay long.
|Greenland White-fronted Goose on the fields at Kemnay January 12th ~ 102 for the year.
As of January 12th, my species count stands at 102, an excellent start to my birding year and all within my home county of Aberdeenshire/Aberdeen.