Thursday, April 11, 2024

πŸ“– 🏴󠁧󠁒󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 North Aberdeenshire 10/04/24

I took advantage of a break in the weather and started my day early, as there was no rain expected until this afternoon. I arrived at Portsoy Harbour just before 7am, where I noticed that the wind had died down and there was only a slight swell on the sea. The relatively clear skies were perfect for scanning the area for White-billed Divers, which are a common sight along this part of the coast during spring.

Long-tailed Ducks

I observed a group of five Long-tailed Ducks and a single Red-throated Diver below. There were plenty of Guillemot and Razorbill moving back and forth, and further out, I noted Gannet, Fulmar, and Kittiwake. Though I didn't spot any White-billed Divers on the sea, I was eventually rewarded when a single bird flew east past the harbour. I followed the bird through the scope, its bill catching the low morning sun on occasions and had some decent views until it disappeared to the east.

Red-throated Diver

After visiting Portsoy, I took a drive along the coast to Fraserburgh where I had breakfast, parking opposite the Home Bargains store, which can be a good spot for observing white-winged gulls. The tide was low and though I scanned the gulls, I didn't find anything unusual. However, I did spot a few waders including a group of eight Ringed Plover, as well as DunlinCurlew, Turnstone, Redshank and Oystercatcher.

I visited RSPB Loch of Strathbeg next, and since it was a pleasant morning, I spent an hour at the bench overlooking Starnafin Pools. A couple of Greenshank, along with a Little Egret, and a good selection of wildfowl, including Gadwall, Shoveler, Wigeon, Shelduck, and Teal. I also spotted the regular Green-winged Teal, but before I could take a picture, a couple appeared, walked straight to the fence in front of me, and flushed the birds. The Green-winged Teal was last seen flying over to low ground. 😑


From the bench, I booted up & walked to the Dunbar hide around the farmland track. Corn Bunting, Tree Sparrow, Reed Bunting, Chiffchaff, and Yellowhammer, with a few Sand Martins that had just started to appear. When I arrived at the Dubar Hide, I saw the bird-flushing couple who were getting very excited and taking lots of pictures of what they thought was a 'Great White Egret.' However, it was actually a Little Egret, and I didn't have the heart to tell them otherwise. A large flock of Black-tailed Godwit, which I estimate to be about 100 in number were feeding just out in front looking stunning in their smart summer plumage. Further out around 500 Golden Plovers were spooked by a passing Marsh Harrier, and a pair of Pintails were another highlight. Back at the centre before heading off a real Great White Egret was noted, although distant. I did scan the many distant Pink-footed Geese feeding on the fields but no sign of any white geese, a Snow Goose seen by Mark Sullivan a few days earlier. 

Sandwich Tern

Finally, a stop at Inch Point in Newburgh overlooking the Ythan, the tide now in, produced my first Sandwich Terns of the year with three in total, a lone Common Scoter, two Long-tailed Duck and of course the wonderful Eiders, a good end to a long day.