Thursday, May 23, 2024

πŸ“– 🏴󠁧󠁒󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Collieston ~ May 23rd 2024

  🏴󠁧󠁒󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Thursday 23rd May 2024 🌧️πŸ’§ 12C ~ NE @ 5MPH ~ It was a thoroughly dreich morning, but with the sighting of a Red-spotted Bluethroat and yet another Red-backed Shrike at Collieston it was certainly worth taking the short drive over. I picked up David Leslie at around 9:15, arriving at Collieston 15 minutes later.

Red-spotted Bluethroat at Collieston in the gloom.

The birds had been reported along the backroad from Collieston to Whinnyfold, so we drove slowly and parked near the last known location. David spotted the Bluethroat first along the fence line. It was quite flighty during our stay, occasionally dropping onto the roadside and disappearing into the ditch.

Red-spotted Bluethroat a roadside view.

We watched the bird for a while and I managed to take a few more shots before continuing up the road in search of the Red-backed Shrike. We found the bird happily sitting on a fence surrounding a small copse a short time later. It was quite content to sit while I took a few photos before David and I headed off. 

Common Scoter

A quick stop at the Snub car park for a look over the Ythan produced an unexpected find, a Common Scoter but with the tide fully in we moved on for a walk around Collieston village. This was notable for the sheer number of seabirds passing north up the coast. Hundreds of Kittiwakes, Gannets and Auks passed through during our brief seawatch. 

Red-backed Shrike ~ Perced alongside a small copse.

What an amazing invasive year it has been thus far for Red-backed Shrikes, which once were a regular breeding species in the UK. They are long-distance migrants, who travel vast distances along the African-Eurasian flyway to reach their wintering grounds in sub-Saharan Africa. However, recent weather conditions have driven many across to the north of Scotland and in particular the Northeast and Shetland!