April 2020 Sightings

The last of the Daily Garden Birdwatch reports from Dunfermline comprised one Lesser Black-backed Gull, three Herring Gulls, two Carrion Crows, four Woodpigeons, three House Sparrows, one Magpie and two Starlings. In a very different part of the Kingdom, two Snow Buntings were in a field west of Anstruther while in Kirkcaldy two drake Goosanders turned up on the Beveridge Park pond while (2nd), a Kingfisher was at its customary haunt at Raith Pond (3rd) and a pair of Stonechats were at Seafield (4th). Two Crossbills were at Gale Slap Plantation and a walk west of Balmullo produced at least four Chiffchaffs, a Raven going north, at least eight Skylarks, seven Yellowhammers, four Bullfinches, four Tree Sparrows, two Grey Partridges, a Reed Bunting, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and six Linnets. An excursion from Kirkforthar to Balbirnie yielded 12 Fieldfares, one Peregrine, an unusual total of ten Great Spotted Woodpeckers and two Siskins. A report from Kilminning included two Ravens, 20 Greylags (north), three  Chiffchaffs and two Blackcaps while two Sandwich Terns were noted at Kingsbarns. A busy day continued with sightings over Dunfermline which included 16 Whooper Swans, an Osprey flying north, five Meadow Pipits, five Canada Geese a Peregrine and also nine Waxwings (5th), with eight of this species seen there again the next day. Hirundine reports became more frequent throughout the month starting with three House Martins at Auchtermuchty, a Swallow at Cellardyke and another over St Andrews where there were also four Meadow Pipits, a Raven, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Chiffchaffs and two Skylarks. In Kirkcaldy, a couple of Swallows flew over as well as seven Whooper Swans whilst a Wheatear turned up in a ploughed field. At least three Sand Martins were at Newburgh where 22 Whooper Swans and an Osprey flew north. Two Dippers and a Grey Wagtail were at Riverside Park in Glenrothes and a Green Woodpecker was at Bathmoor Plantation. A Red-throated Diver and three Long-tailed Ducks were off Pathhead (6th). Pink-footed Geese counts were 30 seen over Auchtermuchty, 70 over Dunfermline then 120+ over Ravenscraig inKirkcaldy, while 22 were counted over Balmullo where there were also two Ravens. Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were being reported on a regular basis and, to complement these, a Willow Warbler was seen at Wormit. An Osprey was seen north over Kirkcaldy, followed by another 15 minutes later whilst one was also reported over the Binnin Burntisland. A Black-throated Diver flew east at Cellardyke and seven Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk were noted at Dunfermline (7th).

Pink-footed Geese continued to be seen flying north on a regular basis starting with skeins of c80 then 49 over Wormit, c100 over Dalgety Bay, c150+ over Dunfermline and 60 over Auchtermuchty. A male Black Redstart graced the Coastal Path at St. Andrews and a Willow Warbler was noted at Dunfermline. A Greenshank and two Little Egrets were at Eden Estuary LNR and a Spotted Redshank was at Guardbridge. Pitmedden Forest held one Green Woodpecker and Magus Muir hosted a pair of Willow Warblers while a pair of Grey Wagtails and at least ten Chiffchaffs were at Crossford’s Dean Plantation then sightings at Seafield included 27 Redshanks, nine Oystercatchers, six Turnstones, a Ringed Plover, and a Stonechat (8th). Small parties of Sand Martins (c130) and Swallows (c35) were moving steadily north over The Wilderness, a Black-throated Diver flew over Anstruther and a Whimbrel was at Kenly Water in Boarhills. A list from the Ladybank to Charlottetown area included two Grey Partridges, 18 singing Skylarks, 12 Chiffchaffs, and six Yellowhammers. Pink-footed Geese continued their journey north, with skeins of 62 over Ladybank and 400+ over Dunfermline (9th) then 30 over the town the next day followed by two groups of 100 (as well as a Tree Pipit north) whilst a party of 38 flew over Wormit. Ospreys were also still on the move with reports comprising two over Grange of Lindores and a single over Kirkcaldy whilst a lone bird was circling low over Bathmoor Plantation (10th) and one was on a post at Guardbridge (where there were also five Little Egrets) then another Osprey was over Kirkcaldy, one was high over Dunfermline and one was flying north betweenAnstruther and Pittenweem. Pink-footed Geese movements continued with 80 then 105 north over Dunfermline. A report from Kilrenny Mill comprised ten Whooper Swans north, one White Wagtail and a Wheatear with a separate report of two of this species between Kilrenny and Crail where there was also a flock of 40+ Twite, a Stonechat and two Shelducks. At East Sands, St. Andrews there were two Black-throated Divers, one Red-throated Diver, a Greenshank, a Knot, 32 Turnstones, 27 Razorbills and three Guillemots (11th). Further offshore sightings were a Black Guillemot and three Red-throated Divers off Anstruther Harbour then c40 Common Scoters off Kirkcaldy’s promenade (12th) followed by six Velvet Scoters and five Long-tailed Ducks off Pathhead. A lucky observer was attending a work call on the A92 when a Spoonbill was seen between the Kirkcaldy and Lochgelly junctions. Kilrenny Mill hosted 13 Sandwich Terns, five White Wagtails and a Wheatear. There weren’t many reports from freshwater sites this month so it was a refreshing to note 11 Goldeneyes, a pair of Gadwalls and 12 Shovelers at The Wilderness where there was also a mixed flock of c40 Swallows and Sand Martins (13th). Single Ospreys were seen over Wormit Bay and Ladybank then the Black Guillemot was spied again just off Anstruther’s East Pier (14th).

Incoming Wheatears continued to be reported with a single at Dunshalt’s Plains Farm and three north of Dunfermline’sBaldridge Estate. At least 15 Willow Warblers were singing/calling at Star Moss, a Common Sandpiper was seen on the side of the River Leven at Methil and the Velvet Scoters at Pathhead increased to nine and were accompanied by a pair of Long-tailed Ducks in full summer plumage. Kilrenny Mill hosted 12 White Wagtails (15th), reducing to 11 the next day when a Whimbrel and four Wheatears were also present (16th) and the report from there the next day was five White Wagtails, two Wheatears and a more unusual first winter Iceland Gull. Guardbridge had a single Black-tailed Godwit in breeding plumage, an Osprey, one Common Sandpiper and three Little Egrets. Ten Whooper Swans flew north-west over Wormit Den (17th). Two Whimbrels flew west past Culross and two Ravens were at Cults. It had been anticipated that the reduction of fishing activity at Kirkcaldy’s Raith Lake might encourage different species to visit and, sure enough, a drake Gadwall appeared. Unspecified numbers of this species were also at Letham Pools where there were also 11 Shovelers, seven Shelducks, a Water Rail, 14 Teal and a Raven (18th). The regular reports of Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and Willow Warblers from different parts of the county were augmented by the arrival of the first Whitethroat at Auchtermuchty Common. Other firsts for the year were a Grasshopper Warbler at  Culross and a Cuckoo at Bathmoor Plantation where there was also a Woodcock and a Green Woodpecker. A Long-eared Owl at Ladybank was a good find and two Crossbills flew over St Andrews (19th). Osprey reports continued with singles flying north over Dunfermline, Balmullo then Dunfermline again. Three Wheatears arrived in Balmullo and 12 Velvet Scoters were off Pathhead (20th). Wormit claimed the first Sedge Warbler and two Cuckoos were at East Lomond. Observations at Kilrenny Mill produced one Whimbrel, three Wheatears, 50+ Linnets and a White Wagtail then a Fulmar put in an appearance over Dunfermline (21st).

Three Little Egrets were squabbling at Guardbridge where there was one Whimbrel over and a Sedge Warbler on the reeds whilst winter visitors were still around with 64 Pink-footed Geese N there, 30 Fieldfares at Craigmead and 15 Velvet Scoters at Pathhead. A Tawny Owl was calling at Dunfermline where Townhill CP hosted a Sedge Warbler, a Goosander and a Canada Goose. The Wilderness held 11 Willow Warblers and five Buzzards while species flying past Kinghorn included three Wigeon, three Common Scoters, four Whimbrel and seven Sandwich Terns (22nd). An Osprey flew over Dunfermline, a drake Shoveler was in one of the ponds at Dukes Golf Course and Kilrenny Mill hosted six Skylarks. A Tawny Owl was calling at Lochmill then a report from Valleyfield Lagoons comprised at least three Grasshopper Warblers, two Water Rails and several Snipe (23rd). A Short-eared Owl turned up near the Lighthouse at Elie Ness. A Common Sandpiper and 15 Teal were at Craigluscar Reservoir whilst two Grey Partridges and a Whitethroat were spied en route to this site. A singing Reed Warbler was a great find at Newburgh, three Wheatears were noted at Wormit and another fine discovery was a Lesser Whitethroat at the Melville Roundabout (24th). Regular reports from Kilrenny Mill continued with two White Wagtails, two Wheatears, 15 Swallows, six pairs of Grey Partridges and the first Sedge Warbler of the spring there. Six Skylarks and a Wheatear were in fields south of Crossgates while sightings of groups of hirundines included60+ (90% Swallows)at Kilconquhar Loch and a mixed group of 40-50 Swallows (the majority) and House Martins near Milton. Single Garden Warblers were heard at Kilmany Station (25th) and Kirkcaldy’s Oriel Road. Offshore sightings at Kinghorn included two Long-tailed Ducks, a Goldeneye, two Red-breasted Mergansers, 118 Gannets, 31 Common Terns, three Arctic Terns, a Puffin, one Sand Martin and two Tree Pipits with this species also being reported at Craigmead and Formonthills. Whitethroats arrived at Wormit Den,Auchtermuchty Common, and Guardbridge where there was also a Little Egret, one Peregrine, two Black-tailed Godwits, a pair of Gadwall and a Sedge Warbler with this species also seen at Calais Muir. Another Lesser Whitethroat turned up, this time in Anstruther where there was also a Redstart in a local garden (26th). Other Redstart reports were a male at Kirkcaldy’s John Smith Business Park and a female at Charlestown. At Elie Ness there were three pairs of Shelduck, a Red-throated Diver and a Red-breasted Merganser. Devilla Forest held at least ten Tree Pipits and Newburgh produced a Wheatear with a Common Sandpiper nearby at Lochmill. A report from Valleyfield Lagoons included two Red-breasted Mergansers, a Little Ringed Plover, one Whimbrel, c40 Oystercatchers, two Whitethroats, two Stock Doves and 29 Shelducks. Kilrenny Mill yielded two Whimbrels, one Common Sandpiper, three White Wagtails, two Wheatears and c150+ Common Gulls (<5% adult)( 27th). The first reported Swifts were two over Kirkcaldy and a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling at Townhill CP, 15 Velvet Scoters and ten Common Scoters lingered off Pathhead whilst 38 Common Scoters at Kinkell Braes were seen along with a female Surf Scoter E, one Black-throated Diver on the water, six Red-throated Divers, 11 Whimbrels and 45 Kittiwakes. Kilrenny Mill’s White Wagtail tally was seven and there were three Wheatears (28th). A Grasshopper Warbler and two Whitethroats were observed just north of Dunfermline’s Baldridge Estate (29th). A report from Loch Glow comprised two Ospreys, at least three Tree Pipits and a female Hen Harrier. A Manx Shearwater flew east past Anstruther, a Garden Warbler was singing in a Kilmany garden and the month closed with the last of the regular reports from Kilrenny Mill which involved two Whimbrels, four White Wagtails and three Wheatears (30th).

Information supplied courtesy of Malcolm Ware