July 2020 Sightings

The month opened with a Bonxie circling over Anstruther (1st), a Crossbill flying over Crail (2nd) and a male Siskin visiting a Ladybank garden feeder (3rd). A Raven flew over Ravenscraig then a report from Eden Estuary LNR included two Ospreys, two Little Egrets and a Kingfisher (4th) with the egrets and one Osprey noted the following day along with c470 Curlews and two Common Sandpipers. Adult Mediterranean Gull reports included a single at Anstruther and two at East Wemyss while two Greenshanks and an Arctic Tern were seen at St Andrews (5th). Guardbridge hosted three Little Egrets, two Common Sandpipers and an Osprey and the East Wemyss Mediterranean Gull count was two adults, one second-summer and one first-summer (6th), increasing to four adults, two second calendar year and two first-summer birds there the next day. A visible migration watch at Ferry Hills produced one sub-adult Pomarine Skua, nine Red-throated Divers, five Great Crested Grebes, two Red-breasted Mergansers, 20 Sand Martins, 12 Tree Pipits, five Grey Wagtails, two Lesser Redpolls, 11 Crossbills and 34 Siskins. A Barn Owl was hunting in daylight at Bathmoor Plantation and a Marsh Harrier was quartering fields near Crail. A Spotted Flycatcher and a Water Rail were at Cameron Reservoir where there were also three Common Sandpipers whilst seven of this species appeared on the rocks at Pittenweem where there were nine Manx Shearwaters east. Eden Estuary LNR also had a couple of Common Sandpipers as well as three Little Egrets, 21 Black-tailed Godwits, c570 Curlews, one Whimbrel, one Brent Goose, one Osprey and a Kingfisher (7th).

Juvenile Wheatears turned up at Balcomie Beach (where there were three plus a Common Sandpiper), at Kilminning (a single) and at Out Head where an individual was joined by four adult and four juvenile Stonechats. A Quail was noted at Wormit, a female type Marsh Harrier was seen from Out Head and the East Wemyss Mediterranean Gull tally was two adults, four second-summer and three first-summer, with a bonus Whimbrel (8th). A family party of five Ravens was observed over Kincraig Hill (9th). Balcomie Beach hosted one Pale-bellied Brent Goose, two Bar-tailed Godwits and a Whimbrel. Single Ospreys were seen to the east of Ladybank and at Guardbridge where there were also four Little Egrets and three Common Sandpipers. A Quail was in a field at Feddinch Farm, St Andrews and a Peregrine was reported from the Bishop Hill. An adult summer Mediterranean Gull was at Seafield and there was an unusual report of a female Goshawk taking a Herring Gull in the garden of a Kirkcaldy housing estate (11th). A report from Valleyfield Lagoons comprised 39 Black-tailed Godwits, 32 Sandwich Terns, nine Ringed Plovers, five Dunlins, two Greenshanks and two Common Sandpipers, with a single of this species also at Dalgety Bay. A first-summer Mediterranean Gull was on the rocks at Abden Shore and the East Wemyss count of this species was three adults, four second-summer and four first-summer. Nine Little Gulls, 45 Sandwich Terns and ten Arctic Terns were spied at Out Head whilst Balcomie hosted four juvenile Wheatears, six Dunlins, two Bar-tailed Godwits, a Whimbrel and 46 Golden Plovers then two juvenile Whinchats turned up Kilminning (12th) with an adult of this species accompanied by four young the next day at Glen Vale, where there were also a very notable 16 adult and four young Stonechats as well as a Raven and a Kestrel. At East Wemyss the Mediterranean Gull total remained steady with four adults, three second-summer and five first-summer including returning White 3PX4 (13th). Six Little Gulls were at Tentsmuir Point NNR, a White-tailed Eagle flew north over the Tay at Newburgh and The Wilderness hosted 104 Lapwings, 34 Curlews and two Grasshopper Warblers (14th).

Two Spotted Flycatchers were noted with two young at Morton Lochs NNR. An afternoon report from East Wemyss included one adult summer plumaged Little Gull then an evening watch produced three Common Sandpipers and six Common Terns, with the Mediterranean Gull count increasing to five adults, six second calendar year birds and six third calendar year individuals (15th). A patrol of Fife Ness to Balcomie produced a Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, one Whimbrel, six Dunlins and a juvenile Wheatear, with four of the last species noted at Elie as well as ten Dunlins and four Ringed Plovers. There were three Ospreys at Loch Glow and a Kingfisher was at Cullaloe LNR (16th) where later it was joined by a juvenile Water Rail. Kilminning had five Whinchats, two Tree Pipits and a pair of Stonechats with two juveniles. Observations from Fife Ness included 11 Common Scoters, one dark phase Arctic Skua and two Manx Shearwaters, all north, as well as three summer-plumaged Knot and a single Whimbrel (18th). Sightings from Ferry Hills continued with eight Black-tailed Godwits, eight Red-throated Divers, 12 Tree Pipits, 22 Siskins and 24 Crossbills. A juvenile Cuckoo turned up at Balcomie Beach where there were also two Black-tailed Godwits, 90 Dunlins, three Wheatears and three Whimbrels while Kilminning had six Whinchats. Kilrenny Mill hosted one Common Sandpiper, two Dunlins and three Goosanders while 31 Dunlins frequented Elie. Four Ospreys were at Eden Estuary LNR and a single of this species turned up at The Wilderness where there were also five Dunlins and 11 Black-tailed Godwits. A report from Tentsmuir Point NNR included a remarkable c2900 Swifts as well as one Tree Pipit, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Green Woodpecker, c160 Sand Martins, one White-tailed Eagle, two Arctic Skuas, two Bar-tailed Godwits, five Dunlins and two Sanderlings (19th). A second-summer Mediterranean Gull, two adult Little Gulls and 23 Goosanders were at Levenmouth, two Crossbills flew over Bow of Fife and a Peregrine was seen at Kilminning. An adult Little Stint was with c16 Dunlins at Fife Ness and a report from Tentsmuir Point NNR comprised one juvenile Whinchat, a Wheatear, one Green Woodpecker and 17 Stonechats. The Wilderness hosted five Black-tailed Godwits, two Dunlins and 250 Lapwings while two Nuthatches were noted at Dunfermline Glen (20th). A juvenile Marsh Harrier was at Balcomie and a Little Egret was seen flying south at Balcomie Beach (21st).

A post breeding Willow Warbler and a juvenile Cuckoo were in a Strathkinness garden. 16 Whimbrels and 115 Dunlins were at Balcomie Beach and seawatching at Anstruther produced 12 Manx Shearwaters, one Arctic Skua and 16 Common Scoters. The Wilderness held four Black-tailed Godwits, two Dunlins, 17 Curlews and 267 Lapwings (22nd). At Ravenscraig, one adult Mediterranean Gull was on the beach whilst at Star Moss there were c300 Mallards. A Honey-buzzard was spied going inland low at Anstruther and probably the same bird was seen later at St Andrews, flying south. A Whimbrel was at Guardbridge and two of this species were joined by a Greenshank at Fife Ness. Three or four Whinchats were at Kilminning and a Little Stint turned up at Balcomie Beach. Three Arctic Skuas, four Scaup, one Velvet Scoter and three Little Gulls were seen at Out Head. An adult and a juvenile Roseate Tern were on a buoy at Dalgety Bay Sailing Club (23rd). Three Arctic Skuas flew inland together at Ferry Hills whilst at Fife Ness, the Manx Shearwater count was 44N. Tentsmuir Point NNR held 33 Little Gulls, a Peregrine, an adult and a young Green Woodpecker, two Ravens and 110 Goosanders in the morning. Balcomie Beach hosted a juvenile Mediterranean Gull and a report from Out Head comprised one Little Tern, two Little Gulls, two Knot, 11 Dunlins, six Sanderlings, one Wheatear and three Stonechats. An evening report from Tentsmuir Point NNR sightings included an adult summer-plumaged Red-throated Diver, c190 Goosanders, six Little Gulls, a juvenile Peregrine, two Whimbrels and c400 Sandwich Terns before three Little Egrets and two Greenshanks were reported from Lundin Bridge (24th). At Dysart, an adult and a second-winter Mediterranean Gull were on the rocks, then an adult, a second calendar year and a juvenile were at Kenly Water while an adult and a juvenile were joined by a Whimbrel at West Wemyss. A White-tailed Eagle was at Out Head as well as a Grasshopper Warbler, a juvenile Peregrine and a Little Egret. Balcomie Beach hosted three Wheatears whilst Fife Ness held three Knot and two Whimbrels. There were two or three Whinchats at Kilminning where two Arctic Skuas were lingering offshore harassing Kittiwakes. Luthrie had four Black-tailed Godwits. Sightings at Kilrenny Mill included 11 Common Sandpipers, 15 Dunlins, 20 Lapwings and a juvenile Wheatear (25th). A female Marsh Harrier and one Osprey were seen at Newburgh, a Grasshopper Warbler was showing well at Out Head and eight Manx Shearwaters were spied off Fife Ness. A report from Balcomie Beach comprised one Little Stint, 35+ Dunlins, four Knot, two Turnstones, one Common Sandpiper, 12 Ringed Plovers, nine Whimbrels, two Wheatears, 19 Goosanders and three Sanderlings (26th). A White-tailed Eagle was at Out Head again and two Little Egrets frequented Guardbridge (27th). The East Wemyss Mediterranean Gull count was three adults, three second-summer, one first-summer and two juveniles (including 3ERA and 3PX4), while a first calendar year bird was at Dalgety Bay as well as a Black-tailed Godwit. Balcomie Beach held 15 Sanderlings, 20 Dunlins, four Common Sandpipers, three Wheatears, seven Turnstones and an unseasonable Purple Sandpiper whilst a Whimbrel was at Kilminning (28th).

Guardbridge held five Little Egrets, six Black-tailed Godwits, four Common Sandpipers, one Peregrine and a Kingfisher but the news of the day (and the month) was a Cory’s Shearwater seen on the sea from St David’s Harbour. It wasn’t seen again but surveillance along the coast produced some compensation in the form of 75E Manx Shearwaters (in groups of 18+20+37) off East Wemyss. On a different part of the coastline, an adult Mediterranean Gull was at the mouth of Kenly Water (29th). The Cory’s Shearwater was spied from the Isle of May the next day but, alas, not from Fife shores. Six Little Egrets were at Guardbridge and separate reports from Out Head included a Short-eared Owl heading inland, two adult Little Gulls, a Whinchat and two Wheatears. Whinchats were also seen at Kilminning, the total there being seven whilst 32 Manx Shearwaters and a Little Gull were observed off Fife Ness (30th). Monitoring of the skies at Ferry Hills produced a summer plumage adult Great Northern Diver flying inland, two Bonxies, a Whimbrel and nine Tree Pipits. 50 Swifts were in the air at Aberdour and a Cuckoo and a Peregrine frequented Tentsmuir Point NNR. Out Head had a juvenile Whinchat in the paddock field and two Knot and a Whimbrel on the shore. Seawatching on the last day of the month produced a Bonxie, a Velvet Scoter and a Whimbrel at Fife Ness, 91E Manx Shearwater past Crail and three Arctic Skuas, 348 Manx Shearwaters, 32 Common Scoters and three Whimbrels, all east past Anstruther (31st).


17th July

St Andrews:a fly over Water Rail was heard through an open window during the night.

Information supplied courtesy of Malcolm Ware and Graham Sparshott

June 2020 Sightings

The first day of the month saw single Cuckoos calling at East Lomond and Loch Fitty where there was also a Grasshopper Warbler and a Snipe overhead then a

Whimbrel was noted at Kilrenny Mill (1st). Four Crossbills flew past Braefoot Point, breeding successes were noted at Kilconquhar Loch in the form of two Little Grebes each with one chick and two Mute Swan broods (b9 and b6) while three Pochards (two drakes) was an interesting record there for the time of year. Torry Bay held one Whimbrel, ten Bar-tailed Godwits, five Curlews, two Sandwich Terns, three Common Terns, 20 Common Gulls (all first-summer), a drake Gadwall and c20 Shelducks. Valleyfield Lagoons hosted 11 Bar-tailed Godwits, four Dunlins, four Ringed Plovers, eight Curlews, 50 Common Gulls (virtually all first-summer), eight Black-headed Gulls and one Sanderling (2nd). 48 Canada Geese flew over Auchtermuchty and a Reed Warbler was singing at Kilconquhar Loch where there was evidence of breeding success of both Little Grebe and Great Crested Grebe (4th). Kilmany’s first Grasshopper Warbler of the year was heard, a lone Knot was at Elie, one Bar-tailed Godwit was at Cellardyke and a Little Gull was spied off Limekilns (6th). Blackcap, Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler and Whitethroat were all noted as singing in the Dunfermline area. 17 Goosanders were offshore at Ravenscraig and 12 Canada Geese flew north over Boglily Braes where there was one Jay (7th).

292 Manx Shearwaters and four Common Scoters passed east of Anstruther, a Cuckoo was heard at Lochore Meadows CP (8th) where an Osprey was fishing over the loch the next day. A Cuckoo was also heard at Morton Lochs NNR, c70 Canada Geese flew north over Strathkinness and a walk along the Fife Coastal Path from Wormit to Balmerino produced two Garden Warblers, eight Chiffchaffs, five Great Spotted Woodpeckers, two Willow Warblers, four Bullfinches and five Long-tailed Tits (9th). There were 184 drake Eiders and ten females, as well as six Shelducks, along the Elie to Cocklemill Burn stretch of coast. Two Ravens and a possible Hooded Crow were reported from Newburgh where there was also a Kestrel, a Peregrine and a Garden Warbler (11th). 14 Crossbills were noted heading east low over Burntisland whilst at St Andrews there were four Manx Shearwaters moving east, two Arctic Terns and a steady movement of Guillemots, Razorbills and Kittiwakes (12th). One adult and two second year Little Gulls were seen at The Wilderness and five Corn Buntings turned up east of Freuchie (13th). A Quail was disturbed from a Ladybank garden and Fife’s share of the Rose-coloured Starling influx included one at Crail which seemed to like visiting garden feeders (14th).

A Garden Warbler was still on site along the Wormit to Balmerino stretch and another Quail was singing at lower Kilminning (16th). A Red Kite, in heavy moult, flew north over Dunfermline and at least four pairs of Fulmars and a Peregrine were seen from Elie to Kincraig Point. One of the Seafield Lesser Whitethroats was still calling and showing well and the Crail Rose-coloured Starling lingered. Also at Crail a Channel Wagtail (Motacilla flava flava x flavissama) was present near the village and was also recorded the next day. This is the first record for Fife (17th). A Kingfisher flew over Angle Park while a Tree Pipit was performing a song flight at 

Formonthills (18th). Three Snipe were at Ballo Reservoir and at least one young Dipper accompanied an adult at Kirkcaldy’s Tiel Burn (19th). Two White-tailed Eagles were on the beach at St Andrews (green and blue wing tags). A pair of Canada Geese had four young at Townhill Loch, Kilmany’s first Spotted Flycatcher of the year appeared, a flock of 19 Mistle Thrushes were observed at Ladybank GC and 12+ of this species were reported from the Lomond Hills where there were also a pair of Snipe (20th).

A resumption of observations at Ferry Hills brought a report of 39 Crossbills, 70 Siskins, two Tree Pipits, two Grey Wagtails, 23 Swifts, 14 Curlews, one Whimbrel and two Great Crested Grebes all flying south-west or west. A Grasshopper Warbler was seen near Seafield Tower, a Shoveler and a Teal were at Letham Pools, single Peregrines were over Glenrothes and Glen Vale where there were also four adult and one juvenile Stonechats and a Kestrel. Sightings at Kilconquhar Loch included ten Swifts, two Mute Swan broods of five each, five Little Grebes including one with two young, a Sedge Warbler with fledglings and five male Reed Buntings (22nd). The Wilderness held seven drake Pochards (23rd) and there were also two drakes at Letham Pools where there were around four Water Rail territories and a Common Sandpiper. A Peregrine was seen circling over Glenrothes again (24th). There were estimates of 13 Curlews, six Razorbills and five Guillemots between Elie and Ruddons Point as well as a Goosander with six ducklings (25th). Single Cuckoos were at Anstruther and Kilminning, a Quail (singing) and a Common Sandpiper were at Kilrenny Mill and The Wilderness hosted 60 Lapwings, 15 Teal, and six Shovelers (26th). A Cuckoo was at Kilminning again and there were also two at Moonzie while Balcomie Beach hosted three Bar-tailed Godwits and a Whimbrel (27th). Mediterranean Gulls re-emerged with an adult, five second-summer and one first-summer at the East Wemyss hotspot and a third calendar year bird at Kingsbarns. Three Crossbills flew over St. Andrews and 12 Manx Shearwaters were offshore at Kinghorn (28th). Ferry Hills sightings continued with one sub-adult Long-tailed Skua flying inland and also one flava wagtail, 24 Crossbills and 45 Lapwings. A Quail was singing at Pittenweem and to close the month a report from Elie included c40 Turnstones, c13 Lapwings, c15 Curlews, one Ringed Plover, a juvenile Dunlin, a Redshank, two Common Terns, four Puffins and ten Razorbills (30th).

Nocturnal Migration Notes June 2020

15th Dunfermline: A Snipe was sound recorded (drumming!) over suburbia after dark.

20th Ferry Hills: 13 Crossbills flying south-west and also a Green Sandpiper sound recorded there overnight.

Information supplied courtesy of Malcolm Ware and Graham Sparshott

May 2020 Sightings

The month kicked off with a busy first day when seawatching produced two Shelducks, 48 Eiders, three Velvet Scoters, 45 Common Scoters, 14 Long-tailed Ducks, three Red-breasted Mergansers, one Red-throated Diver, 311 Gannets, 88 Common Terns, seven Arctic Terns and ten Puffins off Kinghorn. Along at Pathhead there were 20 Velvet Scoters, 12 Common Scoters and two pairs of Long-tailed Ducks. Single Whitethroats were at Coul Den, Balmullo (where there was also a Sedge Warbler) and Ruddons Point (where there was also a Wheatear). Elie Estate hosted a Barn Owl, five singing Willow Warblers, five singing Chiffchaffs, seven singing Blackcaps, four Great Spotted Woodpeckers, and at least two Tree Sparrows. Moss Plantation held a pair of displaying Buzzards, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a pair of Treecreepers carrying food while a Nuthatch appeared in an Anstruther garden and single Garden Warblers were at Townhill CP (1st) and Kilmany where there was a very good candidate for a Hooded Crow flying over the village. Sand Martins were reported as nesting at St Andrews where observations at West Sands included a female Surf Scoter, one Velvet Scoter, c240 Common Scoters, a Slavonian Grebe, seven Long-tailed Ducks, three Red-breasted Mergansers, five Knot, one Stonechat and three Whimbrels. A Spotted Flycatcher was seen at Balgownie Woods and sightings at Townhill CP included one Grasshopper Warbler, four Sedge Warblers, a Garden Warbler, three Blackcaps, 11 Chiffchaffs, 15 Willow Warblers, three Tree Sparrows and a pair of Bullfinches. Elie Ness hosted two pairs of Stonechats and a Sedge Warbler arrived in Anstruther. 48 Sandwich Terns were on the rocks at Seafield where the pair of Stonechats showed signs of staying to breed. A Swift was over Dunfermline and five were over Kirkcaldy (2nd) then the following day singles were over Ladybank, Bogside and Anstruther where there was also a drake Garganey. Three Ravens flew low over Balmullo. Warblers continued to feature prominently in reports, for example an excursion from Kirkcaldy’s John Smith Business Park (where there was a Grasshopper Warbler and a Water Rail) to Dunnikier Park produced 19 Willow Warblers, eight Chiffchaffs, four Sedge Warblers, a Whitethroat and 14 Blackcaps while Birnie & Gaddon Lochs LNR yielded three Chiffchaffs, two Willow Warblers, two Whitethroats, two Blackcaps and two Sedge Warblers as well as two Jays and a Great Spotted Woodpecker then two Garden Warblers were at Lindores Loch. Single Whitethroats were at Barns Farm and at Wormit where there was also a Garden Warbler. Three Dippers were on the Lothrie Burn at Glenrothes. The regular reports of White Wagtails at Kilrenny Mill continued with a single there accompanied by two Wheatears and two Whitethroats. Two pairs of Shelducks were at Ruddons Point, the drake Gadwall lingered at Raith Lake and a Cuckoo was calling at Little Ballo in the Lomond Hills (3rd). A Garden Warbler was at Auchtermuchty’s Leckiebank Farm while sightings at Anstruther included nine Whimbrels, four Wheatears and a Bonxie (4th). Reports of Swifts increased with two over Cellardyke, three over both Kingsbarns and Dunfermline with singles over Dalgety Bay and Elie where there was also a Red-breasted Merganser. Kirkcaldy’s Dunnikier Park produced a Spotted Flycatcher, Falkland Hill had a male Whinchat and the coastal path between Kilminning and Fife Ness yielded eight Whitethroats, four Reed Buntings and a pair of Stonechats. Similarly, Seafield hosted four Whitethroats, two Chiffchaffs, four Sedge Warblers and two Reed Buntings while east of Markinch there were seven Whitethroats, four Blackcaps, five Sedge Warblers, nine Willow Warblers, four Chiffchaffs and ten House Martins. An Osprey was at Loch Fitty, two Whimbrels were at Kilrenny Mill and Wood Sandpipers put in an appearance with a single at Letham Pools and two at Luthrie (5th). Warbler reports continued with a Sedge Warbler at Dunshalt, a Grasshopper Warbler near Ballo and a Garden Warbler at Kirkforthar. Swift sightings included six over Auchtermuchty and eight over Kingsbarns where there were also two singing Lesser Whitethroats and two Whimbrels. A Wheatear was at Falkland Hill, 18 House Martins arrived at Gauldry and five Grey Wagtail chicks were noted at Craigtoun Park. Dunlin sightings comprised two at Wormit Bay and two at Letham Pools (where there was also a Whimbrel over) and two at Kilrenny Mill where there was also a Hooded Crow, two White Wagtails and two Wheatears. Meanwhile at West Sands, sightings included three Scaup, five Long-tailed Ducks, three Red-breasted Mergansers, two Tufted Ducks, a Red-throated Diver and c140 feeding Herring Gulls (6th). Six Canada Geese were in a field east of St Michaels, a Common Sandpiper visited Wormit Bay whilst one of this species at The Wilderness was joined by a Green Sandpiper. Two Purple Sandpipers were seen at Kingsbarns where there were also 11 Swifts. Eight singing Skylarks, two Wheatears, three Canada Geese and two Shelducks were noted in fields south of Crossgates and two first-summer Little Gulls appeared at Letham Pools. A Kestrel is always a welcome sight these days and a single was at Barns Farm. A Grasshopper Warbler was reeling at Balgownie Woods and a Garden Warbler visited a Comrie garden (7th).

A less common warbler in the form of a Lesser Whitethroat was seen and heard at the car park at Seafield. An adult Hobby in off the sea was no doubt a very enjoyable sight at Kingsbarns where there were also two Arctic Terns and a Common Tern. The Coastal Path from Elie to St Monans produced three Dunlins, eight Ringed Plovers, nine Turnstones, 12 Sedge Warblers and probably nine Whitethroats. A Common Sandpiper lingered at The Wilderness and observations at Out Head included one Osprey, one Pink-footed Goose, a Bar-tailed Godwit, two first-summer Little Gulls, 19 Whimbrels, four Dunlins and five Red-breasted Mergansers. Four Grey Herons fledging was reported as the first record of breeding at Kilrenny Mill where a circular walk round Silverdyke Caravan Park produced eight pairs of Yellowhammers (8th).

A Garden Warbler was showing well at Balmullo where there was also a pair of Grey Partridges in a field next to the village. Single Kestrels were spied at Barns Farm and at Elie where there was also a Red-breasted Merganser. Reports of Lesser Whitethroats continued with two singing at Collessie. The begging call of a young Long-eared Owl was heard in central Fife, a Cuckoo was seen at Ballo and sightings at Out Head included seven Stonechats, five Whimbrels, 33 Dunlins, 24 Ringed Plovers and a Common Tern. A Coot was close in on the sea off Kirkcaldy’s esplanade. A patrol of the Ladybank to Monkstown area produced a good selection of warblers, including two Garden Warblers, and also a Grey Heron nest with well grown-young at Innerleith (9th). A dark phase Arctic Skua and three Arctic Terns were noted from Kinkell Braes and a Great Northern Diver provided an evening fly-past at Anstruther (10th). Elie Estate hosted six Blackcaps and two male Bullfinches then three Wheatears turned up at Plains Farm, Dunshalt. The Lesser Whitethroat loitered at the car park at Seafield and a second bird was discovered further along the Coastal Path towards Abden (11th) then another of this species was found in the Shell Bay area. A Nuthatch was at Markinch and 200+ Arctic Terns frequented Anstruther (12th). Reports of Spotted Flycatchers are always welcome and least two were at Balgownie Woods where an Osprey passed overhead. An adult Little Gull in summer plumage is always good to see and one flew off north from Letham Pools. A single Red Grouse in a field to north of the A92/bridge over the River Eden was an unusual sighting, a Peregrine flew low over Formonthills and c40 Velvet Scoters seemed content to linger at Pathhead (13th). Nine singing Blackcaps were noted between Elie and Kilconquhar Loch, a Male Whinchat and a Whimbrel were on the coastal path between Randerston and Balcomie and a Cuckoo was calling at The Binn. Regular reports from Out Head continued with 11 Sanderlings, three Dunlins, eight Ringed Plovers, two Stonechats and one Whimbrel. Another  Lesser Whitethroat was found, this time at Wormit (14th), and one was see in the Shell Bay-Cocklemill Burn area again, the following day.

A Cuckoo and a Great Spotted Woodpecker were at North Cults Farm, Saline and 33 Velvet Scoters, 12 Common Scoters and a pair of Long-tailed Ducks were still at Pathhead (15th). A young Little Grebe was a welcome breeding success on a small SUDS pond on a Dunfermline housing estate and a Cuckoo was seen and heard near East Lomond (16th). Pathhead’s Velvet Scoters numbered 30, at least two pairs of Spotted Flycatchers were now at Balgownie Woods and a report from Sauchar Point, Elie included a pair of Stonechats, a Redshank, three Shelducks and a Red-breasted Merganser (17th). At least one of the Lesser Whitethroats remained at Seafield where the pair of Stonechats had at least three young, a Cuckoo was calling at Auchtermuchty and three Ravens were at Bow of Fife’s Pitlair Park. Five Goosanders and six Ringed Plovers were at Eden Estuary LNR, a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers were feeding young in nest-hole at Moss Plantation and a Wood Sandpiper flew past Denhead Marsh, St Andrews where there was also a drumming Snipe (20th). A Little Egret flew over Pittencrieff Park, a Raven passed east over Ladybank and 20 Swifts were over Cellardyke. Lindores Loch hosted a Cuckoo and a Garden Warbler while the Kilrenny Mill update comprised one Little Egret, a Whimbrel and three Wheatears. A Manx Shearwater east was noted as only the second of the year at Anstruther (21st) then six were in close east the next day.

A Townhill CP list included 22 Willow Warblers, six Chiffchaffs, three Sedge Warblers, two Garden Warblers and five Bullfinches while there was an apparently reliable report of a Red Kite over the loch there. A singing Cuckoo was seen at close range near Magus Muir and Out Head sightings included 195N Arctic Terns, a very distant buzzard sp. out at sea, one Osprey, 80 Common Scoters and three Stonechats with two fledglings (24th). An excursion from Elie to Ruddons Point and Cocklemill Burn yielded 17 Sanderlings, eight Turnstones, eight Shelducks, at least nine Dunlins, more than ten Ringed Plovers, three Black-headed Gulls, a pair of Grey Partridges, two Kestrels and a Red-breasted Merganser with 11 young. A Quail was calling at Auchtermuchty’s Leckiebank Farm. At Pathhead, the scoter flocks had eventually dispersed but a lone Long-tailed Duck lingered and a Kestrel and a Peregrine were in hunting mode (25th). Young Tree Sparrows were seen in a Ladybank garden (26th). A possibly pure Hooded Crow flew over Dunfermline. Letham Pools held eight first-summer Little Gulls, Out Head hosted eight Ringed Plovers and nine Sanderlings then an Osprey was high to the south of Ladybank. Back at the coast, observations at Anstruther included 99 Manx Shearwaters, 36 Common Scoters, four Sanderlings and two Dunlins. Creich Farm Pond held 22 Mallards with eight young (27th). The regular Out Head report included four Little Gulls, four Knot, 28 Sanderlings, two Little Egrets, 42 Common Scoters and three Stonechats (28th). A calling Common Crossbill flew over Dunfermline and 50+ Canada Geese were spied heading north over Coaltown of Wemyss. 228 Manx Shearwaters, 32 Common Scoters and a male Peregrine were seen at Anstruther. Single Cuckoos were calling at Maspie Den, Comrie (29th) and Bishop Hill/West Lomond where there was also a Raven over. A female Cuckoo was also at Out Head along with one Canada Goose, two Knot, five Dunlins, nine Goosanders and seven Stonechats. A Grasshopper Warbler was seen at Braes Loan, Markinch and the male Stonechat at Seafield was accompanied by four young and there were several Eider broods of varying sizes offshore (30th). A Peregrine flew west at Aberdour and a Grasshopper Warbler and two Garden Warblers were at Townhill CP. At Kinghorn Loch there were three Tree Sparrows, with two young, and a Pochard pair whilst at Lochore Meadows CP an Osprey was fishing. Perhaps the find of the month was a female Red-backed Shrike at Kilminning (31st).

Information supplied courtesy of Malcolm Ware and Graham Sparshott

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

Sightings March 2020

The month commenced with a Greenshank at St Andrews, a Norwegian ringed plus four unringed Scandinavian Rock Pipits on the shore at Cellardyke and seven Brent Geese seen from the Eden Estuary Centre (1st) then 21 of this species were also seen there the next day. Newburgh hosted three Ravens, two Peregrines and a Sparrowhawk, a foray to West Lomond produced c30 Snow Buntings and a gull roost off Cambo held four Mediterranean Gulls (two adults and two third calendar year) (2nd) while a second winter bird was at Buckhaven the next day. A Nuthatch was discovered in Blairhall (3rd). A Long-eared Owl was heard at Kilmany, a party of around ten Bearded Tits were spied at Mugdrum Island, a Green Woodpecker was noted at Den of Lindores and the Black-necked Grebe continued its residence at Elie Bay (4th) and was seen again the next day along with 17 Red-throated Divers, four Common Scoters, seven Long-tailed Ducks, c45 Razorbills and five Velvet Scoters (5th). Snow Buntings were seen again at West Lomond, this time a party of 20, while East Lomond hosted two pairs of Red Grouse and a pair of Stonechats then five Waxwings were reported flying over the Cullaloe Hills. Back at ground level a Chiffchaff turned up at Dalgety Bay. Raptor reports included an immature Marsh Harrier, two Peregrines and eight Buzzards at Newburgh, a ringtail Hen Harrier at Blairadam Forest (6th) then a ringtail was also noted the following day at Loch Glowwhere there were also two Lesser Redpolls and one Common Redpoll (7th).

Reports from freshwater sites included five Dabchicks at Newton Farm, two Dabchicks and two Goosanders at Linkswood Pond, eight Dabchicks, nine Canada Geese, 30 Teal, 26 Tufted Ducks, 17 Goldeneyes, 13 Coots, 60 Black-headed Gulls, and three Skylarks in song at Newton Quarry. Sightings at Morton Lochs NNR included six Dabchicks, 50 Teal, 17 Wigeon, 26 Mallards, 22 Tufted Ducks, two Gadwalls and 19 Coots as well as one Kestrel. A busy day continued with an adult Mediterranean Gull at Dysart and two Little Egrets and 18 Whooper Swans seen from the Eden Estuary Centre (8th). the redhead Smew was seen again at Lochore Meadows CP where there were also five Gadwalls (9th). Elie’s Black-necked Grebe was seen again (10th). A Sandwich Tern joined it (13th) and the grebe was seen again the next day when a female Scaup was seen at Kilconquhar Loch and an adult Mediterranean Gull was on primary school playing field at Leven (14th).

An adult Mediterranean Gull flew past Dysart and a first winter bird was at Levenmouth. A Snow Bunting and a female Merlin were at Balcomie Beach, a Brambling was at Camilla Loch, a Green Woodpecker was at Devilla Forest and two Waxwings were in Dunfermline (15th). A second winter Mediterranean Gull was at the customary Buckhaven haunt (16th). The two Waxwings were seen again in Dunfermline and a Red Kite flew over Coaltown of Balgonie (17th). Culross had its first singing Chiffchaff of the year, a Glenrothes garden had a Blackcap on a feeder and a Sand Martin arrived at Mountcastle GP where there was also a Pochard. A female Merlin flew over Redwells Wood and the two Waxwings were showing well in Dunfermline (18th) and were seen again the next day. Lochore Meadows CP continued to host the redhead Smew and a Green Sandpiper dropped in. Elie’s Black-necked Grebe was joined by a Red-throated Diver and seven Razorbills. The beach at Cellardyke held two littoralis Rock Pipits and off Leven there were 15 Slavonian Grebes, 22 Long-tailed Ducks and two Black-throated Divers. Another coastal report, this time from Lower Largo, comprised 24 Slavonian Grebes, 340 Velvet Scoters, 19 Red-throated Divers, 48 Red-breasted Mergansers, ten Long-tailed Ducks and 18 Razorbills. There were also two Little Egrets and a Chiffchaff at Tayport (19th). Two Grey Partridges were seen feeding near to a building site at Inverkeithing, seven Barnacle Geese flew over Kirkcaldy and there were 30 Brent Geese at Balgove Bay. A pair of Kestrels were at Lower Largo where offshore there were four Slavonian Grebes and two Black-Throated Divers. The two Waxwings lingered in Dunfermline (20th) and were also there the following day. Seawatching from Fife Ness produced 146 Razorbills, 40 Kittiwakes and five Common Scoters. A first winter Glaucous Gull was discovered in a field near Strathmiglo and an immature Marsh Harrier was seen again at Newburgh. Chiffchaff sightings included singles at Lochore Meadows CP (where the redhead Smew remained), Cullaloe LNR, Wormit and Auchtermuchty with two noted at Kilmany (21st).

Then single Chiffchaffs were reported from Balmullo, the Eden Estuary Centre, Townhill and Moss Plantation. A different warbler, a Blackcap, was on a feeder in a Kirkcaldy garden, c60 Fieldfares were at Auchtermuchty’s Broombrae Farm and 21 Whooper Swans were spied in the bay at Culross. Green Woodpeckers were seen at Bathmoor Plantation (where a Tawny Owl was calling) and at Lochornie where there was also a Raven. A Red Kite flew over Loch Gelly, 34 Brent Geese flew past Guardbridge, and the Dunfermline Waxwings remained in place(22nd). A party of ten Canada Geese flew north over Kirkcaldy, a Chiffchaff was at Windygates and there were also four at Ferry Hills where a Sand Martin appeared (23rd) then two of this species were noted at Bathmoor Plantation. As the lockdown kicked in, observers started to focus on species seen overhead and in gardens as well as from houses and during local walks e.g. Dunfermline produced three Canada Geese south, a singing Chiffchaff, a Sparrowhawk and a Buzzard. There were also Chiffchaffs at Pitlair Park, Cairneyhill (24th) and Moss Plantation. A report from Kinghorn included 20 Eiders, nine Common Scoters, five Long-tailed Ducks, 585 Kittiwakes, one Little Gull and 155 Herring Gulls past. Torryburn Pools hosted 12 Snipe, 60+ Oystercatchers, 24 Curlews, 34 Shelducks, a Bar-tailed Godwit and six Lapwings displaying (25th). A Tawny Owl was calling at Lochmill and a Chiffchaff was singing near Hillend (26th). A Green Woodpecker was calling at Culross, an Osprey flew north over Dunfermline and one was also seen, with a fish, at Lochmill. A second calendar year Iceland Gull was at the mouth of Kenly Water at Kingsbarns where five Twite were in the dunes and two flocks of this species (20/30 in each flock) were recorded at Bow of Fife’s Pitlair Park. A male Ring Ouzel was seen on the south side of East Lomond. Checking of the skies over our towns produced two Ravens over Kirkcaldy (28th) and a Red Kite also over the Lang Toun whilst an Osprey continued its journey over Burntisland then a Short-eared Owl, a Peregrine, a displaying Sparrowhawk and a Cormorant over Dunfermline. Two Ravens were in trees at Pitlair Park and c25 Twite were at Kingsbarns (29th). More fly-overs included an Osprey over Coaltown of Wemyss, a Peregrine over Aberdour and, more unusually, an  adult Spoonbill over Dunfermline. At ground level, the first Willow Warbler report of the year came from the Rabbit Braes area of Kirkcaldy where there were also six Chiffchaffs. Wheatears turned up at at Randerston and Balcomie Beach as well as Cambo where there was also a Sand Martin (30th). The last day of the month produced a Mediterranean Gull over Aberdour, a Blackcap singing on The Binn and, to end an unusual month with a flourish, there was not only a Green Woodpecker but also a Nuthatch at Balbirnie Park (31st).

Information supplied courtesy of Malcolm Ware and Graham Sparshott

FBC and the Coronavirus

All members are advised to follow the latest government advice about unnecessary travel, social distancing etc. so please avoid visiting our hides until further notice. Also please resist the temptation to travel to see a rarity or any species that you may have heard about.

Eden Centre Closure

Please see below from Ranald Strachan:

“Apologies to all but we will be closing the centre from 5pm on 13th March. This is potentially for up to 4 weeks however we will monitor public health advice and manage. The Evans hide will also be locked down.

We all need to do what we can to flatten the curve of infections and protect the most vulnerable. There is increasing evidence that ‘social distancing’ is the most effective way to do this, so by the Trust closing public buildings we endeavour to reduce the likelihood of any of our sites being the centre of an outbreak’.

The wee wooden hide by the centre is still available and of course, it’s not ‘Avian flu’ so there are still birds out on the estuary, which never closes”.

February 2020 Sightings

The month commenced with two Ravens at Balgownie, a Kingfisher at Cocklemill Marsh and an immature Marsh Harrier at Newburgh where there was also a Peregrine (1st). A pair of Goosanders on the Motray Burn, Kilmany was noted as only the second record of this species there in the last 24 years. The Green-winged Teal was still visible from the Eden Estuary Centre, three Pintails, one Pink-footed Goose and a Whooper Swan were at Wilderness while Dunshalt’s Plains Farm hosted five of the latter species along with 12 Grey Partridges and c50 Yellowhammers (2nd). The redhead Smew was still at Lochore Meadows CP and six Crossbills and c35 Siskins were seen at Loch Glow (4th). Single adult Mediterranean Gulls appeared at Kinghorn Loch and Levenmouth then two Green Woodpeckers graced Tentsmuir Point NNR where there were also three Ravens and one Snow Bunting (5th). The redhead Smew lingered at Lochore Meadows CP (6th) and the ‘black-bellied’ Dipper was still present at Hallow Hill, St Andrews.A report from Newton Quarry included 11 Canada Geese, 14 Wigeon, 11 Tufted Ducks, four Gadwalls and c25 Goldeneyes. (7th).

A first winter Mediterranean Gull was at East Wemyss. Ravens were seen in the Lomond Hills at Lower Ballo, where there were three, and there was a single at Rossie Bog where there was also a male Hen Harrier. An adult Black Guillemot in summer plumage was noted off Kingsbarns and sightings at Morton Lochs NNR included one Little Egret, three Dabchicks, three Canada Geese, 38 Teal, 14 Wigeon, c40 Tufted Ducks, two Gadwalls, three Goldeneyes and a Great Spotted Woodpecker (8th). Magpies gathered in an unusually large group of c60 at Dalgety Bay, 28 Brent Geese were noted at Eden Estuary LNR (9th) and a first year Glaucous Gull was at Anstruther (10th). An adult and a second winter Mediterranean Gull were at Buckhaven (11th). Balbuthie Farm held c500 Pink-footed Geese, Ruddons Point continued to host a Whimbrel along with four Twite and observations from the Eden Estuary Centre included 20 Teal, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and 12+ Tree Sparrows (12th). Two Merlins were seen at Crail Airfield (14th).

One adult and one first summer Mediterranean Gull were at East Wemyss (15th). Kirkcaldy’s Ring-necked Parakeet was reported in the Bennochy Cemetery area that was frequented regularly by an individual of this species from 2004-2010 (18th). An adult Mediterranean Gull at Buckhaven had gained almost a full hood, three Ravens were at Knockhill and two male Crossbills were feeding on a pine cone on the road near the Craigmead car park. 26 Scaup were spied off West Sands, St Andrews, c300 Wigeon congregated at Luthrie Floods and a report from Letham Pools included c50 Wigeon, six Gadwalls and seven Goldeneyes (19th).

Mediterranean Gulls were reported at Dysart (adult with almost complete hood) and Buckhaven (one second winter). 14 Bramblings were found at Camilla Loch and sightings from the Eden Estuary Centre included one Little Egret, 16 Teal, two Goldeneyes, ten Black-tailed Godwits, c300 Redshanks, a Sparrowhawk and around ten Tree Sparrows (23rd). A male Blackcap was in a Dunfermline garden (24th) and Buckhaven’s Mediterranean Gulls were an adult with a black hood (25th) then an adult and a second winter bird whilst there was also a Black-throated Diver in the bay (26th). A Dipper was spotted from a bridge in Inverkeithing, a Whimbrel was seen at the mouth of Cocklemill Burn and 24 Fieldfares were in a field at Balhelvie (27th). Another large gathering of Magpies was 34 at Balbeggie (28th), two Ravens were at Elie Ness, 17 Grey Plovers were at Ruddons Point, an adult male Hen Harrier was in the air at Lethans Muir and a Song Thrush decided it was spring by bursting in to song at Gauldry (29th).

Information supplied courtesy of Malcolm Ware and Graham Sparshott

January 2020 Sightings

The year commenced with a Little Egret at Tayport, three Crossbills at Morton Lochs NNR and an adult Mediterranean Gull at Kinghorn Loch. A favourite from last year, a drake Smew, continued its tenure at Cameron Reservoir whilst, new for the season, was a first winter Glaucous Gull at Angle Park GP (1st) which was noted again the following day along with a first winter Iceland Gull. As well as Cameron Reservoir’s Smew another long stayer was the Black Redstart at Crail’s Roome Bay (2nd) which was seen again the next day when other sightings were an immature Marsh Harrier, and a Peregrine at Newburgh and an adult Mediterranean Gull at West Wemyss (3rd). Another lingering bird from 2019 was the Ring-necked Parakeet at Kirkcaldy’s  Beveridge Park. The Smew at Cameron Reservoir had two Crossbills for land based company then adult Mediterranean Gulls were reported at Kilconquhar Loch (4th) and Pathhead where there were also 14 Whooper Swans east. The Crail Black Redstart lingered and eight Snow Buntings wereat West Sands, St Andrews, this being the first of regular reports throughout the month. Sightings at Edenside included one Slavonian Grebe, three Little Egrets, 11 Scaup and c60 Black-tailed Godwits (5th). Buckhaven hosted an adult Mediterranean Gull and the redhead Smew at Lochore Meadows CP made its first appearance of the year (6th). A Slavonian Grebe, 12 Scaup and seven Brent Geese were observed from the Eden Estuary Centre (7th).

The eight Snow Buntings at Out Head were joined by two Stonechats and 13 Ringed Plovers then 12 Crossbills were noted at Morton Lochs NNR and an adult Mediterranean Gull turned up in Anstruther (8th). Eden Estuary Centre sightings included one White-tailed Eagle, a Sparrowhawk, 13 Brent Geese, ten Grey Plovers, 40 Knot and a Treecreeper. The drake Smew was still present at Cameron Reservoir, at least 14 Purple Sandpipers were spied from the Museum car park at St. Andrews and the eight Snow Buntings were seen again at both Out Head (9th) and then at West Sands the following day when there were 12 Scaup off the Museum car park at St Andrews. At least eight Pale-bellied Brent Geese were at Eden Estuary LNR and 65 Pink-footed Geese were over Strathkinness where a female Merlin flew past twice. A Little Egret was at Edenside, a Great Northern Diver was on the sea close in at Fife Ness and four Stonechats were at Kilmany. The Cameron Reservoir Smew was still present as was the Black Redstart at Roome Bay (10th). The eight Snow Buntings were reported at West Sands and Out Head where there were also 22 Ringed Plovers, Letham Pools held up to six Whooper Swans, the Cameron Reservoir drake Smew population returned to two, Loch Glow hosted a Merlin, two Stonechats, 60+ Pink-footed Geese and several small groups of Crossbills then a juvenile male Goshawk was reported circling over St Monans. 17 Scaup and five Long-tailed Ducks were spied off St Andrews where there were 150+ Fulmars on the cliffs. Cocklemill Marsh hosted a Little Egret and Ruddons Point held one Whimbrel. Single adult Mediterranean Gulls were seen off Seafield Tower (12th) and at the customary Buckhaven haunt. A flock of 50+ Goldfinches in a Dunfermline town centre garden was a noteworthy total and 14 Mute Swans, ten Whooper Swans and 25 Greylag Geese were at Letham Pools. Out Head’s eight Snow Buntings lingered (13th) and were seen again a couple of days later.

A Red-throated Diver was off Fife Ness (15th), a male Blackcap appeared in a Glenrothes garden and c1000 Pink-footed Geese, a Greenland White-fronted Goose and one Barnacle Goose were reported at Letham Pools. Buckhaven’s adult Mediterranean Gull was joined by a second winter bird (16th). A Little Egret was at Lochore Meadows CP, 700 to 800 Pink-footed Geese were at Bowhouse Farm whilst nearby there were 18 Corn Buntings at Coal Farm and a Tawny Owl sitting on a wall north of Elie. The Black-bellied Dipper joined the local Dippers at Hallow Hill, St Andrews, 12 Snipe, one Woodcock (uncommon here) and a Greenshank were at Valleyfield Lagoons and the Out Head Snow Buntings were still present (17th) and were seen again on the following two days. Two Greenland White-fronted Geese were at Letham Pools and a drake Pintail was at Wilderness (18th). The FBC outing confirmed two drake Smew at Cameron Reservoir and one adult and one second winter Mediterranean Gull at Buckhaven whilst this species was also noted at East Wemyss where there were three adults and four first winter birds. Two Crossbills were at Kilmany Station and up on West Lomond there were 13 Snow Buntings and two Red Grouse with an unusually high count of at least 35 Snipe at Millers Loch. A report from Kinghorn included a Red-throated Diver, one Manx Shearwater and 541 Black-headed Gulls offshore with seven Purple Sandpipers on the rocks (19th). Eight Red-legged Partridges were at Gauldry (20th). Buckhaven held one adult and one second winter Mediterranean Gulls while c25 Waxwings at Ladybank Bowling Club were almost bowled over by a Sparrowhawk (21st). 

About 60 Redwings were at the Bowling Club the next day but only four Waxwings were left. Nine of this species flew west over Wilderness where there were also three Pintails, c400 Teal, a Shelduck, one Greenland White-fronted Goose, one Barnacle Goose and 71 Whooper Swans with c100 Greylag Geese and c650 Pink-footed Geese in fields just east of Ramornie Mains. At Out Head the Snow Bunting count was still eight whilst offshore there were about ten Great Crested Grebes and one Red-throated Diver with a Common Scoter flock. Mediterranean Gull sightings continued with one second winter at Buckhaven and one adult and one first winter at Dysart. Kirkcaldy’s Ring-necked Parakeet was flying about over the town (22nd). A Little Egret was at Cocklemill Marsh and an immature female Goshawk was reported at Cameron Reservoir where there also two Ravens (23rd). Torry Bay hosted about seven Greenshanks and four Black-tailed Godwits then a Barn Owl was seen hunting along a roadside verge on the road between Freuchie and Dunshalt (24th). An adult Mediterranean Gull flew west past Seafield, a Jack Snipe was at Camilla Loch and an adult Tystie in near summer plumage was spied off Kingsbarns where a Black-throated Diver flew north. A Barnacle Goose was still present with hundreds of Pink-footed Geese, c50 Whooper Swans and c40 Greylag Geese at Wilderness (25th) with the Whooper Swan tally increasing to 73 the next day. A second winter Mediterranean Gull was at Buckhaven again and seven Pale-bellied Brent Geese flew into Balgove Bay with 26 of this species being seen in an adjacent cereal field later on. Dunshalt’s Plains Farm hosted five Whooper Swans, c500 Pink-footed Geese and 32 Yellowhammers (26th). Mixed finch flocks comprised 50 to 60 Linnets, two Corn Buntings and ten Chaffinches at Pittenweem’s Coal Farm and Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Linnets, Yellowhammers, four Skylarks and three Corn Buntings at Bowhouse Farm where there was also one Grey Partridge. The redhead Smew continued its  residence at Lochore Meadows CP (27th). There were only four Snow Buntings at Out Head, a Kingfisher was at Tayfield and 20+ Brent Geese and one Little Egret were seen from the Eden Estuary Centre (28th). Two Waxwings were noted in Glenrothes (30th) and the month closed with a female Merlin seen from the Eden Estuary Centre (31st)

Information supplied courtesy of Malcom Ware and Graham Sparshott