April 2024 Sightings

April started with a few sightings coming in of Sand Martins, Swallows and Wheatears, though none were in large numbers. A White-fronted Goose was with Greylags and Mute Swans in a grass field on the north shore of Cameron Reservoir (4th), and an Osprey was seen heading over Skelpie Farm and the first of many White Wagtails this spring was at Luthrie, alongside 25 Pied Wagtails and 75 Meadow Pipits. At least four Ospreys, three Ravens, a female Merlin and four Kestrels were seen at Loch Glow (5th), the drake Smew and an Osprey were seen at Cameron Reservoir (6th) and still present at Kilconquhar Loch was the female Long-tailed Duck. Also noted there were 11 Red-breasted Mergansers and an early House Martin. A Common Sandpiper was at Guardbridge (7th) and seen at Kinghorn were four Long-tailed Ducks, three Red-breasted Mergansers and c40 Common Scoters. There was a more substantial flock of Sand Martins seen at Loch Fitty, with c400 noted.

A drake Pochard, the first Blackcaps and six House Martins were seen at Birnie and Gaddon Lochs LNR (8th) and seen off Fife Ness were one Arctic Tern N, four Long-tailed Ducks S, five Red throated Divers N and three Black-throated Divers N. There was a good count of 56 Red breasted Mergansers at the mouth of the River Leven at Leven and two Ring Ouzels showed well at Kilminning (9th). Seen heading over Ferry Hills (10th) were a Brambling and 3220 Pink-feet N. White Wagtails were seen again, with four at Dalgety Bay and seven at Braefoot Plantation and seen passing Fife Ness were two Sandwich Terns, 21 Common Scoters, four Red-throated Divers and c20 Pink-footed Geese, whilst at Lower Largo (12th), two Black-throated Divers, 500 Common Scoters and 50 Velvet Scoters were seen. 350 Common Scoters and two Sandwich Terns were seen from Kinghorn and a superb male Redstart was a great find in a St Andrews garden. Two Greenshanks were at the much-missed pool at Rossie Bog, two Pintail, one Whimbrel, two Wheatears and four Brent Geese were seen at Coble Shore (13th) and a few more White Wagtails were seen, with seven at Cocklemill Burn and one at Ruddons Point. A very obliging flock of 12 Waxwings were seen at Coaltown of Wemyss and another two Ring Ouzels were a good find at Drumcarrow. A female Marsh Harrier came in over the Forth at Kinghorn (14th), with three Golden Plovers N and 114 Meadow Pipits N also noted passing through. A Grasshopper Warbler was heard “reeling” at Boarhills and a Cuckoo was seen at Tayport. Maybe spring was here after all! It didn’t feel like it in the colder weather though. Seen from Elie were three Manx Shearwaters and five Sandwich Terns.

11 Black-tailed Godwits were at Dalgety Bay (15th) and an early Lesser Whitethroat was at Kinghorn, where c300 Common Scoters were noted offshore. A Green Woodpecker was calling at Lathrisk, near Freuchie and another Common Sandpiper had trickled in, this time at Luthrie. A solitary Knot was at Dalgety Bay (16th) and noted at Loch Fitty were one Common Sandpiper, 120 Sand Martins, 10 Willow Warblers, eight Chiffchaffs, two Redpolls, two Jays, 64 Greylag Geese, eight Pink-footed Geese, 21 Canada Geese, 23 Tufted Ducks, four Goldeneye, four Gadwall and c4 Great Crested Grebes. 18 Pale-bellied Brent Geese and one Dark-bellied Brent Goose were in Balgove Bay and c70 Whooper Swans were still present near Freuchie. The White Wagtail flock at Braefoot Plantation had risen to 26 by (17th) and a count at Lower Largo produced 63 Red-throated Divers, 39 Velvet Scoters, 301 Common Scoters and nine Long-tailed Ducks. Seen from Ferry Hills (18th) were two Tree Pipits N and 1250 Pink-feet N, a Barn Owl was seen near Falkland and noted passing Kinghorn (19th) were 28 Black-tailed Godwits flew W, with c750 Common Scoters on the sea. At Knockhill, two Cuckoos were heard calling and a Grasshopper Warbler was heard “reeling”, an Osprey passed over Dunfermline heading NW, with another bird seen at Loch Fitty. A Lesser Whitethroat was heard singing near Stenhouse Reservoir, with c15 White Wagtails also noted on the flooded field there. A drake Pochard was seen at Letham Pools and seen off Fife Ness were one dark phase Arctic Skua S and five Manx Shearwaters N, two Common Sandpipers were at Clatto Reservoir and a Grasshopper Warbler was in the NW corner of St Margarets Marsh, Rosyth (20th). Seen from Kincraig Head were one Tree Pipit, three White Wagtails, 27 Red-throated Divers, one Black throated Diver, one Slavonian Grebe and 635 Common Scoters and off Fife Ness (21st) were two Arctic Terns N, nine Sandwich Terns, one 2nd calendar year Little Gull N, two Manx Shearwaters N, 17 Red-throated Divers, two Black-throated Divers, 58 Barnacle Goose N, three Whimbrels S and 21 Long-tailed Ducks S, also there was a new record day count of Common Scoters (337). Noted from Kinghorn were one Great Northern Diver E, four Red throated Divers W and 800 Common Scoters on the sea, a Whitethroat was at Out Head and seen at Guardbridge were two Slavonian Grebes, four Brent Geese, 22 Pintail, one Little Egret and one Greenshank. Two drake Scaup and one Little Egret were at Tayport and a single White Wagtail was seen at Valleyfield Lagoons.

At Blairhall (22nd), a Garden Warbler was heard, a Whimbrel and two Pintail were at Tayport and seen at Hawkcraig Point were 10 Pintail, one Tufted Duck W, 13 Scaup, 115 Razorbills, 24 Puffins and one Whitethroat. Single Lesser Whitethroats were seen at Ferry Hills and Seafield (23rd) and at Langdyke two Tree Pipits and one Green Woodpecker were seen. Four Waxwings were in trees by the entrance to Ferry Hills (24th), then flew off NW, the Lesser Whitethroat was also still present, c15 Whooper Swans were still in the fields to the N of Freuchie. Seen from Fife Ness were one Arctic Skua N, one Manx Shearwater N, 34 Red-throated Divers N, 18 Sandwich Terns N and two Common Scoters N and there was a good count of 24 Purple Sandpipers at Seafield, nine Long-tailed Ducks, c12 Sandwich Terns and one White Wagtail were seen at Out Head. Noted off Fife Ness (25th) were one Bonxie N, two Manx Shearwaters N, 28 Sandwich Terns N, 4S, nine Red-throated Divers N and three Fulmars N, two Common Sandpipers were seen at Harperleas Reservoir and a Short-eared Owl was seen at Muirhead Farm. A Green Sandpiper was at Morton Lochs NNR (27th), one Arctic Tern, one Wheatear, one White Wagtail, five Bar-tailed Godwits and two Whimbrel were off Fife Ness and at Cameron Reservoir were two Grasshopper Warblers and two Canada Geese. A Sedge Warbler was singing at Boarhills Pond, also four Whimbrel were there. Seen from Coble Shore were eight Pintail, one Little Egret and three Long-tailed Ducks and a scarce Cuckoo was calling at Lockshaw Moss, where a Wheatear was also soon. Seen at Falkland (28th) were one Tree Pipit, three Ravens and one Green Woodpecker and there was a good selection of warblers at Seafield, with one Whitethroat, one Lesser Whitethroat, one Willow Warbler, one Chiffchaff, two Greylags and seen offshore were eight Gannets, 83 Common Scoters and two Sandwich Terns. Two Arctic Skuas were off Kingsbarns Beach, a Bonxie went N past Fife Ness and seen at Guardbridge were a Ruff, 25 Black-tailed Godwits, 11 Long-tailed Ducks, one Slavonian Grebe and three Little Egrets. A Grasshopper Warbler was heard at Seafield, with another heard at Kincardine, four Scaup went past Fife Ness N, a Wheatear was at Dalgety Bay (29th), with two Whimbrel and one Woodcock nearby at Braefoot. A Sedge Warbler was at Stenhouse Reservoir, two more Grasshopper Warblers were at Balgownie Woods and the first Swift of the year was seen at Kilconquhar, where two Sedge Warblers were also seen. Seen off Fife Ness were one Bonxie S, 106 Common Scoters, 96 Sandwich Terns, one Red-throated Diver N, 6S and two Black-throated Divers N and seen off Elie were one Arctic Skua, one Great Northern Diver and six Long-tailed Ducks. The month closed with a Yellow Wagtail (Blue-headed) at Luthrie (30th), two male Ring Ouzels at Anstruther, another Ring Ouzel at Kittock’s Den, two Little Terns and two Grey Plover at Out Head, one Whimbrel and a Common Sandpiper at Seafield, eight Waxwings in Kirkcaldy and three Stonechats, one Wheatear and a Cuckoo in the Lomond Hills.

FBC Annual Awards

Winners of the 2023 FBC annual awards were announced at the April 2024 Indoor Meeting: 

Rarest Bird Found in Mainland FifeJared Wilson, Stejneger’s Scoter, Lower Largo, April-May 2023.

Photograph of the YearSteve Buckland, Sparrowhawk,  (see November 2023 album in the website gallery). 

Inaugural Gerry Owen Bird Quiz –  Team ‘Ferryhills’ (Graham Sparshott, Derek Robertson, Mary Williams, Alistair Cairns)

 

2022

Winners of the 2022 FBC annual awards were announced at the March 2023 Indoor Meeting and, for possibly the first time, the recipients of both awards were the same for two years in a row: 

Rarest Bird Found in Mainland FifeJared Wilson, Stejneger’s Stonechat, Crail, October 2022.

Photograph of the YearKeith Simpson, Jay, Morton Lochs (see January 2022 album in the website gallery). 

 

 

March 2024 Sightings

The redhead Smew was still present at Angle Park GP (3rd) and was seen displaying to a Goldeneye, a Green Woodpecker was seen at Kennoway and the drake Smew continued its stay at Cameron Reservoir, with 12 Whooper Swans, one Brambling, one Little Egret, a pair of Scaup, one Stonechat, four Ravens, c10 Crossbills, two Snipe, one Jay and one Redshank also seen there. Four Whooper Swans were seen heading N over St Andrews, two Red-necked Grebes, seven Slavonian Grebes, one Black-necked Grebe, four Long-tailed Ducks and 14 Velvet Scoters were off Leven and a ringtail Hen Harrier and a Short-eared Owl were seen at East Lomond. A sinensis race Cormorant was present at Loch Gelly (4th), with 10 Goosanders, a Red-breasted Merganser, three Shelducks, 10 Tufted Ducks and c8 Pochard also noted. Two Ravens were seen at St Andrews Castle, a Nuthatch was seen in Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy and seen offshore at Lower Largo were three Slavonian Grebes, 15 Velvet Scoters and 60 Common Scoters. A Black-necked Grebe and 410 Common Scoters were off Leven (6th), c116 Golden Plovers were seen near East Lomond and a Great Northern Diver was off Ruddons Point. The long-staying Black Redstart was still gracing Roome Bay with its presence (7th), a pair of Pintail were at Dalgety Bay and c50 Whooper Swans were in fields NE of Freuchie. A Barn Owl was seen near Dumbarnie.

A Chiffchaff was heard in St Andrews (8th), seven Crossbills were around the sawmill in Devilla Forest, a Ring-necked Parakeet was seen in Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy, two Little Auks were seen heading E at Kinghorn (9th) and as well as a pair of Scaup, a Little Egret, 11 Whooper Swans and a Greenshank, four Crossbills were seen at Cameron Reservoir. Two Merlins were seen N of Carnbee Reservoir and at Redmyre there was an impressive count of c80 Stock Doves, with five Buzzards, four Ravens and a Crossbill also seen. A Merlin, three Woodcocks and a Snipe were seen at Fairmont, St Andrews, another Barn Owl was seen, this time at Lahill Estate, Upper Largo, a pair of Mallard wouldn’t normally get a mention in the monthly sightings, but this pair have the distinction of being the first avian visitors to the new pool at Kilminning (10th). A Red-necked Grebe, a Slavonian Grebe and eight Great Crested Grebes were off Dalgety Bay, and there were six Whooper Swans, 113 Wigeon, one Goosander, 26 Gadwall and 58 Teal at Craigluscar Reservoirs (11th), there were also 10 Snipe. Two Ravens were seen at Kilminning, two Snow Buntings were at Out Head and seen at Clatto Reservoir (12th) were two Crossbills and 87 Wigeon. Seen at Out Head (14th) was a Little Egret, a Slavonian Grebe and c23 Brent Geese.

An early Sandwich Tern was seen off Fife Ness (15th), with two Pintail N, 15 Red-throated Divers N, 54 Kittiwakes N, one Long-tailed Duck N and five Common Scoters S. Nine Slavonian Grebes, 17 Red-throated Divers, 27 Long-tailed Ducks, 22 Velvet Scoters, 291 Common Scoters 117 Razorbills and one Guillemot were off Lower Largo. Two Great Northern Divers, three Slavonian Grebes, two Great Crested Grebes, 90 Red-breasted Mergansers and 60 Bar-tailed Godwits were seen at Ruddons Point, with six Grey Plovers and three Short-eared Owls seen at nearby Cocklemill Marsh. A Slavonian Grebe, one Woodcock, one Little Egret, four Crossbills, two Chiffchaffs, 30 Whooper Swans and one Raven were all seen at Cameron Reservoir, two Short-eared Owls were still showing well at East Lomond and a Red Kite was seen flying E at Newburgh (16th). Seen at Loch Gelly were a pair of Scaup and 55 Whooper Swans. Six Crossbills were seen at Blairadam Forest (17th), one Black-throated Diver, 10 Red-throated Divers, one Slavonian Grebe, 16 Velvet Scoters, nine Common Scoters, 42 Long-tailed Ducks, 95 Razorbills, three Guillemots and one Purple Sandpiper were seen at Lower Largo, a female Ring-necked Duck, two Chiffchaffs and two Jays were at Moor Loch and a pair of Scaup at Loch Gelly were suspected of being Lesser Scaup. These birds were quite distant and seen in poor conditions, but over the next few days, better conditions allowed for images to be checked and they were found to be Greater Scaup. 17 Pintail, including 12 drakes, and four Bar-tailed Godwits were at Torry Bay, two Nuthatches were seen in Balbirnie Park, Markinch (18th), with another bird heard calling at the Falkland Estate (19th). An Osprey was seen going over East Lomond, where c100 Golden Plovers were also seen. Two Red Kites (together) were seen heading over the A91 near Birnie & Gaddon Lochs LNR, a Sand Martin was seen at Letham Pools and seen from Ruddons Point (20th) were a Red-necked Grebe, four Slavonian Grebes, one Great Crested Grebe, 132 Red-breasted Mergansers, 122 Common Scoters, eight Velvet Scoters and 11 Red-throated Divers. A Snow Bunting and 22 Twite were seen at Kingsbarns.

Three Little Egrets were seen at Morton Lochs NNR (22nd), 18 Whooper Swans, a (presumed) sinensis Cormorant, four Cormorants, two Red-breasted Mergansers and one Great Crested Grebe were seen at Cameron Reservoir and a Red Kite was seen at Lucklaw Hill, Balmullo. The female Ring-necked Duck was still present at Moor Loch (23rd) and another Red Kite was seen near Kincraig Point (24th), not too far away at Dumbarnie Links a sub-adult White-tailed Eagle was also seen. Seen off Seafield were 20 Long-tailed Ducks and 250 Common Scoters and a Barn Owl was seen near Crail (26th). A Great Northern Diver, one Slavonian Grebe, 42 Long tailed Ducks, 47 Velvet Scoters and nine Red-throated Divers were seen from Lower Largo, a pair of Snow Buntings were at Out Head and seen at Cocklemill Marsh were a pair of Pintail, a pair of Shoveler and a Short-eared Owl. 35 Whooper Swans passed north over Winifred Crescent, Kirkcaldy (27th) and nearby at Seafield, 17 Purple Sandpipers and 142 Redshanks were counted. One Swallow and one Sand Martin were seen at Letham Pools, c54 Sand Martins, four Chiffchaffs, two Canada Geese, c50 Tufted Ducks, c8 Goldeneye, six Great Crested Grebes and two Buzzards were all noted at Loch Fitty (28th). A Waxwing was heard singing at Newport-on-Tay, a 2nd calendar year Little Gull passed Fife Ness N (29th) and seen on Kilconquhar Loch were a female Long-tailed Duck and seven Red-breasted Mergansers. Another Red Kite was seen drifting north at Cameron Reservoir, a 2nd calendar year Little Gull was seen on Kilconquhar Loch and a Great Northern Diver and 14 Velvet Scoters (passing E) were seen from Ruddons Point. Two Ospreys were seen around Loch Glow (30th) and counted off Leven were seven Slavonian Grebes, 11 Red-throated Divers, 480 Common Scoters and 20 Velvet Scoters, with 105 Velvet Scoters, 295 Common Scoters, 21 Long-tailed Ducks, four Slavonian Grebes and 14 Red-throated Divers seen not far away at Lower Largo. A Jack Snipe was at Cocklemill Marsh, a Black Redstart was seen just outside Boarhills, with a Jack Snipe also seen near the pond. A Short-eared Owl flew over Out Head, an Osprey and c40 Stock Doves were at Cameron Reservoir and a Tawny Owl was in Balbirnie Park. The long-staying drake Smew was still present at Cameron Reservoir on the last day of the month, but the other long-staying bird, the Black Redstart was last reported on the (13th). Both proved very popular.

February 2024 Sightings

A Greenland White-fronted Goose, along with five Barnacle Geese nearby, were all near Pitlessie (1st), with a redhead Smew popping up at Angle Park GP also. A female Marsh Harrier, a Merlin and two Ravens were seen at Newburgh and continuing the good run of Crossbill sightings were 11 at Redmyre, a good selection of grebe species were seen off Leven, with single Black-necked, Red-necked and Great Crested Grebe and five Slavonian Grebes. A Kingfisher was a scarce visitor to an under-watched area of Dunfermline (2nd), the drake Smew was still showing well at Cameron Reservoir alongside a drake Scaup and 11 Whooper Swans, with 21 Crossbills seen in the area too. Two Hen Harriers were seen at Loch Fitty (3rd), with it being a while since there were multiple sightings of these fabulous birds, while two Waxwings flew over Haugh Park in Cupar. The long-staying Black Redstart at Roome Bay, Crail, continued to entertain, five Snow Buntings were still on Kinshaldy Beach and a single Red-necked Grebe was seen off Leven. A Barnacle Goose was with Pink-feet near Otterston Loch (4th) and noted alongside the Red-necked Grebe off Leven were a Slavonian Grebe and two Black-throated Divers. Notable sightings at Loch Fitty were a Little Egret, six Whooper Swans, 50 Canada Geese and two Jays, single Scaup were seen at both Cameron Reservoir and Kinghorn Loch and at Pitreavie GC, Dunfermline there was a sizable count of c70 Siskins. Eight Greenshanks and a Dipper were noted at Newmills Bay (6th) and picked out from a good count of 45 Cormorants at Loch Fitty (7th) were at least two of the sinensis race. Also seen at that site were a Crossbill, 102 Wigeon and 36 Canada Geese. A female Goshawk was seen over the North Haugh, St Andrews, three Waxwings were in Dunfermline and not far away two Hen Harriers were seen well at Knockhill.

Interesting birds continued to be seen in the west of the county with a Jack Snipe, 23 Snipe and a Mediterranean Gull all seen at St Margarets Marsh, Rosyth (8th), seen from Kinghorn (9th) were two Great Northern Divers which flew E, 12 Velvet Scoters E, 60 Kittiwakes and c300 Razorbills and a 1st-winter Little Gull was in a mixed gull and wader flock at West Sands, St Andrews. Seen from Fife Ness (10th) were four 2nd calendar year Little Gulls N, three Great Northern Divers, 91 Long-tailed Ducks- a site record count and also 35 Gannets. A Black Guillemot flew W past Burntisland, where single Razorbill and Red-throated Divers were seen and also seen off Rossend Point, Burntisland was a Red-necked Grebe. Another count of 11 Crossbills came from Redmyre, where three Ravens and 11 Stock Doves were also noted and seen from Kinghorn were a Slavonian Grebe, 40 Long-tailed Ducks, 45 Red-breasted Mergansers, three Red-throated Divers, two Guillemots, 12 Razorbills, 18 Kittiwakes and 20 Fulmars. Seen in the Cameron Reservoir area were a male Merlin, a Brambling and 16 Crossbills while both a Tawny Owl and a Water Rail were heard calling and of course the drake Smew was still showing really well. A Black-necked Grebe, a Red-necked Grebe, 300 Common Scoters and 200 Velvet Scoters were seen off Leven (11th) and amongst a finch flock at Kinshaldy, which included 24 Linnets and two Twite, were six Snow Buntings, with a single Greenshank on the lagoon and at least five Long-tailed Ducks seen on the newly formed pools in the dunes. At least one Waxwing was seen in Kirkcaldy and seen drifting past Ruddons Point was an adult White billed Diver, with a Red-necked Grebe and a Purple Sandpiper also noted at the Point. Nearby on Cocklemill Marsh were a Short-eared Owl, a Little Egret and four Jack Snipe. A Great Northern Diver and a Little Egret were at Tayport, whilst off Kinghorn were a Red-necked Grebe, three Red-throated Divers and 10 Long-tailed Ducks. Noted off Dysart were one Slavonian Grebe, four Red-throated Divers, two Mediterranean Gulls, five Purple Sandpipers, 28 Turnstones, three Velvet Scoters and one Common Scoter. Seen passing Fife Ness were two Black-throated Divers N, 48 Red-throated Divers N, 4S, with a further 19 on the sea. One Puffin was also on the sea and six Little Gulls and four Long-tailed Ducks passed N. A Bearded Tit was heard once more at St Margarets Marsh, Rosyth, two adult Mediterranean Gulls were on the beach at Dysart (12th), with another on the sea, a drake Surf Scoter was seen amongst Velvet Scoters at Tentsmuir Point NNR and Skelpie Farm was added to the list of locations that have hosted a Barn Owl this year, with another seen at Falkland. A Little Egret, a Long-tailed Duck and 12 Crossbills were seen at Tentsmuir (13th) and a Little Egret was a scarce visitor to Cameron Reservoir. Seen off East Wemyss were one Great Northern Diver, 41 Common Scoters, 20 Velvet Scoters and one Long-tailed Duck, back west again and a Nuthatch was seen in Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline and there were counts of 25 Purple Sandpipers and c20 Scaup off St Andrews (14th).

A Water Rail and two Canada Geese were seen at Townhill Loch, Dunfermline (15th), the Greenland White-fronted Goose was still being seen around Pitlessie and a single Hen Harrier was seen at Knockhill. A Long-tailed Duck had taken up residence in Anstruther Harbour (16th) and 22 Whooper Swans were seen just N of Star of Markinch, with six also seen at Clatto Reservoir. Two Nuthatches were seen in Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy, a Barn Owl was seen near Culross and a Merlin was seen near Pittenweem (17th). A Slavonian Grebe was seen off Dalgety Bay and the count at Largo Bay was one Black-throated Diver, six Red-throated Divers, eight Slavonian Grebes, 60 Razorbills, 18 Long-tailed Ducks, 123 Common Scoters, 19 Velvet Scoters, 18 Purple Sandpipers and 12 Twite E. A Great Northern Diver was at Burntisland, two White-fronted Geese and a Barnacle Goose were reported from Pitlessie and seen at Kinshaldy were a Snow Bunting, one Little Egret and 15 Crossbills. Three Little Gulls were seen loitering off Fife Ness and four Common Scoters also passed S. A Black-necked Grebe, three Slavonian Grebes and one Great Crested Grebe were seen from Leven (18th), the Waxwing count at Dunfermline (19th) jumped to five and in a Cairneyhill garden, a flock of 13 Bullfinches was seen. Noted at Loch Fitty were 39 Canada Geese, 54 Cormorants, one Pochard, one Kingfisher, one Jay and eight Crossbills and seen on East Lomond were two Short-eared Owls. Two Little Egrets were seen on Cocklemill Marsh.

c10 Waxwings were seen on a hedge near Balgove, St Andrews (22nd), a Snow Bunting was on West Sands, St Andrews and the count of Whooper Swans near Freuchie (23rd) was 40. There was an excellent count of c100 Pochard at Loch Gelly (24th), four Red-throated Divers passed Fife Ness and a Greenshank was on the Stinky Pool. A Black-necked Grebe, four Red necked Grebes, four Slavonian Grebes, c500 Common Scoters and 15 Red-throated Divers were counted at Leven and counted at Ruddons Point were two Short-eared Owls, two Red throated Divers and one Little Egret. There were still 53 Pochard at Loch Gelly (25th), still an excellent count in modern times, a Great Northern Diver and an adult Little Gull were seen from Kinghorn and seen at St Margarets Marsh, Rosyth, was a Little Egret. A Green Woodpecker was heard calling on the Falkland Estate (26th) and at Tayport a Lapland Bunting, a Little Egret and 14 Whooper Swans were noted, with the Lapland Bunting being a particularly good find, given the downturn in wintering birds in Fife these days. A Little Egret was seen at Easter Kilwhiss and on East Lomond the Short-eared Owl count had doubled to four, a female Marsh Harrier and two Ravens were seen at Newburgh (27th) and at St Margarets Marsh, Rosyth, a Water Pipit and one Jack Snipe were seen well. six Crossbills were seen at Lochmill, Newburgh (28th) and at St Margarets Marsh, Rosyth, three Jack Snipe, one Peregrine and one Bearded Tit were seen. As well as three Short-eared Owls at East Lomond, six Crossbills were also seen and slightly west of Cocklemill Burn, five Snow Buntings were seen on the beach and the redhead Smew at Angle Park GP, the drake Smew at Cameron Reservoir and the Black Redstart at Roome Bay, Crail, all continued their long stays in the Kingdom.

January 2024 Sightings

2024 started relatively mild, weather-wise and the 1st saw quite a few birds being reported. A Little Auk was close inshore at Fife Ness, also one Black Guillemot S and four Little Gulls passing, c30 Twite were on the shore at Carrick Villa, Lower Largo, the 1st winter drake Scaup was still present at Kinghorn Loch and a Kingfisher at St Margaret’s Marsh, Rosyth, was an unusual visitor there. The Black Redstart was still present at Roome Bay, Crail, 22 Brent Geese, one Kingfisher and two Little Egrets were seen at the Eden Estuary LNR and two Slavonian Grebes were off Out Head. 20 Whooper Swans and two Goosanders were at Craigluscar, two Crossbills were seen near Knockhill and the first of a few Barn Owls seen in the early part of January, was seen at the Parbroath Crossroads. Seen from Fife Ness (2nd) were a Black Guillemot on the sea, 50 Common Scoters S, three Gannets N and three Red-throated Divers S, 102 Twite and a female Merlin were at Balcomie Cottages and seen from Kinghorn were two Great Northern Divers, two Red-necked Grebes, nine Red-throated Divers, 126 Long-tailed Ducks, one Slavonian Grebe and an adult Little Gull. A Merlin was on the track at Cameron Reservoir, where the pair of Scaup and the Slavonian Grebe were still present, a solitary Snow Bunting was at Out Head and seen at Burntisland were 12 Great Crested Grebes, 21 Kittiwakes, one Long-tailed Duck and 26 Bar-tailed Godwits. 11 Waxwings were seen in Balmullo (3rd) and the large flock of Bramblings (c130) were still at Guardbridge and noted passing Fife Ness were a Great Skua N and three Little Gulls (two adults and one 2nd calendar year). 10 Crossbills were seen at Clatto Reservoir and off Dalgety Bay was a Slavonian Grebe. The 11 Waxwings were still at Balmullo (4th), a Little Egret was seen from the Coastal Path at Kilrenny Mill, the Slavonian Grebe, a drake Pintail and five Crossbills were seen at Cameron Reservoir, the 26 Brent Geese at Coble Shore included a Dark-bellied Brent Goose, two Greenshanks were also present. Seen from Dalgety Bay were two Great Northern Divers and one Long-tailed Duck and counted at Bowhouse Farm, St Monans (5th) were 30 Corn Buntings and six Grey Partridges, c800 Pink-feet were in fields to the NW of Anstruther and seen around the Newmills Bay area were one Bar-tailed Godwit, four Greenshanks, one Kingfisher, c40 Siskins and three Snipe. Five Red-throated Divers, a Velvet Scoter and a Long-tailed Duck were in Dysart Harbour, a Great Northern Diver, one Little Egret, 122 Velvet Scoters and 50 Common Scoters were at Ruddons Point and seen from Lower Largo were three Great Northern Divers. A drake Smew, the Slavonian Grebe, a Long-tailed Duck, two Scaup and 12 Crossbills were at Cameron Reservoir, three Red-breasted Mergansers and nine Goosanders were on Loch Gelly and a female Marsh Harrier was seen at Newburgh (6th). 13 Whooper Swans and eight Snipe were counted at Letham Pools, and nine Ravens were seen in a field at the Bow of Fife, 160 Golden Plovers were seen on East Lomond in the Lomond Hills and seen at Coble Shore were six Pale-bellied Brent Geese, seven Greenshanks and three Slavonian Grebes. A good count of Whooper Swans, 42, was made at Bow of Fife, where c1000 Pink-footed Geese were also seen and seen from the Golf Museum Car Park, St Andrews were 32 Scaup, 144 Long-tailed Ducks, 2500 Common Scoters and 50 Velvet Scoters. Also noted in St Andrews were two adult Little Gulls SE over Bogward Road, very unusual. Four Snow Buntings were seen at Kinshaldy (7th), a male Merlin, 30 Whooper Swans and c5 Ravens were seen at Letham Pools, three Slavonian Grebes, 94 Black-tailed Godwits and a Peregrine were seen at the Eden Estuary LNR, a Little Egret was still present at Cocklemill Marsh and by the end of the first week the Black Redstart was still showing well at Roome Bay, Crail. A Black necked Grebe was also a good find off Leven.

A drake Smew was reported at Guardbridge (8th), two Bearded Tits, two Snipe, c6 Reed Buntings, one Sparrowhawk and 80 Pink-footed Geese were seen at St Margaret’s Marsh, Rosyth and there was a good count of 24 Whooper Swans at Star Moss, which included six juveniles. Five Whooper Swans were also seen passing over Bow of Fife S and these included one juvenile, also noted were seven Ravens N. Continuing the upturn in Barn Owl sightings was one near Tayport and seen at St Margaret’s Marsh, Rosyth (9th) were one adult Mediterranean Gull and the very unusual sight of at least 40 Blue Tits in a single bush! The next day at St Margaret’s Marsh, Rosyth a Bearded Tit was seen briefly and heard, the drake Smew, one Snipe and 12 Crossbills were all seen at Cameron Reservoir. Heard on the Rankeilour Estate (11th) were a vocal Chiffchaff plus at least two pairs of Nuthatches, a Little Egret was still to be seen along the Coastal Path at Cellardyke and at Donibristle, two Whooper Swans were amongst the eight Mute Swans there. Seen from Fife Ness (13th) were four 2nd calendar year Little Gulls, a further three Little Gulls, 35 Red-throated Divers, 17 Purple Sandpipers and one Black Guillemot S, an adult male Hen Harrier was seen between Rathillet and Kilmany and at Lower Largo one Red-necked Grebe and eight Purple Sandpipers were present. An adult White-tailed Eagle was on the north bank of Eden Estuary LNR, c90 Twite were at Coble Shore and counted at Tentsmuir Point NNR were c3500 Eiders, a redhead Smew and a pair of Long-tailed Ducks. A Little Egret passed Boarhills SE, with 20 Twite and four Greenshanks also noted there, off Fife Ness (14th) were seven 2nd calendar year Little Gulls lingering offshore. Another Barn Owl was seen near Auchtermuchty and alongside the 18 Whooper Swans at Craigluscar were 21 Gadwall, three Goosanders and 101 Wigeon. Not far away at Lochhead Landfill Site, c800 Pink-footed Geese were present. Three Scaup and seven Goosanders were at Loch Gelly, 40 Twite were around Boghall Farm, Kingsbarns and a Jack Snipe was seen at St Margaret’s Marsh, Rosyth. Counted at Torry as part of the Winter Gull Survey were c700 Common Gulls, with 16 Pintail and two Greenshanks also noted. Both the Black Redstart at Crail and the drake Smew and Crossbill flocks at Cameron Reservoir were still showing well up to the end of that week.

A mixed flock of c500 Redwings and Fieldfares were seen at Cellardyke (15th), a Barn Owl was seen at Falkland and on Kinshaldy Beach (16th) were five Snow Buntings, a flock of 25 Waxwings were seen in Guardbridge and as part of the Winter Gull Survey, two Mediterranean Gulls, 750 Black-headed Gulls, 300 Common Gulls, 700 Herring Gulls, 30 Kittiwakes and three Great Black-backed Gulls were counted at Burntisland. A Nuthatch was an unusual visitor to Newburgh and seen at Valleyfield Lagoons (17th) were a Woodcock, a Water Rail and a Sparrowhawk, with two Woodcocks also seen at Cullaloe LNR. A ringtail Hen Harrier was seen flying over the reeds at the west end of Loch Fitty, the 200 Skylarks seen in the stubble at Letham Pools were probably part of a cold weather movement, another Barn Owl was seen between Auchtermuchty and Strathmiglo and the Bearded Tits were seen briefly again at St Margaret’s Marsh, Rosyth (18th). Seen off Dalgety Bay were a Great Northern Diver, three Whooper Swans and one Shoveler, 11 Golden Plovers were noted at Kilminning and off Fife Ness (19th), were seven 2nd calendar year Little Gulls N and a Black Guillemot on the sea. A Long-tailed Duck was in Anstruther Harbour and the count of Whooper Swans at Star Moss had risen to 46, which included six juveniles. A 2nd winter Glaucous Gull was a good find in a mixed gull flock at Tayport and seen from Fife Ness (20th) were three Little Auks (2S, 1N) and a Great Northern Diver N. A single Greenshank was at Dalgety Bay, with three seen at Coble Shore, where 10 Brent Geese and one Slavonian Grebe were also noted. A Pacific Diver was reported from Burntisland Docks and counted from Fife Ness (21st) were two Black Guillemots S, five Little Gulls (3 adults and two 2nd calendar year), three Great Northern Divers, 69 Red throated Divers, 62 Long-tailed Ducks, 22 Common Scoters, one Velvet Scoter and six Gannets. A total of 56 Crossbills were seen around Pitmedden Forest with two Woodcocks and a Raven also seen. A Black-throated Diver, two Purple Sandpipers and 96 Golden Plovers were seen at Kingsbarns and a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen at Cameron Reservoir, with the drake Smew still present there and the Black Redstart at Crail was also still present up to the end of that week.

Eight Barnacle Geese were among c1000 Pink-feet in a field at the west end of Clatto Reservoir (22nd), the large flock of c200 Bramblings were seen again at Guardbridge (23rd), a White-tailed Eagle went N over Leuchars Camp, a drake Pintail was an early visitor to Letham Pools and two Waxwings were welcome visitors to a Cellardyke garden (24th). A Barn Owl was seen at Balgownie, a pair of Pochard and a drake Scaup were at Cameron Reservoir (25th), seen at Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline were two Nuthatches, with another also heard, the flock of c20 Waxwings were still at Leuchars (26th) and seen off Fife Ness (27th) were a Black Guillemot S, two Little Gulls offshore and one Great Northern Diver S. A White-tailed Eagle and a Slavonian Grebe were seen at Out Head and a smaller flock of Bramblings, c60, were still at Guardbridge. The juvenile Long-tailed Duck was still present at Kilconquhar Loch and six Barnacle Geese were in with 1000 Pink-feet at Balbuthie. Seen on Kinshaldy Beach (28th) were five Snow Buntings and two Little Egrets, at least five Waxwings were still at Leuchars and alongside the group of six Pale-bellied Brent Geese at Balgove Bay was a single Dark-bellied Brent Goose. The Brambling flock numbered c100 at Guardbridge, the redhead Smew was still present at Angle Park GP and seen at Coble Shore (29th) were 10 Brent Geese, 11 Pintail, three Little Egrets and two Greenshanks. Two Waxwings flew over the park in Guardbridge and heard on the Falkland Estate (30th) were two Tawny Owls duetting, a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen heading W at Kilmany, a Black-necked Grebe, one Red-necked Grebe and c2 Slavonian Grebes were seen off Leven and off Lower Largo were two Red-necked Grebes and seven Slavonian Grebes. Two Mediterranean Gulls, three drake Velvet Scoters and two Long-tailed Ducks were at Dysart and a there was a good count of 56 Long-tailed Ducks made off Kirkcaldy, three Crossbills were seen in Devilla Forest and a Barn Owl was seen near Dunshalt. Seen from Ravenscraig Castle, Kirkcaldy (31st) were a Black-necked Grebe, two Red-throated Divers, two Black-throated Divers, 20 Long-tailed Ducks and one Velvet Scoter, a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen near Cowdenbeath and c60 Whoopers Swans were seen near Freuchie. The Black Redstart at Roome Bay, Crail and the drake Smew at Cameron Reservoir were both seen up to the (30th) of the month.

December 2023 Sightings

The first few days in December brought a few days of snow, but good birds were still seen. A Black Guillemot, one Red-necked Grebe and one Great Northern Diver were seen from Ruddons Point (1st) and nearby at Cocklemill Marsh 100 Twite and a Little Egret were seen, a Long-tailed Duck was an unusual visitor to Kilconquhar Loch with a Chiffchaff also seen there. At Newburgh a female Marsh Harrier was seen and at Cameron Reservoir four Woodcocks flew out of the woods at dusk while a Long-eared Owl was watched hunting along the track towards the Kirk. A Barn Owl was seen at the south of Glenrothes and a few Waxwings were still present in the first week of December with c10 noted at Rumblingwell, Dunfermline (2nd). At Balbuthie Farm, Elie 800 Pink-footed Geese, and c50 Golden Plovers were seen, two Jack Snipe were seen at the River Eden, Cupar, two Black-necked Grebes and two Great Northern Divers were seen off Leven Beach and c25 Crossbills were seen in Heatherhall Woods, Ladybank (3rd). The Waxwing count at Rumblingwell, Dunfermline rose to c20, a Merlin was watched hunting at St Andrews, a Brambling was in Lumbo Den, St Andrews and three Ravens passed over Spinkie Den, St Andrews. 21 Little Gulls passed Fife Ness N (4th), a Dark-bellied Brent Goose was amongst the Pale-bellied Brent Geese at Kincaple, nine Snow Buntings were at Out Head and the Waxwing count had crept up to 33 at Rumblingwell, Dunfermline (5th), with a further 14 seen at Townhill Loch. The Black Redstart was still showing well at Roome Bay, Crail, an adult Mediterranean Gull was seen feeding in stubble W of Loch Gelly (6th), also two Jack Snipe were flushed from rough grassland and 40 Tree Sparrows were also seen. Four Waxwings passed over Rumblingwell, Dunfermline, a Raven passed over Balbirnie, Markinch (7th) and a Common Chiffchaff was at The Spinney, Dalgety Bay.

A White-tailed Eagle was seen at Kilmany (8th). A female Scaup, eight Crossbills and 133 Goldeneye were noted at Cameron Reservoir (9th) and at St Margaret’s Marsh, Rosyth a Bearded Tit was heard calling from the NW side. Seen from Fife Ness were two Little Auks S, one Little Gull S, 205 Common Scoters S and five Long-tailed Ducks S and noted passing there (10th) were one Little Auk N, two Little Gulls N, 412 Common Scoters, 21 Long-tailed Ducks S, one Black-throated Diver N and 15 Red-throated Divers S. Seen again at Roome Bay, Crail was the Black Redstart, at Kilconquhar Loch, an immature drake Scaup, one Water Rail, one Kingfisher were noted as well as a couple of unusual visitors, with a Slavonian Grebe and Long-tailed Duck seen, while 137 Goldeneye were also counted. Five Waxwings were reported from Wormit and seen from Kinghorn (11th) was a Grey Phalarope, two Red-necked Grebes, two Slavonian Grebes and 61 Long-tailed Ducks. A single adult Little Gull was in a large gull flock off St Andrews Pier (12th), three Goosanders, nine Pochard, 128 Teal and an adult Mediterranean Gull were at Loch Gelly (13th) and a count at Valleyfield Lagoons included 29 Snipe, 25 Ringed Plovers and a Short-Eared Owl. Three juveniles were amongst the 19 Whooper Swans at Craigluscar and at Cellardyke, eight Waxwings were seen, whilst a Little Egret was seen nearby at St Monans. Seven Snow Buntings were on the beach at Kinshaldy, a 1st winter drake Scaup was in the SE corner of Kinghorn Loch, a Barn Owl was seen at Freuchie.

The Black Redstart was still to be seen in Roome Bay, Crail (15th). A drake Smew, c20 Crossbills, one Kingfisher, two Jays and a ringtail Hen Harrier were all seen at Cameron Reservoir, c80 Bramblings were seen in Guardbridge and at Cameron Reservoir (16th) as well as the drake Smew, a female Scaup, a Slavonian Grebe, one Merlin, nine Crossbills and five Pintail were seen. One Little Auk was seen passing Fife Ness, two Greenshanks, two Little Egrets and 22 Twite were at Coble Shore and an adult female Marsh Harrier was seen at Newburgh, whilst at Rossie Bog, a Short-eared Owl was seen well. Two Little Auks passed Fife Ness S (17th), a Mealy Redpoll was seen amongst a flock of c40 Lesser Redpolls in St Andrews and also seen to the south of St Andrews was a hunting ringtail Hen Harrier. The flock of Bramblings in Guardbridge had risen to c100, a Scaup was in the NE corner of Kinghorn Loch (18th) and at Rossie Bog a Short-eared Owl, 14 Whooper Swans and c160 Teal were seen. In the Bow of Fife area two flocks of Whooper Swans totaling 38 were seen, these flocks also included three juveniles. The drake Smew was still present at Cameron Reservoir, a ringtail Hen Harrier was watched hunting at Rossie Bog (19th) and the excellent count of 13 Greenshanks at Torry Bay was the highest count the observer had ever noted at that site. A Merlin, a ringtail Hen Harrier and a female Scaup were seen at Cameron Reservoir, a Merlin was also seen at Parbroath Crossroads and a very unusual inland report of a Great Northern Diver came from Lochore Meadows CP. The three Snipe seen at Strathkinness (20th) was a first in the village for the observer, a Nuthatch was seen in Ravenscraig Park, Kirkcaldy (21st) and a Barn Owl was seen at Letham Pools.

Seen from Fife Ness (22nd) were a 1st calendar year Iceland Gull N, four Black Guillemots S and one Little Auk S. A Barn Owl was seen near Wormit (23rd) and noted passing Fife Ness (24th) were three Little Auks, one Black Guillemot S and one Black-throated Diver N. Seen at Cameron Reservoir were two Scaup and three Crossbills, c400 Pink-footed Geese were in fields near Kinglassie and seen from Fife Ness (26th) were one Little Auk N, six Little Gull S, 203 Common Scoters, one Velvet Scoter, eight Long-tailed Ducks and six Gannets, c2000 Pink-feet were in a winter grass field near Cellardyke and seen at Loch Fitty were 84 Canada Geese, two Whooper Swans, two Goosanders and a Great Crested Grebe. The Black Redstart was still present at Roome Bay, Crail up to (26th). There was a good count of c10 Pintail and a Raven at Torryburn, a Barn Owl was seen near Tayport and a female Marsh Harrier was seen at Newburgh (28th).

Noted passing Fife Ness were one 1st calendar year Little Gull, one Black-throated Diver N, 180 Common Scoters S, two Velvet Scoters S, 19 Long-tailed Ducks S one Goldeneye S, one Shelduck S, five Gannets, 40 Fulmars, 100 Kittiwakes, 60 Razorbills and 20 Guillemots. At the Bow of Fife 69 Whooper Swans including four juveniles were seen in the area, a Slavonian Grebe was on Loch Gelly (29th) and present at Cameron Reservoir were two Scaup, one Long-tailed Duck, one Slavonian Grebe, two Ravens and 16 Crossbills. Seen from the Golf Museum Car Park, St Andrews were c20 Scaup and c100 Long-tailed Ducks, seven Snow Buntings were near the lagoon at Tentsmuir Point NNR and two drake and one female Long-tailed Ducks and a Slavonian Grebe were on the dune slack near the car park at Kinshaldy. Given the relative scarcity of geese around in December, the count of 850 Pink-feet near St Andrews was welcome! Seen from Fife Ness were an adult Little Gull and 26 Long-tailed Ducks S and the Black Redstart was last reported from Roome Bay, Crail. An adult Mediterranean Gull, one Red-necked Grebe, one Great Northern Diver and four ‘Scandinavian Herring Gulls’ were seen from Kinghorn (30th) and close by at Kinghorn Loch, the drake Scaup was still present. c190 Common Scoters, five Long-tailed Ducks and one Red-throated Diver all passed Fife Ness S, a Water Rail and at least three Ravens were seen at Carnbee Reservoir. There was a great count of c3000 Knot, 37 Scaup, three Pintail and two Slavonian Grebes made at Out Head and the last day of the year saw three Little Auks S, seven Little Gulls offshore, 43 Long-tailed Ducks S, 670 Common Scoters S, nine Velvet Scoters S and 26 Red-throated Divers pass Fife Ness. Finally for the year, a flock of 21 Snow Buntings were seen on East Lomond.

Monthly sighting summaries are based on information submitted to the Fife Bird News WhatsApp group. A full list of contributors is published in Scope. Thank you.

November 2023 Sightings

November started with a very welcome influx of Waxwings to the County, with most seeming to return to previous “regular” sites. Five were in a Cellardyke garden, c18 were at Cowdenbeath Leisure Centre, c22 were in St Andrews and there were 11 at the Victoria Road Car Wash in Kirkcaldy (1st). Two Velvet Scoters, 248 Common Scoters and a good count of 130 Long-tailed Ducks were seen from Kinghorn and a Slavonian Grebe was an unusual visitor to Beveridge Park Pond, Kirkcaldy, as was a Dipper there the same day, a Great Grey Shrike was a great find at lower Kilminning (2nd), 17 Waxwings were still present at Cowdenbeath Leisure Centre and two were seen at Kinghorn Loch, as were two Crossbills, more Waxwings were seen at Ferry Hills, with six noted there, along with 27 Barnacle Geese, 19 Red-throated Divers and 16 Crossbills. Clatto Reservoir had four Crossbills and 11 Whooper Swans, an adult Mediterranean Gull was seen amongst the gulls on the playing fields at Queen Anne High School, Dunfermline. Also in Dunfermline, three Waxwings were heard flying over near Lynebank Hospital, two Swallows were seen at Dalgety Bay, as was a scarce (for this site) Little Egret, nine Little Gulls were also noted. In St Andrews (3rd) c20 Waxwings were seen at the North Haugh, with a further 12 seen at Spinkie Crescent, another late Swallow was seen at lower Kilminning, as were two Northern Bullfinches, at least two Mealy Redpolls, with two Lesser Redpolls and two Blackcaps. A scarce White-tailed Eagle was seen on a post from Out Head, a solitary Waxwing flew over Crail (4th), c50 were seen in Ravenscraig Park, Kirkcaldy, seven were at Hallow Hill, St Andrews, with another c30 near Aldi, three were noted at Lower Largo and there was an excellent count of c120 in Kirkcaldy, with another single bird seen amongst thrushes in Cupar. Seven Whooper Swans were seen at Crossford, a late Wheatear was at Dysart, a Merlin was on the rocks at Fife Ness, a single Mealy Redpoll was amongst Lesser Redpolls at Hallow Hill, St Andrews, with a Raven over there also. The highlights at Ferry Hills were one Red Kite NE, 27 Red-throated Divers flew W inland and 35 Crossbills. A Great Northern Diver was seen off Out Head, as were three Slavonian Grebes, another Slavonian Grebe turned up at an unusual location, with one on Kilconquhar Loch, where a Chiffchaff was also present. Seven Swallows at Elie was a good group count so late in the year, a Short-eared Owl and three Woodcocks were at Boarhills and a Goshawk was watched at Morton Lochs NNR, where at least four Bramblings were also present. Two Snow Buntings were seen at Out Head, another Short-eared Owl was at Methil and a Little Egret was an unusual visitor to Pittenweem. 10 Pintail and nine Whooper Swans were counted at Torry Bay, a Barn Owl was seen near Dunshalt and 23 Waxwings were seen at Balmullo (5th). c20 Waxwings were still around Aldi in St Andrews, with a good count of 65 at Auchterlonie Court in St Andrews and the count of Waxwings had dropped to one at Cowdenbeath Leisure Centre. The Wheatear was still present at the Bruce Embankment car park, St Andrews and a count from Fife Ness produced one Little Auk N, five Little Gulls, 52 Red-throated Divers, 98 Common Scoters, three Velvet Scoters, eight Long-tailed Ducks and two Purple Sandpipers. The Black Redstart was seen again at the Bruce Embankment car park, St Andrews, another was seen at Roome Bay, Crail, with a further bird seen at Sauchope Caravan Park, Crail also. 23 Whooper Swans flew over Cellardyke, a Slavonian Grebe was a rare visitor to Loch Gelly, a Snow Bunting was seen on West Sands, St Andrews and 11 Little Egrets were seen flying past St Andrews Castle. A drake Surf Scoter was seen from Tentsmuir Point NNR, with c30 Velvet Scoters, at least two Slavonian Grebes and two Great Northern Divers also noted offshore. Four Snow Buntings were also seen on the beach. A Short-eared Owl was seen again at Boarhills, with two Red-throated Divers and three Greenshanks also noted there, a Slavonian Grebe, one Greenshank, nine Whooper Swans and two Twite were at Coble Shore, with five Twite also seen at Elie. 25 Whooper Swans were seen at Rossie Bog, a Short-eared Owl was at Cameron Reservoir and a drake Surf Scoter was seen from Ruddons Point (6th). A Little Egret was seen from the Coastal Path at Cellardyke and in Guardbridge 18 Waxwings were seen near the Mill, c60 were still at Auchterlonie Court, St Andrews and c40 were in Kirkcaldy and at Loch Fitty a Slavonian Grebe was an unusual visitor, while the Slavonian Grebe at Kilconquhar Loch was still present. A female Scaup was at Loch Gelly, 11 Snow Buntings were at Tentsmuir Point NNR, a Little Egret was again at Dalgety Bay (7th) and now seemed to become a daily visitor, two Slavonian Grebes and four Scaup were now at Loch Gelly, there were five Waxwings in a Cellardyke garden, c10 at North Haugh, St Andrews, with 45 seen on Bogward Road, St Andrews also. At Out Head, six Little Egrets were unusual, as were the 12 Greenfinches seen feeding on the strand line, a female Marsh Harrier was seen over Mugdrum Island and a swift sp. seen over Crail caused much excitement, but after studying images and videos the opinion was that it was a Common Swift.

c35 Waxwings were seen at the east end of Oriel Road, Kirkcaldy (8th), with a further c40 still at Victoria Road, also in Kirkcaldy. Seen at Stenhouse Reservoir was a Green Sandpiper, two juvenile Marsh Harriers were seen at Rossie Bog and the Slavonian Grebe was still at Beveridge Park Pond, Kirkcaldy. A Great Northern Diver was an unusual visitor at Valleyfield Lagoons (9th) seen from the sea wall, five Waxwings were at Lade Braes, St Andrews, with 12 at Greenside Place, c60 at Fraser Avenue and four at Bogward Road, all in St Andrews. Also seen at Bogward Road, St Andrews were one Brambling and 71 Siskins, one Slavonian Grebe was still at Loch Gelly, where two Long-tailed Ducks were also unusual visitors, eight Pochard and eight Whooper Swans were also notable counts there. A Great White Egret was seen at Cameron Reservoir (10th), 12 Waxwings were near Morrisons, St Andrews, with c60 near the Centre for Biological Diversity, St Andrews, 12 were also seen on Regents Way, Dalgety Bay. The Green Sandpiper was still at Stenhouse Reservoir, with a Raven noted there also, the Slavonian Grebe was still present at Loch Fitty, at Craigluscar, nine Whooper Swans were noted and at Magus Muir a possible Continental Coal Tit was seen amongst a flock of Coal Tits, with nine Bramblings, c25 Redpolls, a Raven and six Jays together, also noted there. An adult female Marsh Harrier was seen at Mugdrum Island and two Barn Owls were seen between Freuchie and Dunshalt. Seen from Fife Ness (11th) were a Little Auk N and six Little Gulls offshore, the highlights at Ferry Hills were one Hawfinch NW and 22 Waxwings SW across the Forth. 30 Waxwings were at Oriel Road, Kirkcaldy, while the counts of this species in St Andrews were three in Buchanan Gardens, c50 on Scooniehill Road, 10 at the Bute Building and two at the Hospital. Single Twite and Snow Bunting were seen at Coble Shore, a male Merlin was seen at Newburgh, where four Long-tailed Ducks were unusual visitors there, also noted were 270 Goldeneye and five Scaup. Seen at Rossie Bog were a Marsh Harrier and c1000 Pink-footed Geese over NW and seen at Pillars of Hercules, Falkland was a solitary Barn Owl. Six Waxwings were still on Oriel Road, Kirkcaldy (12th), with five also at Lade Braes, St Andrews, a Little Egret was seen on the Stinky Pool at Fife Ness, at Coble Shore one Snow Bunting, one Greenshank, seven Little Egrets, c4 Slavonian Grebes and two Long-tailed Ducks were noted. A seawatch off Fife Ness produced three Little Auks S and nine Little Gulls N, a Marsh Harrier was seen at Rossie Bog and 15 Snow Buntings were at Craigmead in the Lomond Hills. At least 15 Waxwings were at Fife Park, St Andrews (13th), a Jack Snipe was a good find at Kilmany, as was a Ring Ouzel amongst the Blackbirds at upper Kilminning (14th), the Mediterranean Gull was still to be seen on the playing fields at Queen Anne High School, Dunfermline and a Barn Owl was seen near Burntisland. Seen from Anstruther (15th) was a Leach’s Petrel, Waxwings were still present, but in smaller numbers, with 12 over Churchill Crescent, St Andrews (16th), five at Culross Primary School and 40 on Haugh Road, Burntisland. A Nuthatch was seen in Kirkcaldy and a confiding Shore Lark at Out Head proved very popular, 16 Snow Buntings, one Mealy Redpoll, c300 Long-tailed Ducks, c40 Velvet Scoters, c15 Slavonian Grebes and two Great Northern Divers were seen at Tentsmuir Point NNR, the Scaup count at Loch Gelly (17th) rose to seven, as did the Pochard count there, which rose to 98, a great count in modern times. Also still present there was the Slavonian Grebe. A Bonxie was a good late record from Anstruther and at Out Head, as well as the Shore Lark, a Lapland Bunting was also seen briefly amongst the Greenfinches and Linnets feeding on the strand line. A Woodcock was at upper Kilminning, a Chiffchaff was seen at Craigluscar, a single Marsh Harrier was at Rossie Bog, with three Red-legged Partridges also noted there. Waxwing counts came from The Wynd, Dalgety Bay, with c50, four on Largo Road, St Andrews, c50 at Dunnikier Primary School, Kirkcaldy and 17 seen at St Margaret’s Marsh, Rosyth. Also seen there was the elusive Water Pipit, two Stonechats and three Common Scoters and a Red-throated Diver were off the sea wall. Still present at Cameron Reservoir was the Slavonian Grebe, with a good count of 26 Crossbills there also. A Nuthatch was seen in Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy and two Red-necked Grebes were seen from Ruddons Point. There was a good count of 105 Twite at Coble Shore (18th), and an adult male Hen Harrier was seen at Cocklemill Marsh, a Black Guillemot was off Leven and seen from Fife Ness were a Little Auk and three Little Gulls, the only Waxwings reported this day were 25 over Nelson Street, Kirkcaldy. A group of four Great Northern Divers and one Black-throated Diver flew high inland at Ferry Hills (19th), 15 Crossbills were seen in Pitmedden Forest, an adult Mediterranean Gull was at Rossend Point, Burntisland and Waxwings were seen at Rossie Bog, with two there and c20 were on Broomfaulds Avenue, St Andrews. Also seen at Rossie Bog were four Ravens, four Stonechats, one Water Rail heard, one Marsh Harrier and a Black-tailed Godwit. Five Snow Buntings were on the beach at Tentsmuir Point NNR, a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen at Cocklemill Marsh, a single Snow Bunting, seven Slavonian Grebes, 19 Long-tailed Ducks and an unusual count of 11 Little Egrets were noted at Out Head. A Marsh Harrier was seen again at Rossie Bog (20th), with an adult female Marsh Harrier also seen from Newburgh. A Little Egret was seen on Cocklemill Burn (20th) and seen from Bogward Road were a Brambling and 27 Golden Plovers over. The only count of Waxwings today was five in Dunfermline. A great count of 73 Red-throated Divers was made at Ferry Hills (21st), with the largest flock being 32.

At Kilconquhar Loch (22nd), the Slavonian Grebe was still present, the Black-tailed Godwit and Marsh Harrier were still at Rossie Bog, a Long-eared Owl was a good find near Burntisland and the only Waxwings reported today were c20 on Largo Road, St Andrews. Seen from West Sands, St Andrews (24th) were one Little Auk N and c36 Scaup, a hybrid Hooded Crow was seen in Newmills Bay, with five Greenshanks and a Kingfisher also noted. A seawatch at Fife Ness produced 12 Little Auks S, 18 Little Gulls N, one late Sooty Shearwater N, 32 Gannets N, three Great Northern Divers N and 10 Red-throated Divers. A Short-eared Owl and a Water Rail were reported from Valleyfield Lagoons, eight Little Auks S, another late Sooty Shearwater N and a late Manx Shearwater N, were seen from Fife Ness (25th), the Slavonian Grebe was still at Cameron Reservoir, where a Long-tailed Duck was another unusual visitor. An adult female Marsh Harrier was seen over Mugdrum Island and seen from the Aquarium, St Andrews were one Great Northern Diver, one Little Auk S, 75 Long-tailed Ducks and 55 Scaup. In an autumn which has been good for Crossbills, 17 at the Wilderness was a good count, with 12 also at Cameron Reservoir that day. Seen from Fife Ness (26th) were 16 Little Auks, one Black Guillemot S, two Puffins and three Little Gulls loitering, at least 19 Twite were seen at Kingsbarns, 19 Crossbills were seen at Star Moss and a Red-necked Grebe was seen off Silver Sands, Aberdour. Off Lower Largo were five Slavonian Grebes, 14 Long-tailed Ducks and two Red-throated Divers, with three Twite also seen there. At Mairsland Farm, Auchtermuchty, 24 Tree Sparrows was the highest count seen there, the Long-tailed Duck and eight Crossbills were at Cameron Reservoir (27th). Whooper Swans were relatively scarce in the autumn in Fife this year, after their arrivals, so 26 at Howe of Fife (28th) was welcome, the Snow Bunting count had risen to 23 at Tentsmuir Point NNR and the six Greenshanks at the mouth of the Bluther Burn, Torry Bay was the highest count there this year. The ringtail Hen Harrier was still present at Cocklemill Marsh, where a single Little Egret and c35 Twite were also seen. The immature male Black Redstart was still present at Roome Bay, Crail (29th), as was the ringtail Hen Harrier at Cocklemill Marsh. The count of Twite at Coble Shore rose to 120 and seen from Fife Ness (30th) were two Little Auks and 12 Purple Sandpipers. A Great Northern Diver and a Slavonian Grebe were seen from Aberdour Harbour and on the last day of the month Waxwings were reported from Dunfermline, with 23 in Rumblingwell and a single bird heard at Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy.

Monthly sighting summaries are based on information submitted to the Fife Bird News WhatsApp group. A full list of contributors is published in Scope. Thank you.

October 2023 Sightings

For many birders October is THE month in the autumn for migrant birds and always hope for a spell of easterly winds to bring these birds to the county, well this year certainly did that, with pretty much an easterly airstream for the whole of the month. Some heavy rain and very strong tidal swells caused many problems too. At the Eden Estuary LNR 12 Greenshanks were notable (1st), alongside nine Little Egrets, two Ruff and a Red- throated Diver, a female Marsh Harrier was seen at Mugdrum Island (2nd) and seen off Kinghorn that day were two Manx Shearwaters and a Bonxie. Watched heading west up the Forth from Ferry Hills (3rd) were 10 Taiga Bean Geese, presumably birds heading to their regular wintering grounds at Slamannan, a Marsh Harrier was watched near Tayport and noted off Fife Ness (4th) were two Red-throated Divers, one Manx Shearwater, six Common Scoters and five Teal, all heading S. Also noted there were six Knot, 14 Turnstones and a Purple Sandpiper. A smattering of hirundines are usually seen passing through at this time of year, so five Swallows seen heading S at Strathkinness (5th) were worthy of note. The counts from Fife Ness that day were 62 Redthroated Divers S, one Black-throated Diver S, one Velvet Scoter S, 42 Common Scoters N, 13S, 40 Little Gulls, two Manx Shearwaters N, 1S, one Arctic Skua N, six Barnacle Geese S, with 30 seen going inland, and 30 Pink-footed Geese S. The next day at Fife Ness the counts were six Red-throated Divers S, two Arctic Terns S, four Wigeon S, five Goosanders S, a Kestrel and a Greenshank. c200 Golden Plovers were noted at Kilrenny (6th), from the Eden Estuary Centre, four Red-throated Divers and five Razorbills were seen in the main channel, also seen were four Curlew Sandpipers and c100 Golden Plovers and eight Whooper Swans. 33 Barnacle Geese, three Scaup and a Great Crested Grebe were seen from the Eden Estuary Centre (7th), with a Chiffchaff also noted at the Centre. A ringtail Hen Harrier was reported from Coaltown of Balgonie and at Lindores Loch there was a seasonally unusual count of c250 Swallows, with also a Merlin seen. The counts at Fife Ness were five Sooty Shearwaters N, four Manx Shearwaters, one Balearic Shearwater, four Little Gulls, 52 Red-throated Divers S, six Barnacle Geese S, four Arctic Skuas S, six Red-breasted Mergansers S, one Goosander S, eight Long-tailed Ducks S, three Purple Sandpipers N, one Arctic Tern N, one ‘Commic’ Tern N, five Tufted Ducks N (unusual here), 26 Teal and 12 Wigeon N. 29 Barnacle Geese were seen from Ferry Hills and noted off Kinghorn were a third calendar year Mediterranean Gull, seven Manx Shearwaters, one Arctic Skua and 150 Razorbills. Along the coast at Kilminning, a Short-eared Owl, one Green Sandpiper, two Redpolls, five Chiffchaffs and nine Redwings were seen.

Heard at Ferry Hills (8th) was a Pallas’s Warbler, calling several times from the gully at the west end, an amazing record, so far west in the county, also 3500 Redwings, one Black-throated Diver, 20 Bramblings, one Golden Plover, one Great Northern Diver and 19 Red-throated Divers were noted. Seen passing Kinghorn that day were c60 Barnacle Geese SW, a Brambling was seen in Newburgh, with one seen in Leven that day also and down at Kilminning two Ring Ouzels flew over, with one nearby at Balcomie where a Pied Flycatcher was also seen. A Ring Ouzel was also seen at Kingsbarns and a Pied Flycatcher was also noted at lower Kilminning, with a Yellow-browed Warbler seen at the upper part of Kilminning. It is worth noting that this autumn (and last year’s) these gems have been quite scarce and this after a long run of years where they were one of the more regular of the scarce migrants seen in autumn in Fife. Two Short-eared Owls were seen passing over Craighead Farm, Fife Ness, heading west, with one seen later in the day at lower Kilminning. One was also seen at Craigrothie that day, with four Stonechats also noted there. An estimate of the migrants seen in the Fife Ness area, aside from those species mentioned previously, was c300 Goldcrests, thousands of Redwings grounded and over, c35 Bramblings and c15 Chiffchaffs. Two Blacktailed Godwits were seen at St David’s Harbour, Dalgety Bay. In St Andrews (9th) a Yellowbrowed Warbler was heard calling in a private garden, 2500 Redwings passed over in Inverkeithing in 30 minutes and a Short-eared Owl was also seen there, quite a scarce bird in these parts, though one at Ferry Hills on the same day may well have been the same bird. Also noted at Ferry Hills were 7400 Redwings, one Great Northern Diver which flew inland, 28 Red-throated Divers and a Bonxie which also all flew inland. Migrants were now being seen in good numbers along the coast and at Kilminning, one Short-eared Owl, one Yellowbrowed Warbler, c15 Redwings, four Bramblings, six Chiffchaffs, one Willow Warbler, eight Siskins, one Hawfinch flew S, three Fieldfares W and 40 Golden Plovers N were seen at the upper areas, with one Jack Snipe, 10 Bramblings, 100 Goldcrests, 10 Chiffchaffs, one Blackcap, five Redpolls, 10 Siskins, one Short-eared Owl, one Yellow-browed Warbler, one Garden Warbler, one Willow Warbler, two Blackcaps, c12 Chiffchaffs, one Mistle Thrush and a Hawfinch, which was possibly the same bird seen elsewhere, all seen at the lower part of Kilminning. Counted from Crail were two Great Northern Divers 1E, 1W, five Arctic Skuas W, five Long-tailed Ducks W, five Barnacle Geese W, 35 Wigeon W, six Red-breasted Mergansers W, three Red-throated Divers and four Common Scoters W, a Little Bunting was seen and heard briefly at Balcomie and at Out Head two Snow Buntings were seen, the first sighting at that site this autumn. An adult Pomarine Skua with spoons, 15 Whooper Swans with a single Barnacle Goose, all W and also 12 Crossbills were seen at Ferry Hills (10th), a Yellow-browed Warbler was still present at Kilminning, a female Marsh Harrier and c30 Goldeneye were at Mugdrum Island and noted at Tayport was a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper. A 2nd calendar year Mediterranean Gull was seen on Anstruther Beach (11th), with a Yellow-browed Warbler and also c10 Chiffchaffs present at upper Kilminning, with a Little Egret at the lower area. Seen at The Wilderness were 14 Greenshanks, 11 Black-tailed Godwits and a Raven. Seven Whooper Swans passed over Strathkinness W (12th), the highlights at Ferry Hills were a group of three adult Pomarine Skuas, which flew inland, one Great Northern Diver which also flew inland, eight Bramblings, 125 Lesser Redpolls and 19 Crossbills. A count at Loch Gelly included two Barnacle Geese, 650 Pink-footed Geese, c300 Greylags and 91 Pochard, with the Pochard count particularly notable given the huge drop in numbers in Fife over the last 10 years or so. At Craigluscar, 31 Gadwall, which is a new site record count, were counted, single Short-eared Owls were seen at both Kilrenny and Kilminning, two juvenile Curlew Sandpipers, one juvenile Ruff and 17 Scaup were at the Eden Estuary and slightly further up the Estuary, at Coble Shore (13th), four Twite, one Whimbrel and a Ruff were noted, with one Red-throated Diver, one Black-throated Diver, one Little Egret and 21 Scaup seen on the Estuary. Seven Little Egrets were seen at Tayport, a Great Northern Diver SE, two Sandwich Terns SE, two Twite and five Greenshanks were counted at Boarhills. At East Wemyss, 52 Mediterranean Gulls, which included four yellow darvics all from the Leipzig project, as well as a Greenshank, were noted, with the Greenshank being very unusual for there. Off Fife Ness (14th) a Grey Phalarope was watched heading S, a ringtail harrier species crossed N over the Forth distantly, with a Red Kite also S across the Forth, at Kilmany a scarce (for this site) male Merlin was noted, two Green Sandpipers, a Greenshank and 16 Pintail were at Angle Park GP and seen over Mugdrum Island were a Marsh Harrier and seven Whooper Swans W. A Marsh Harrier, a Hen Harrier, c60 Canada Geese, 54 Greylag Geese and c120 Pink-feet were seen at Loch Fitty and much further east, 20 Twite, a Wheatear, four Common Terns, five Bar-tailed Godwits and five Barnacle Geese were at Balcomie Beach, with a juvenile Snow Bunting in off the sea, one Bonxie S, one Arctic Skua N, 3S, one Pomarine Skua S, 20 Little Gulls, including 6N, one Black Guillemot, one Manx Shearwater N, one Sooty Shearwater N, one Common Tern N and c300 Pink-footed Geese S, all from Fife Ness. In what was becoming a good autumn for Short-eared Owls, another was seen at Crail, a Snow Bunting was still present at Out Head and a Jack Snipe was a good find in a stubble field in Anstruther. Off Fife Ness (15th) was a Black Guillemot, one Slavonian Grebe, one Pomarine Skua S, four Arctic Skua S, two Manx Shearwaters N, six Little Gulls S, seven Long-tailed Ducks, two Great Northern Divers, one Black-throated Diver and three Red-throated Divers. Three adult Whooper Swans, 17 Pintail and one Greenshank were at Angle Park GP, the highlights from Ferry Hills were five Great Northern Divers, which flew inland, 25 Red-throated Divers which flew inland, 16 Whooper Swans, 800 Pink-feet, six Pintail, one Sand Martin, four Swallows, 58 Mistle Thrushes, 160 Chaffinches, two Bramblings, 29 Crossbills and 235 Goldfinches. At Kingskettle there was an excellent count of 99 Whooper Swans on a recently flooded field, which also hosted two Ruff and a Greenshank, Bearded Tits were heard on six separate occasions and seen fleetingly once at Morton Lochs NNR, a Waxwing in Crail (16th), was a sign of things to come. A Marsh Harrier was seen at Kilmany and a Red-throated Diver was a good inland record from Lochore Meadows CP. A Little Egret and seven Whooper Swans W were seen at Dalgety Bay, a Brambling was in a Glenrothes garden and 10 Whoopers Swans, which included two juveniles, and four Pintail were noted at Angle Park GP. The juvenile Whooper Swans are particularly noteworthy, as up to this point in the month, very few had been recorded. The counts at Fife Ness were four Pomarine Skuas N, one Arctic Skua N, eight Manx Shearwaters N, four Little Gulls S, 3500 Razorbills N, nine Red-throated Divers, one Great Northern Diver S, three Red-breasted Mergansers N, 21 Common Scoters N, one Velvet Scoter N, five Long-tailed Ducks, two Teal N, one Wigeon N and one Mallard N. 15 Twite were in Shell Bay (17th), a White-tailed Eagle was on a post off Out head, with two Redthroated Divers, one Long-tailed Duck, one ‘Commic’ Tern and two Snow Buntings also seen there. The counts from Fife Ness were four Arctic Skuas N, one Bonxie N, c1000 Razorbills N, one Little Egret, one Little Grebe, one Great Northern Diver N, c400 Kittiwakes N, 60 Barnacle Geese S, one Goosander N and one Balearic Shearwater. A Marsh Harrier was at Elie (18th), off Crail were a Black-Throated Diver W, one Manx Shearwater E, one Little Gull E, four Velvet Scoters E, three Common Scoters E, one Arctic Skua W, two Long-tailed Ducks W and Razorbills passed E at a rate of 1200 per hour. Seen from Dalgety Bay were four Manx Shearwaters, seven Little Gulls, c400 Shags, four Red-throated Divers, one Great Northern Diver, one Arctic Skua, one ‘Commic’ Tern, one Goldeneye, three Red-breasted Mergansers, c100 Gannets and c50 Kittiwakes. A Corncrake was flushed in the patch at Fife Ness, a Jack Snipe, 12 Twite, five Greenshanks and six Little Egrets were at Tayport and two Snow Buntings were still present at Out Head. Seen from and around lower Kilminning were two Manx Shearwaters, one adult Little Gull, four Common Scoters and one Velvet Scoter, with 20 Fieldfares, c50 Blackbirds, 20 Song Thrushes, c10 Goldcrests, one Brambling and a Hawfinch also noted. Single Short-eared Owls were seen at Wormiston Beach and at Kingsbarns, with a Ring Ouzel, a Garden Warbler, three Blackcaps, one Chiffchaff and four Bramblings also noted there. The counts off Fife Ness included four Pomarine Skuas N, six Arctic Skuas N, four Bonxies N, seven Sooty Shearwaters N, 17 Manx Shearwaters N, three Great Northern Divers N, five Red-throated Divers N, 21 N, two Goldeneye N, one Shelduck N, 14 Red-breasted Mergansers, two Velvet Scoters N, 41 Common Scoters N, three Long-tailed Ducks, 146 Eiders, one Sandwich Tern N, one ‘Commic’ Tern N, 56 Little Gulls N, 8,560 Razorbills N and seven Puffins N. An excellent seawatch off Kinghorn (19th) produced one Leach’s Petrel E, two Grey Phalaropes, one Little Auk, two Long-tailed Skuas, two Pomarine Skuas, 17 Bonxies, seven Arctic Skuas, five Manx Shearwaters, 23 Red-throated Divers, one adult Mediterranean Gull and c530 Little Gulls and this was the prelude to a fantastic few days of seeing scarcer oceanic species further west up the Forth, as well as being seen quite a distance up the Eden Estuary. This was due to the extremely strong and persistent easterly winds, coupled with some very large swell conditions along the coast, forcing some species, which we normally see only a handful of times each year, closer to our shores. Four Mediterranean Gulls, four Arctic Skuas, four Brent Geese, seven Pomarine Skuas, two Bonxies, 12 Wigeon, eight Teal, 40 Common Scoters and a Purple Sandpiper were noted off Anstruther. Two Grey Phalaropes, four Little Auks, one Leach’s Petrel lingering, four Bonxies, one Arctic Skua, one Shag, 11 Kittiwakes, 40 Little Gulls, one Red-necked Grebe, a juvenile Gannet and 13 Storm Petrels, including one close in front of the Eden Estuary Centre, were seen (20th). A Little Auk E, a Great Northern Diver and a ‘blue’ Fulmar E were off Pittenweem and from Crail a Little Auk E and one Storm Petrel E were seen. Not far away, off Coble Shore one Leach’s Petrel and one Little Auk were also seen. Counted off Kingsbarns were four Leach’s Petrels S, seven Storm Petrels N, 3S, three Grey Phalarope S, five Little Auks S, one Sooty Shearwater S, two Manx Shearwaters N, 8S, five Long-tailed Skuas N, 2S, five Pomarine Skuas N, 29 Arctic Skuas N, 5S, nine Bonxies N, 5S, 23 Little Gulls S, one Great Northern Diver S, one Black-throated Diver S, eight Red-throated Divers S, 33 Goldeneye S, 21 Wigeon S, seven Long-tailed Ducks N, 29S and six Teal N. Elie Ness had four Storm Petrels E and one Short-eared Owl, with one Leach’s Petrel E, one Storm Petrel E, two Brent Geese E and one juvenile Arctic Tern seen from Elie. Surprisingly the counts at Fife Ness were not as impressive as other sites with (only!) one Leach’s Petrel N, six Razorbills S, five Long-tailed Ducks N, two Sooty Shearwaters S, one Arctic Skua S, one Little Auk N, one Manx Shearwater N and three Goldeneye S. The counts off Kinghorn were nine Grey Phalaropes, five Leach’s Petrels, 43 Storm Petrels, two Sooty Shearwaters, six Manx Shearwaters, six Arctic Skuas, two Bonxies, five Fulmars, c700 Little Gulls, one Mediterranean Gull, one Great Northern Diver, three Red-throated Divers, c75 Long-tailed Ducks, c30 Common Scoters, two Velvet Scoters and two Purple Sandpipers. Even further west, it was just as incredible, with 12 Bonxies, 16 Arctic Skua, one adult Pomarine Skua, six Storm Petrels, 14 Manx Shearwaters, two Little Auks, two Fulmars, one Little Gull and one Great Crested Grebe seen from St David’s Harbour, Dalgety Bay. 10 Bonxies, two Arctic Skuas, one Long-tailed Skua, one Storm Petrel, one Leach’s Petrel, one Red-throated Diver and one Common Scoter were also seen from Inverkeithing. Counted from Carlingnose Point were one Grey Phalarope, two Storm Petrels, one Little Auk, 11 Arctic Skuas, nine Bonxies, five Little Gulls, a first winter Arctic Tern, 230 Kittiwakes, one Velvet Scoter and one Goldeneye. An observer at St Margaret’s Marsh also counted two Bonxies E, three Arctic Skuas E, three Little Gulls E, one Manx Shearwater E and one Storm Petrel on The Forth, with an added bonus of a Ring Ouzel on the breakwater there too. Inland at Cameron Reservoir a notable count of 16 Little Gulls was made, 20 Red-breasted Mergansers and one Woodcock and a ‘Commic’ Tern were also noted at Billow Ness. Seen from Dalgety Bay Sailing Club (21st) were three Arctic Skuas, one Long-tailed Skua, three Little Gulls, one Pomarine Skua, one Little Auk, two Leach’s Petrels, 15 Storm Petrels, one Swallow, one Great Northern Diver and two Longtailed Ducks, all heading E and a short time later from St David’s Harbour, three Leach’s Petrels, c20 Storm Petrels and a Little Gull were seen. A single Storm Petrel was seen from Ferry Hills and a bit further west up the Forth at Culross, five Gannets, two Great Northern Divers, two Slavonian Grebes, one Red-throated Diver, two Guillemots, one Razorbill. Seven Red-breasted Mergansers and five Wigeon were noted, whilst at Hawkcraig Point, Aberdour, one Grey Phalarope E, 16 Storm Petrels E, four Pomarine Skuas E, one Pale-bellied Brent Goose E, 28 Little Gulls and a Great Northern Diver were seen. Moving further east up the Forth, at Kinghorn, 25 Storm Petrels, four Leach’s Petrel E, c40 Little Gulls, c1000 Shags, 15 Long-tailed Ducks, one Tystie, 20 Common Scoters and a Mediterranean Gull were noted and along at the East Neuk, two Leach’s Petrels E, 18 Storm Petrels E, one Slavonian Grebe E, 40 Long-tailed Ducks E, 15 Velvet Scoters E, one Scaup W, two Little Gulls E and one Shorteared Owl in-off the sea, were noted at Pittenweem, with one Leach’s Petrel W, one Storm Petrel W and c10 Little Gulls seen from Elie. Seen from Crail were three Storm Petrels, one Little Auk, three Velvet Scoters, c90 Common Scoters, c120 Kittiwakes, c90 Little Gulls, one Short-eared Owl and three Swallows and from the lower part of Kilminning, one Leach’s Petrel, nine Storm Petrels, c125 Little Gulls, six Little Auks, three Arctic Skuas, one Curlew Sandpiper, three Pintail, 35 Wigeon, one Goldeneye, one Velvet Scoter and 40 Common Scoters were seen offshore. Two Leach’s Petrels S, 18 Little Gulls S, one Pomarine Skua and two Arctic Skuas were noted at Kingsbarns and off Boarhills were one Long-tailed Skua N and c40 Little Gulls. Round at Coble Shore a Grey Phalarope was on the sea. As most of these sightings were seen within the same timeframe, then it becomes obvious of the scale of this event. A truly epic few days for those that braved the quite severe weather! Also many migrants were still arriving, with a Ring Ouzel, two Chiffchaffs, 50 Siskins, c60 Blackbirds, c100 Redwings, one Blackcap, six Woodcocks, three Bramblings and 30 Fieldfares, one Long-eared Owl at upper Kilminning (21st ) and 25 Bramblings, one Lapland Bunting, two Swallows and three Blackcaps around the lower area and along at Boarhills c40 Little Gulls, one Wheatear, one Raven and a Great Grey Shrike were seen, with the shrike proving elusive. At Coble Shore four Pale-bellied Brent Geese, c60 Twite and one Merlin were watched, a winter plumage Slavonian Grebe was an unusual visitor to Kilconquhar Loch and a Long-tailed Duck was also an unusual find at Gillingshill Reservoir. Seen over Ferry Hills were three Twite, 14 Crossbills and 250 Fieldfares and a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen at Arncroach.

A Black Redstart was on the roof of a barn at Balcomie (22nd), with a Redstart and a Crossbill seen in Denburn, a Pomarine Skua was also seen on the rocks at Fife Ness, a very unusual occurrence. The run of migrants seen at Ferry Hills continued with a Hawfinch, two Twite, one Short-Eared Owl, 48 Crossbills, 68 Bramblings, one Black-throated Diver and one Great Northern Diver, the Great Grey Shrike showed for a fortunate few at Boarhills, where one Short-eared Owl, four Crossbills, three Chiffchaffs, two Blackcaps and two Jays were also noted, at Out Head the two Snow Buntings were still present and two Little Egrets were at Tentsmuir Point NNR. A Firecrest was an excellent find at upper Kilminning and was a popular bird for the many birders present, another Firecrest was also seen at Chance Inn, Crail that day. Another Black Redstart was seen at Crail Airfield and at St Margaret’s Marsh, Rosyth a Snow Bunting was seen a scarce bird for west Fife. Due to the weather conditions, there had been a noticeable number of sightings of the Continental race of Coal Tits, so it was good to see Fife getting in on the act with one seen in the patch at Fife Ness. Seen off Kinghorn were one Little Auk E, one Great Northern Diver W, five Red-throated Divers, one Velvet Scoter, 45 Common Scoters, c10 Little Gulls, four Whooper Swans S and four juvenile Gannets E. Watched at Ferry Hills (23rd) were two Hawfinches NW, four male Bullfinches, showing characteristics of the northern race, 124 Redpolls SW, 41 Bramblings SW and 47 Crossbills SW, a Black-necked Grebe, one Red-necked Grebe, five Slavonian Grebes and 60 Twite were at Ruddons Point, two Marsh Harriers were over Mugdrum Island and off Kirkcaldy (24th) was a Black Tern, feeding along the surf line, 19 Little Gulls, nine Kittiwakes two Red-throated Divers, two Purple Sandpipers, five Turnstones, two Razorbills, five Guillemots, one Gannet, 27 Long-tailed Ducks and six Common Scoters were watched from Kinghorn, a single Waxwing went over St Andrews. And still the migrants arrived, with two Mealy Redpolls and one Merlin at Boarhills, a Little Bunting, two Black Redstarts, 19 Mealy Redpolls, three Waxwings, one Merlin, three Bramblings, one Garden Warbler, five Blackcaps, c50 Blackbirds and 20 Mistle Thrushes were at Kilminning and seen in the patch at Fife Ness (25th) were one Hawfinch, one Short-eared Owl, one Woodcock and one Mealy Redpoll. Upper Kilminning had a Yellow-browed Warbler, five Mealy Redpolls, three Chiffchaffs, one Woodcock and three Blackcaps, whilst a Redstart was seen in the lower area and another three Waxwings were seen going over Ferry Hills and noted in Denburn Wood were a Mealy Redpoll and a Woodcock. An obliging male Ring Ouzel was seen well in Dreel Park, Anstruther (26th), 21 Waxwings were near the car park at Morton Lochs NNR and from Edenside, one Red-throated Diver, seven Slavonian Grebes, two Great Crested Grebes, two Little Grebes, two Goldeneye, six Little Egrets and c10 Twite were seen. At upper Kilminning (27th) a Mealy Redpoll was seen, with at least three seen in the patch at Fife Ness and seen from Dalgety Bay were one Little Auk E, three Bonxies, one Great Northern Diver and 12 Common Scoters. There was a good count of Corn Buntings at Randerston, near Crail (28th), with c70 noted, also noted there was a female Merlin and c150 Skylarks, a Black Redstart and one Woodcock were at Pittenweem and noted at Wormiston were a male Ring Ouzel, one Brambling and c75 Blackbirds. A female Northern Bullfinch and a Firecrest were seen at lower Kilminning, with the Firecrest surprising most birders present by being seen feeding on the ground amongst the Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs. One Ring Ouzel, one Crossbill, two Bramblings, three Blackcaps, two Chiffchaffs and eight Waxwings were also around the upper part of Kilminning. Along at Boarhills a male Snow Bunting, one Merlin and one Brambling were seen, with one Ring Ouzel, c10 Blackbirds, five Redwings, c20 Robins and c15 Goldcrests noted at Boarhills Pond, the Waxwings flock at Morton Lochs NNR had dropped to 15, but a flock of 12 Bramblings were a bonus. In an autumn of unusual sightings, a Slavonian Grebe in a puddle next to the road at Leuchars, is right up there! Seen from Kinghorn were a Great Northern Diver and one Little Auk and at St Margaret’s Marsh, Rosyth were one Slavonian Grebe, two Red-throated Divers, two Shags, one Rock Pipit, one Grey Wagtail, one Kestrel, 32 Mallards and 43 Black-headed Gulls. Seen at Cameron Reservoir were six Waxwings in the garden, one Slavonian Grebe and eight Crossbills, a juvenile Pomarine Skua, seven Little Gulls and one adult Mediterranean Gull were seen from Hawkcraig Point (29th), with 18 Little Gulls and three juvenile Gannets seen off Carlingnose Point. A Continental Coal Tit, eight Woodcocks and three Blackcaps were in the patch at Fife Ness, three adult Mediterranean Gulls were seen in Rosyth and the Firecrest was still showing well around lower Kilminning. Seen from Fife Ness were a Little Auk N and 2S, also three Kittiwakes, seven Bramblings and a Peregrine were at Shell Bay and in Cowdenbeath 22 Waxwings were seen at the Leisure Centre. Not content with a Firecrest at lower Kilminning (30th), a Pallas’s Warbler was a great find there, a true gem of a bird! Also noted there were one Northern Bullfinch, one Mealy Redpoll, two Lesser Redpolls, three Woodcocks and one Chiffchaff, off Kinghorn were 21 Little Gulls, 27 Kittiwakes, one juvenile Gannet, four Red-throated Divers, one Great Crested Grebe, three Long-tailed Ducks, 105 Common Scoters, c278 Eiders, one Goldeneye, six Razorbills, two Guillemots and a Peregrine. The Snow Bunting was still present at St Margaret’s Marsh, Rosyth and nearby at Dalgety Bay, two Little Auks E and 30 Common Scoters were counted. A total of 23 Waxwings were seen in two gardens in Cellardyke (31st), another Slavonian Grebe turned up in an unusual location, this time at Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy and 20 Waxwings were seen in Leven, with the 22 still present in Cowdenbeath also.

September 2023 Sightings

September started with four Ruff, one Green Sandpiper, one Greenshank, one Common Sandpiper and a Snipe at Stenhouse Reservoir (1st), two Black Terns, two Arctic Skuas and 37 Manx Shearwaters were seen off Kinghorn (1st) and a Short-eared Owl and a Merlin were seen at Lower Kilminning (1st). So far this autumn there appears to have been a good influx of Long-tailed Skuas, with a dark juvenile seen at Ferry Hills, along with an Arctic Skua, three Red-throated Divers W, 35 Common Terns and 39 Sandwich Terns (1st). A Hobby was noted at Foodie Ash (1st) and at The Wilderness, one Green Sandpiper, 15 Greenshanks, two Black-tailed Godwits, three Snipe, two Oystercatchers, c295 Lapwings and a female Mandarin Duck were seen (1st) and a Marsh Harrier was watched at Kilconquhar (1st). The Fife Ness seawatching season continues apace with 188 Manx Shearwaters N, 2S, two Balearic Shearwaters N, 20 Sooty Shearwaters N, 215 Little Gulls N, 10S, six Arctic Skuas N, one juvenile Long-tailed Skua N, one adult Pomarine Skua N, six Bonxies N, 121 Sandwich Terns N, 62 Common Terns N, eight Arctic Terns N, 44 Common Scoters N, 2S, 26 Wigeon S, five Red-throated Divers N, 3S, six Whimbrels S, one Greenshank S, two Ruff S, two Knot N and eight Teal S (1st ). Seen at Out Head were one Little Stint, one Ruff, two Whimbrels, two Greenshanks, one Common Sandpiper, four Bar-tailed Godwits, six Little Gulls, one Barn Owl, one Osprey, 12 Arctic Terns W and 135 Canada Geese (1st). Off Fife Ness were two Sooty Shearwaters N, five Arctic Skuas N, two Red-throated Divers N, 1S, 16 Manx Shearwaters N, eight Canada Geese N, one Shelduck N, 35 Common Scoters, 76 Common Terns N, seven Sandwich Terns and one Little Gull N (2nd) and off Kinghorn a Balearic Shearwater headed W and this is another species having a bumper year in Fife, also one Manx Shearwater and one Arctic Skua were noted (2nd). A Pallid Harrier came north from the Isle of May direction and was watched heading NNW over the East Neuk (2nd), if accepted it will be only the second Fife record for this species, one which is being seen much more regularly in Scotland now. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, a Blyth’s Reed Warbler was trapped and ringed in The Patch, Fife Ness, also a Short-eared Owl was present there (2nd). A couple of observers were looking for the Pallid Harrier further north and noted 15 Ravens and four Buzzards east of Strathkinness, with the Raven count particularly notable for this area (2nd), along at Ferry Hills it was a raptor kind of morning with one White-tailed Eagle, one Osprey SW and two juvenile Buzzards SW across the Forth (2nd). At The Wilderness were one Green Sandpiper, seven Greenshanks and one Black-tailed Godwit, a Balearic Shearwater passed Fife Ness N (3rd) and one sharp observer saw a Turtle Dove fly over Kilconquhar Loch, where they also saw a Guillemot, an extremely rare bird on fresh water, in fact this was the observer’s first ever sighting of this particular seabird species at Kilconquhar Loch in many, many years of watching this site. At Guardbridge three juvenile Ruff and 27 Little Egrets were noted (3rd), with the Little Egret count being a new record count for Fife. A Water Rail was seen at Cullaloe LNR (3rd), an adult Roseate Tern NW, 280 Little Gulls and one Red-throated Divers were seen from St Andrews Pier (3rd) and at Ferry Hills, a Short-eared Owl high SW, two Arctic Skuas and two Bonxies W inland were noted (4th). Tayport had a Little Stint, one Black-tailed Godwit, three Ruff, one Greenshank, one Little Egret and, unusually, two Tree Pipits (4th). Little Stints along with Curlew Sandpipers seem to be in good numbers in Fife this year too. A juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, five Ruff and an Arctic Tern were seen at Guardbridge (4th), a Marsh Harrier, seven Black-tailed Godwits, six Greenshanks, seven Snipe and a female Mandarin Duck were noted at The Wilderness (4th), with six Ruff, three Green Sandpipers and a Greenshank seen at Stenhouse Reservoir (4th). An extremely rare Brown Booby was seen from Kinghorn (5th), a great find, with this bird also being seen well from the Lothian side of the Forth. Also from Kinghorn were a Balearic Shearwater which passed E with 12 Manx Shearwaters, later c20 Manx Shearwaters, four Arctic Skuas, one Bonxie and one Black Tern were seen there. Three juvenile Curlew Sandpipers, five Ruff, 26 Little Egrets and a Great Crested Grebe were seen at the Eden Estuary (5th), at Stenhouse Reservoir, wader numbers had dropped a bit with one Green Sandpiper, one Greenshank and two Ruff noted (5th). The seawatching day count at Fife Ness (5th) was 40 Manx Shearwaters N, three Sooty Shearwaters N, one immature Brown Booby N, 165 Little Gulls, five Arctic Skuas N, 1S, one Bonxie S, 22 Common Scoters N, 18S, two Velvet Scoter S, two Red-throated Divers N, 8S, 75 Pink-feet S, three Greenshanks, one Ruff, two Sooty Shearwaters N, 32 Manx Shearwaters N, three Red-breasted Mergansers N, 12 Knot S and four Golden Plovers N, six Black-tailed Godwits were seen at Luthrie (5th) and from Crail (5th), one Black-throated Diver, four Red-throated Divers, one Arctic Skua E, two Whimbrels and 135 Golden Plovers were counted. Further along the coast at Elie, two Black-throated Divers, nine Red-throated Divers, one Greenshank, one Whimbrel and 16 Knot were seen (5th) and off Out Head nine Red-throated Divers, two juvenile Long-tailed Skuas, eight Arctic Skuas and nine Little Gulls were watched (6th). A Yellow Wagtail, a very scarce bird in west Fife, was seen at Burntisland (6th) and nearby at Kinghorn (6th) one juvenile Long-tailed Skua W, two Pomarine Skuas, one Balearic Shearwater, 44 Manx Shearwaters, c12 Arctic Skuas, four Bonxies, two Red-throated Divers, eight Common Scoters, one Little Gull, one Greenshank and one Whimbrel were noted. Still present at the Eden Estuary were two juvenile Curlew Sandpipers and two juvenile Ruff, with four juvenile Little Gulls and 146 Pink-feet also present (6th). One Storm Petrel, 50 Manx Shearwaters N, eight Sooty Shearwaters N, c303 Little Gulls, an adult Sabine’s Gull N, two Arctic Skuas N, 1S, six Bonxies N, 32 Common Scoters N, 25S, six Red-throated Divers S, four Teal N, 45S, 13 Wigeon N, two Red-breasted Mergansers N, one Whimbrel and one Greenshank were all counted from Fife Ness (7th) and at Fairmount, south of St Andrews, two Whitethroats, two Greenshanks, 16 Teal and two Pink-footed Geese W, were seen (7th). Further west, at Newmills, a Little Egret was seen, another species very scarce in the west of Fife (7th). Single Green Sandpiper and Ruff were still at Stenhouse Reservoir (7th).

Three Pale-bellied Brent Geese, three Pintail, two juvenile Little Gulls and five Greenshanks were at Tayport (8th) and not too far away at Out Head (8th) were one juvenile Sabine’s Gull on the water, one juvenile Pomarine Skua, seven Arctic Skuas, one Bonxie, 37 Little Gulls and 122 Velvet Scoters. Birds counted passing at Fife Ness (8th) included seven Manx Shearwaters N, six Sooty Shearwaters N, 4S, five Arctic Skuas, one Bonxie, five Little Gulls, one juvenile Sabine’s Gull S, 26 Sandwich Terns N and 18 Common Scoters. Two Marsh Harriers were seen from Newburgh (8th), at Carlingnose Point, two Long-tailed Skuas headed inland together, one juvenile Pomarine Skua and six Arctic Skuas were also noted (8th). From Elie (8th) one Sooty Shearwater W, 23 Manx Shearwaters E, 22 Common Scoters E and six Little Gulls E were counted and from St Andrews, one juvenile Long-tailed Skua NW, one adult Mediterranean Gull NW, two Bonxies, four Arctic Skuas, three Manx Shearwaters and 79 Little Gulls were noted (8th). Seen from the Eden Estuary Centre (9th) were three Curlew Sandpipers, a Ruff was at Balcomie (9th) and at Tayport, the Spotted Redshank was still present (9th). Highlights from a visible migration watch at Ferry Hills were 726 Meadow Pipits, 466 Siskins and 129 Lesser Redpolls all noted, also a Nuthatch was heard calling from woodland (9th). Seen at Lindores Loch (9th) were eight drake Pochard, a species in real decline in Fife and the day count from Fife Ness (9th) was one Pomarine Skua N, two Arctic Skuas N, four Bonxies N, seven Manx Shearwaters N, 180 Little Gulls, seven Knot on the rocks, also 12N, 9S, one Golden Plover N, 2S, one Red-throated Diver N, 2S, 13 Common Scoters N, 10S, one Goosander S and two Red-breasted Mergansers S. At Angle Park GP (10th) were six Green Sandpipers and 19 Snipe at Ferry Hills three Arctic Skuas headed inland, five Black-tailed Godwits, three Bar-tailed Godwits, 27 Knot, one Spotted Flycatcher, 652 Meadow Pipits and 386 Siskins were logged (10th). Two Curlew Sandpipers were still present at the Eden Estuary, also one Osprey (10th), at Stenhouse Reservoir (10th) were two Green Sandpipers, two Ruff and two Snipe. Down at Kinghorn one juvenile Long-tailed Skua was on the water, two juvenile Long-tailed Skuas passed slowly W together, four Arctic Skuas, c8 Manx Shearwaters, three Fulmars, c150 Gannets and 20 Knot W were seen (10th). Noted at Out Head (10th) were two Wheatears, one Osprey and one Arctic Skua, two Little Egrets were seen at Newburgh (11th), a scarce bird for this site and across at the Eden Estuary, two Little Stints, one Curlew Sandpiper and three Ruff were present (11th). An adult Roseate Tern was in St Andrews Bay (11th), single Spotted Redshanks were seen at Tayport and The Wilderness (11th), the first autumn skein of Pink-footed Geese over Dunfermline were seen (11th) and still present at Angle Park GP were three Green Sandpipers and c20 Snipe (12th). One juvenile Pomarine Skua E and five Arctic Skuas W was the count from Kinghorn (12th), a single Green Sandpiper was at Cullaloe LNR (12th) and the seawatching day count from Fife Ness (12th) was 383 Manx Shearwaters N, 2S, 117 Sooty Shearwaters N, one Balearic Shearwater N, 239 Little Gulls, one dark juvenile Long-tailed Skua N, one Pomarine Skua N, one Bonxie N, 13 Arctic Skuas N, 2S, three Great Northern Divers S, five Red-throated Divers N, 12S, one Wigeon S, one Golden Plover N, 55S, three Knot N, 20S, 22 Pale-bellied Brent Geese N, 43S, 34 Common Scoters N, 5S, 14 Sandwich Terns, 17 Common Terns and six Puffins N. Seen from Ferry Hills (13th) were one juvenile Pomarine Skua, one Arctic Skua, one Bonxie and 11 Red-throated Divers and from Inchcolm, one Little Egret, one Arctic Skua and two Bonxies were seen (13th). Two Pomarine Skuas, c12 Arctic Skuas, six Bonxies, three Brent Geese W, four Little Gulls, four Pintail, one Shoveler, three Wigeon, c25 Teal and c25 Golden Plovers were seen passing Kinghorn (13th), one adult and two juvenile Roseate Terns W, one Arctic Skua NW and 23 Little Gulls were seen north of the Castle Golf Course, St Andrews (13th). Noted at the Cocklemill Burn were three Brent Geese, 61 Red-breasted Mergansers, three Teal, one Wheatear and one Merlin (13th) and logged passing Fife Ness (14th) were four Manx Shearwaters N, two Sooty Shearwater S, seven Bonxies N, two Arctic Skuas N, two Red-throated Divers N, 18S, one Great Northern Diver N, three Canada Geese S, one Greylag Goose S, 30 Pink-feet S, five Brent Geese S, nine Common Scoters N, 18S, 21 Teal, three Knot S, one Bar-tailed Godwit N, two Common Terns and three Sandwich Terns S. 10 adult Mediterranean Gulls and three 2nd calendar year Mediterranean Gulls were counted at Dysart (14th), 19 Greenshanks, 26 Black-tailed Godwits, one Ruff and 23 Pink-footed Geese were at The Wilderness (14th) and seen from Carlingnose Point (14th) were two juvenile Pomarine Skuas, four Arctic Skuas, one Bonxie, one Little Egret and c70 Common Terns. Three Green Sandpipers were still present at Angle Park GP (14th), five Brent Geese W, 214 Little Gulls, one Arctic Skua, two Whimbrels W, one Greenshank, two Knot, 16 Wigeon NW and 57 Common Terns were seen in St Andrews Bay (14th) and counted at Kinghorn (14th) were one juvenile Sabine’s Gull, one Black Tern, three Little Gulls, two Pomarine Skuas, three Arctic Skuas, one Bonxie, 24 Red-throated Divers W, 820 Meadow Pipits S and one Common Sandpiper.

Seen from Lundin Links (15th) was one Black Guillemot, with another bird seen from Lower Largo the same day. The day count from seawatching at Fife Ness (15th) was two juvenile Long-tailed Skuas, two Arctic Skuas N, 4S, one Black Guillemot N, one Sooty Shearwater N, 26 Manx Shearwaters N, 53 Red-throated Divers, 97 Little Gulls, 25 Common Scoters N, 7S, 230 Pink-footed Geese S, three Whimbrel S, one Greenshank S, two Wheatears and one Grey Wagtail and the count from there (16th) was two juvenile Sabine’s Gulls 1N, 1S, 33 Manx Shearwaters N, 10 Sooty Shearwaters N, two Arctic Skuas N, 12S, one juvenile Pomarine Skua N, one juvenile Long-tailed Skua S, one Bonxie N, five Red-throated Divers N, 5S, 52 Wigeon N, one Pintail N, 101 Common Scoters N, 63S, 29 Teal N, 4S, 49 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 13 Eiders N, nine Little Gulls N, 16 Common Terns N, 26S and 16 Sandwich Terns N, 10S. One Green Sandpiper, 17 Greenshanks and two Black-tailed Godwits were seen at The Wilderness (16th), a Sooty Shearwater, two Arctic Skuas and 16 Red-throated Divers were seen from Elie Ness (16th). Seen from Kinghorn (16th) were an adult and juvenile Pomarine Skua, three Arctic Skuas, three Little Gulls, 12 Manx Shearwaters, 21 Common Scoters, 59 Teal W, seven Wigeon W and one Shoveler W. A juvenile Sabine’s Gull flew E at Dalgety Bay (16th), also a juvenile Long-tailed Skua was seen from there heading inland, though quite high. Close by at Carlingnose Point, two juvenile Long-tailed Skuas, one juvenile Pomarine Skua, one Arctic Skua, one Black Tern, five Little Gulls, one Manx Shearwater, 30 Teal and two Pintail were counted (16th) and seen from West Sands, St Andrews were five Arctic Skuas, one juvenile Long-tailed Skua, one 2nd calendar year Mediterranean Gull, 85 Little Gulls, 63 Common Terns, seven Red-throated Divers and 12 Teal W. Back at Carlingnose Point (17th) one Black Tern, one Pomarine Skua, 15 Arctic Skuas, two juvenile Long-tailed Skuas W, one Manx Shearwater, two Roseate Terns, 35 Common Terns W, one Arctic Tern W and one Whimbrel W were noted. Logged passing Fife Ness (17th) were 67 Sooty Shearwaters N, one Balearic Shearwater N, 367 Manx Shearwaters N, 7S, one Cory’s Shearwater N, one Leach’s Petrel N, one Storm Petrel N, 1S, one adult Sabine’s Gull S, one dark juvenile Long-tailed Skua, 33 Arctic Skuas N, 5S, three Bonxies S, 10 Fulmars N, 19 Red-throated Divers N, 59S, 33 Little Gulls, 18 Pale-bellied Brent Geese N, 40S, one Red-breasted Merganser N, one Goosander N, c242 Common Scoters, one Velvet Scoter S, nine Sandwich Terns N, five Puffins N, two Grey Herons, 11 Wigeon N, 20 Teal N, 150 Golden Plovers N, one Dunlin N and a Peregrine. Nearby at upper Kilminning, a Barred Warbler was heard calling and a Lesser Whitethroat was seen in The Patch at Fife Ness (17th). Further west up the Forth at Dalgety Bay, one Black Tern, one Pomarine Skua E, two Bonxies, c10 Arctic Skuas, nine Sandwich Terns, c45 Common Terns, one Arctic Tern, one juvenile Long-tailed Skua W, three Little Gulls, one Red-throated Diver E, c12 Kittiwakes and c50 Gannets were seen (17th). three Curlew Sandpipers, two Ruff, one Greenshank, one Osprey, one Peregrine, 13 Little Egrets and one Arctic Skua were seen at Guardbridge (17th) and an adult Mediterranean Gull was seen at West Wemyss (18th). One juvenile Long-tailed Skua W, eight Arctic Skuas W, three Red-throated Divers W, 65 Common Terns, two Greenshanks and four Little Egrets were seen at Tayport (18th) and noted at Fife Ness were four Little Gulls N, four Arctic Skuas N, 21 Sandwich Terns, one Red-throated Diver N, 7S, eight Brent Geese S and 17 Common Scoters S (18th). In St Andrews, at Bogward Road (19th) a Redstart and four Redpolls S were seen, a Green Sandpiper was still present at Angle Park GP (19th), one Little Stint, two juvenile Curlew Sandpipers, one Ruff and three Greenshanks were at Guardbridge (19th) and at Out Head (19th) were a Spotted Redshank and five Slavonian Grebes, with the Spotted Redshank particularly noteworthy at this site. An adult Sabine’s Gull passed W at Kinghorn (20th), with c80 Little Gulls, 12 Arctic Skuas and two Manx Shearwaters seen not far from there at Hawkcraig Point, Aberdour (20th). Two Little Stints and three Greenshanks were seen at Guardbridge (20th), one juvenile Pomarine Skua, six Arctic Skuas, one Little Gull, one Black Tern, 150 Common Terns, 15 Sandwich Terns, 10 Arctic Terns and 12 Kittiwakes were counted at Carlingnose Point (20th). Noted passing through Ferry Hills (21st) were 64 Red-throated Divers W and 1600 Meadow Pipits. A single juvenile Curlew Sandpiper was at Guardbridge (21st), a Little Egret and 22 Pale-bellied Brent Geese were seen at the Kenly Burn, Boarhills (21st) and from Dalgety Bay one Black Tern, two juvenile Little Gulls, two Pomarine Skuas, five Arctic Skuas and six Manx Shearwaters were seen (21st). A Black Tern, three Ruff, one Whimbrel and a Peregrine hunting Teal were seen at Stenhouse Reservoir (21st) and seen at Guardbridge (21st) were five Curlew Sandpipers, two Little Stints, one Ruff and an Osprey.

A Merlin, one Spotted Flycatcher and seven Crossbills were seen at Ferry Hills (22nd), three Curlew Sandpipers were still at the Eden Estuary LNR (22nd), an adult Little Gull was seen at St Margaret’s Marsh, Rosyth (22nd), c20 Crossbills and a late Swift were noted at Cameron Reservoir (22nd) and the seawatching day count at Fife Ness (23rd) was one Grey Phalarope S, one Black Guillemot N, three Sooty Shearwaters N, 38 Manx Shearwaters N, two Arctic Skuas N, 28 Little Gulls, 1645 Pink-footed Geese S, 34 Barnacle Geese S, seven Sandwich Tern, S, two Common Terns, 62 Common Scoters, three Velvet Scoters, 56 Red-throated Divers, four Teal, five Goosanders and 131 Swallows S. A Curlew Sandpiper, one Ruff and six Greenshanks were at Tayport (23rd), two Curlew Sandpipers and four Greenshanks were at Guardbridge (23rd) and the highlights from Ferry Hills (23rd) were 35 Barnacle Geese, 1200 Pink-feet, 20 Red-Throated Divers, two Arctic Skuas and 190 Lesser Redpolls. A Barred Warbler was trapped and ringed in The Patch, Fife Ness (23rd), three Manx Shearwaters, one Bonxie, four Arctic Skuas, two Arctic Terns, nine Common Terns, c12 Sandwich Terns, c35 Barnacle Geese and 57 Pink-feet were seen from Dalgety Bay (23rd) and one juvenile Rednecked Grebe, eight Slavonian Grebes, one juvenile Little Stint, one juvenile Curlew Sandpiper and c5 Arctic Skuas were seen from Out Head (23rd). At the Kenly Burn, Boarhills, c240 Canada Geese, nine Pale-bellied Brent Geese, one Barnacle Goose, one Greylag and two Pink-feet were noted, a lone Whooper Swan was seen flying in from the E at Craighead Farm, Fife Ness (23rd), a single Crossbill was at Clatto Reservoir (23rd) and from Out Head (24th) one juvenile Red-necked Grebe, four Slavonian Grebes, one juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, seven Pale-bellied Brent Geese and 12 Barnacle Geese were seen. Five juvenile Curlew Sandpipers, five Ruff, one Greenshank, three Black-tailed Godwits and an adult Mediterranean Gull were at Guardbridge (24th) and seen from Fife Ness (24th) were two juvenile Black Terns, 15 Little Gulls, six Manx Shearwaters, one Arctic Skua S, one Little Egret, one Bar-tailed Godwit and 31 Barnacle Geese S. c60 Golden Plovers were seen from the Eden Estuary Centre (24th), with a White-tailed Eagle seen on one of the posts off Out Head (24th). 20 Barnacle Geese passed Kincraig Point S (24th), a juvenile Long-tailed Skua, seven Arctic Skuas and 17 Barnacle Geese SW were seen from Tentsmuir Point NNR (24th) and along from there at Tayport a Little Stint, one Whimbrel, five Grey Plovers, two Common Terns and a Kingfisher were seen (24th). From Kingsbarns south to the Kenly Burn, c350 Barnacle Geese S, eight Snipe, 35 Corn Buntings c300 Canada Geese, three Pink-footed Geese, one Whitethroat, four Wheatears and a Peregrine were seen (24th), two Wheatears were noted at Preston Island, Culross (24th) and six Curlew Sandpipers along with six Ruff were seen from the Eden Estuary Centre (25th). Seen from Kinghorn (25th) were one Bonxie W, three Arctic Skuas, c10 Manx Shearwaters, c150 Little Gulls, c150 Meadow Pipits and 50 Swallows, a juvenile Little Stint and a juvenile Ruff were at Tayport (25th) and seen at Bogward Road, St Andrews was a Spotted Flycatcher, with a Black Tern seen offshore at St Andrews also (26th). A Great Shearwater was reported flying past Kinghorn (26th), five Curlew Sandpipers were seen at Guardbridge (26th) and seen at Loch Fitty (26th) were five Crossbills, four Mistle Thrushes, one Kestrel, one Great Spotted Woodpecker, 12 Great Crested Grebes, two Little Grebes, seven Tufted Ducks, five Mute Swans and three Swallows. Around Kittock’s Den, Boarhills a female Goshawk, one Lesser Whitethroat, one Whitethroat, two Chiffchaffs, one Stonechat, 564 Swallows SW and 127 Pied Wagtails W (26th). Seen from Hawkcraig Point, Aberdour (27th) were two Black Terns E, one Little Gull, three Manx Shearwaters, c10 Arctic Skuas, two Bonxies and c6 Red-throated Divers, three Curlew Sandpipers and two Arctic Skuas were noted at Out Head (27th) and a Hooded Crow was seen at East Wemyss (27th). The seawatching day count at Fife Ness (28th) was one juvenile Pomarine Skua N, five Arctic Skuas N, 43 Purple Sandpipers S, 84 Barnacle Geese S, 12 Wigeon S, eight Teal S and 11 Common Scoters, three juvenile Black Terns were seen off Coble Shore (28th) with an Arctic Skua and a Kingfisher seen from Edenside (28th). A Red Kite SE, 235 Barnacle Geese, one Chiffchaff and a Blackcap were seen around South Fairmont, St Andrews (28th), c150 Golden Plovers, two Red-throated Divers, c60 Knot, one Whimbrel, three Common Gulls, c5 Goldcrests c5 Treecreepers and a Wheatear were seen around the Ruddons Point/Cocklemill Burn area (28th). A juvenile Curlew Sandpiper S and a Red-necked Grebe N, were seen passing Fife Ness (28th). The Mediterranean Gull count rose to 81 at East Wemyss (28th), 47 Barnacle Geese, 14 Little Egrets, one Pintail, one Scaup, 50 Knot, two Greenshanks, four Ruff, four Curlew Sandpipers, 10 Ringed Plovers and two Red-throated Divers were seen from the Eden Estuary Centre (28th).

Angle Park GP still had two Green Sandpipers and 33 Snipe present (30th). Seen at the Kenly Burn, Boarhills (30th) were c260 Canada Geese, 21 Barnacle Geese and three Pale-bellied Brent Geese, a single Barnacle Goose passed over Kinghorn (30th), the Mediterranean Gull count at East Wemyss had dropped to c36 by (30th) and another Honey-buzzard passed over Ferry Hills (30th), this time a juvenile. A remarkable run of sightings at this site this year. Seen at Fife Ness was a ringtail Hen Harrier S, 15 Common Terns, three Sandwich Terns, c300 Pink-footed Geese and a Little Egret (30th), with four Chiffchaffs seen in The Patch, Fife Ness that day also. Along at lower Kilminning, one Whinchat, seven Stonechats and 300 Pink-footed Geese S (30th) and at Loch Gelly, one Barnacle Goose, c600 Greylag Geese, c50 Pink-footed Geese and 64 Pochard were counted (30th). A single Barnacle Goose was seen over St Monans (30th) and noted at Cameron Reservoir were a Short-eared Owl W, a juvenile Marsh Harrier S, a juvenile Green Woodpecker and c20 Crossbills (30th). A Red Kite was seen to the W of Leslie (30th) and the last seawatching day count of September from Fife Ness produced 23 Red-throated Divers S, 17 Common Scoters S, one Common Tern N, two Red-breasted Mergansers S, one Bonxie S, one Shelduck S and five Sandwich Terns N.

Monthly sighting summaries are based on information submitted to the Fife Bird News WhatsApp group. A full list of contributors is published in Scope. Thank you.

February 2023 Sightings

The first sightings reported in February were two Marsh Harriers on the 1st at Newburgh then a Black Guillemot was at Fife Ness the next day. The 3rd was a return to the norm with the female Ring-necked Duck at Birnie Loch and the drake Smew at Cameron Reservoir. An adult Little Gull was off Leven and at Tayport a 3rd winter Glaucous Gull was a good find. A 1st winter Iceland Gull was seen on Kirkcaldy promenade on the 4th with a Tundra Bean Goose and a Short-eared Owl noted in the St Andrews area. A Black Guillemot was off Lower Largo on the 5th with at least three Red-necked Grebes at Leven and the drake Smew was at Cameron Reservoir up to the 7th.

An excellent count of 48 Snipe was made at Valleyfield on the 8th and the female Ring-necked Duck was still at Birnie Loch from the 9th to the 12th. The drake Smew was reported again at Cameron Reservoir on the 11th and two Black-throated Divers and a Red-necked Grebe were seen between Pathhead and Dysart. A Great White Egret was a good find at Loch Fitty on the 12th and a 1st winter Iceland Gull was seen flying over Bleachfield Meadow heading towards Coaltown of Balgonie, presumably the same individual seen there between December and February. A Green Sandpiper was seen on the Nature Reserve at Lochore Meadows CP along with a Great White Egret, possibly the Loch Fitty bird relocating. Counted off Leven on the 12th were six Red-necked Grebes, two Slavonian Grebes and up to five Black-throated Divers, a Great White Egret was again at Loch Fitty on the 13th, with a European White-fronted Goose also reported from that location on the 14th. A Red Kite was seen near Easter Cash Farm on the Falkland to Strathmiglo road on the 14th.

Noted off Kinghorn on the 16th were 14 Common Scoters, four Long-tailed Ducks, 140 Red-breasted Mergansers, six Guillemots, 15 Razorbills and two Red-throated Divers. The drake Smew was still showing well at Cameron Reservoir on the 16th and nearby in St Andrews a possible Northern Bullfinch, 12 Crossbills S, seven Siskins and a Raven were seen. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls were seen off Pettycur on 17th, a Barnacle Goose and a Greenland White-fronted Goose were seen amongst 2000 Pink-feet in the Bow of Fife area and adult Mediterranean Gulls were also seen at both Guardbridge and Tayport. A Manx Shearwater went N past Fife Ness on the 18th, a Black Guillemot was off Leven and the Great White Egret was still at Loch Fitty. Also on the 18th at Ruddons Point were one Red-necked Grebe, one Slavonian Grebe, three Purple Sandpipers and 25 Twite. The Green Sandpiper was still to be seen on the Nature Reserve at Lochore Meadows CP on the 18th with a Jack Snipe and an excellent count of 52 Snipe at Cocklemill Marsh, also on the 18th. On the 19th a drake Ring-necked Duck, 64 Pochard, 93 Goldeneye and 74 Tufted Ducks were seen at Loch Gelly, with a female Ring-necked Duck seen at The Wilderness, with this bird presumably being the bird previously seen at Birnie Loch up until at least the 15th. Further east a Hooded Crow was seen on the beach at Boarhills on the 19th, with five Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 13 Pale-bellied Brent Geese and one Greenshank also seen in the area, a Raven was also seen flying over East Wemyss that day. The drake Smew was still at Cameron Reservoir on the 20th, while the female Ring-necked Duck was seen back in the NW corner of Birnie Loch and at Fife Ness a Short-eared Owl was watched coming in off the sea. The Great White Egret was still being reported from Loch Fitty up to at least the 21st.

The female Ring-necked Duck was seen at Angle Park GP, as it continues to tour around the central Fife waterbodies. A Greenland White-fronted Goose was noted at Loch Fitty on the 22nd, it was amongst Canada Geese, Pink-feet and Greylags. A Chiffchaff was seen in Dunfermline, with one heard at Magus Muir also and not far away from there at Craigtoun Park, a Green Woodpecker was heard, with five Woodcocks and two Ravens noted there too. On the 23rd at Loch Fitty a European White-fronted Goose, 10 Pink-footed Geese, 24 Canada Geese, 164 Greylag Geese and four Gadwall were noted, a Black Guillemot went S past Fife Ness and an adult Mediterranean Gull was seen from the car park at Burntisland on the 24th. eight Red-throated Divers, one Black-throated Diver and two Manx Shearwaters passed Fife Ness, with a Black Guillemot and one Manx Shearwater seen passing there on the 25th. two Snow Buntings were at Out Head on the 25th, with the drake Ring-necked Duck and 63 Pochard still present at Loch Gelly, 13 Brent Geese, three Greenshanks and a Little Egret were seen at Coble Shore and the wintering Whimbrel was seen once again at Shell Bay. At The Wilderness were two Pintail and three Whooper Swans, a Great Northern Diver was seen from Kincraig Head and on the 26th two Black Guillemots and 35 Purple Sandpipers were seen at Fife Ness. The female Ring-necked Duck was seen again at Angle Park GP, two Tundra Bean Geese were seen with Pink-feet at Luthrie and at Tayport three Little Egrets were seen. Nine Snow Buntings, nine Slavonian Grebes and four Pale-bellied Brent Geese were seen at Out Head, a Greenland White-fronted Goose was seen with 400 Pink-feet near Bow of Fife and at Coble Shore 34 Pale-bellied Brent Geese were seen. A Raven passed over Letham Pools and at Buckhaven Harbour on the 27th were 200 Common Scoters and 56 Velvet Scoters. 28 Redwings and 18 Fieldfares were seen in Strathkinness on the 28th, two Nuthatches were seen at Rankeilour, 114 Pochards, 97 Tufted Ducks, 82 Goldeneye, three Shelducks, three Great-crested Grebes, two Lesser Black-backed Gulls and three Whooper Swans were counted at Loch Gelly and seen from Kincraig Head were one Red-necked Grebe and a Red-throated Diver. Nearby at the Cocklemill Burn, seven Twite were seen. A Hooded Crow, 17 Whooper Swans and 101 Wigeon were seen at Craigluscar and the female Ring-necked Duck was still present at Angle Park.

Information supplied courtesy of Malcolm Ware