October 2017 Sightings




On the first day of the month Kilminning hosted a Yellow-browed Warbler at the top end and a Barred Warbler, a Yellow-browed Warbler, a Spotted Flycatcher, two Chiffchaffs, four Song Thrushes and three Lesser Redpolls at the bottom end. A Hobby flew over Pitlessie and two Little Egrets were noted at the Eden Estuary LNR (1st). Five Little Stints, one Curlew Sandpiper, two Common Sandpipers, a Peregrine and four Pintails were seen from the Eden Estuary Centre (2nd) but the following day there were only two Little Stints and two Pintails along with two Greenshanks and a Kingfisher. The Barred Warbler was still showing well at the  bottom end of Kilminning (3rd) and was accompanied by a very vocal Siberian Chiffchaff the next day when there were also 130 Barnacle Geese passing Anstruther. Meanwhile two Little Stints, 18 Ruffs and 12 Golden Plovers appeared at Wilderness then Angle Park held a Green Sandpiper. Seawatching at Kinghorn produced two juvenile Pomarine Skuas, one Arctic Skua, six Red-throated Divers, one Black-throated Diver, one Long-tailed Duck and an adult Mediterranean Gull all west (4th) while this species also was noted the next day when a second winter bird flew west past Methil. The Barred Warbler lingered at Kilminning whilst nearby at Fife Ness there were two Lesser Redpolls, a Yellow-browed Warbler, one Willow Warbler and five Chiffchaffs. At the Eden Estuary LNR two Little Stints, 15 Dunlins, two Little Egrets, 40 Ruffs, five Greenshanks, a White- tailed Eagle, five Skylarks and c15 Swallows were seen from the George Evans Hide (5th). Three Little Stints loitered at Wilderness (6th) and were there the next day along with two Whooper Swans, two Black-tailed Godwits and 59 Golden Plovers. At Ferry Hills there were 21 Barnacle Geese and a Great Northern Diver over whilst a Rock Pipit was observed at Seafield (7th).


A Wheatear turned up at Crail Airfield where there were also 65 Barnacle Geese over whilst 400 of this species were counted past Fife Ness in two hours with around five Little Gulls far out. There were also two Barnacle Geese at Tentsmuir Point NNR along with nine Goosanders, 1330 Oystercatchers and 420 Bar-tailed Godwits. Three Little Egrets were at Tayport as well as a Pale-bellied Brent Goose while two Pale-bellied Brent Geese appeared at Dalgety Bay where there was also a Pomarine Skua. Visible migration highlights at Ferry Hills included 45 Barnacle Geese, two Great Northern Divers and 309 Mistle Thrushes while along at Pathhead a possible Yellow-browed Warbler was seen briefly as well as an adult Mediterranean Gull. The Barred Warbler was still present at Kilminning (8th). A Grey Wagtail and a Dipper were reported at Burnside, Cupar, two Green Sandpipers, at least seven Snipe, one Goldeneye and a Pintail were at Angle Park GP then three Ruffs, five Black-tailed Godwits and four Whooper Swans were recorded at Wilderness (12th). Two Little Egrets were present at Culross, a Spotted Redshank and two Common Sandpipers were seen from the Eden Estuary Centre while nearby at Coble Shore there was also a Little Egret as well as five Brent Geese. Balcomie hosted seven Twite and there were two Swallows and a Barnacle Goose over. The lagoon at the south end of Tentsmuir Point NNR held three Little Stints and one Greenshank whilst c350 Golden Plovers converged on St Monans and there were two Swallows over. An adult Little Gull was on the rocks at West Wemyss and just along the coast at Dysart there was an adult Mediterranean Gull on the shore as well as two Chiffchaffs and three Goldcrests in the bushes (14th).


Five Twite were seen near the car park at Dysart the following day (15th). East Wemyss held two adult Mediterranean Gulls whilst a sea watch at Kinghorn yielded six Bonxies, at least four Arctic Skuas, three Manx Shearwaters, ten Sandwich Terns, 150+ Kittiwakes, 56 Gannets, nine Red-throated Divers, five Long-tailed Ducks, two Common Scoters, 25 Wigeon, three Red-breasted Mergansers, 18 Razorbills, 53+ Guillemots in two hours. Along the coast at Dalgety Bay a couple of hours produced 24 Bonxies, five Arctic Skuas, nine Red-throated Divers plus one Pale-bellied Brent Goose and a 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull in the bay. Wilderness had one Ruff, 15 Black-Tailed Godwits and seven Golden Plovers. A Spotted Redshank was noted from the Eden Estuary Centre and Kilminning had a Ring Ouzel passing through as well as several commoner migrants (16th). An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Culross (17th) and there was also one gracing the customary Buckhaven site where there were also two Ruffs west. Denburn Wood held a Yellow-browed Warbler and at Kilminning the migrants included unspecified numbers of Brambling, Redwing, Blackcap and Willow Warbler. A Great Northern Diver, six Red-throated Divers, five Bonxies, an Arctic Skua and two Manx Shearwaters were spied off Fife Ness (18th). A juvenile Wheatear turned up on the beach at Out Head. Visible migration at Kincraig Point included 2050 Fieldfares, 26 Bramblings and 1050 Redwings whilst the Redwing count at Ferry Hills was a very impressive 7,070 in just over two hours with a supporting cast of one Ring Ouzel, 84 Bramblings, a Pomarine Skua and one Great Northern Diver. There was also a steady trickle of Redwings at Kilminning as well as two Twite and an unspecified number of Song Thrushes, Blackbirds and Bramblings overhead (19th) with a similar pattern there the next day with the addition of Lesser Redpolls and Siskins. Two Bramblings were at Boarhills along with at least one Ring Ouzel and there were also singles of this species reported at Glen Vale, Kilminning and Ferry Hills with the latter site also producing one Twite, 34 Bramblings and an influx of 19 Bullfinches including seven showing ‘northern’ characters. The Redwing passage was still going strong there but was modest compared to the day before. Two Yellow-browed Warblers were at Cambo Woods and there were singles of this species at Kilminning and at Fife Ness Muir where there was also a probable Siberian Chiffchaff. At least eight Bearded Tits on Mugdrum Island were seen from Newburgh in the afternoon (20th). Pleasants Farm held a Ruff in the pools there then at least seven Northern Bullfinches were still feeding on berries at Ferry Hills whilst overhead highlights included 1560 Redwings, 49 Bramblings, four Crossbills, two Bonxies and a Great Northern Diver (21st).


Early morning observations at Kirkcaldy brought 445+ Redwings, c6 Bramblings and 19 Whooper Swans west whilst along at Ferry Hills four Northern Bullfinches lingered and also seen were a Hawfinch and nine Taiga Bean Geese over and there was another huge movement of Redwings while Kilrenny hosted a Woodcock and Seafield held 13 Purple Sandpipers (22nd). 20 Bramblings were at Cambo House and a report from the Eden Estuary Centre noted a Mediterranean Gull and a Spotted Redshank (23rd) with the latter species still there two days later when it was joined by a Little Egret, 750+ Golden Plovers and two White-tailed Eagles. A Barn Owl was sighted south-east of Lindores Loch (25th). At Kinshaldy there were 14 Red-throated Divers, 13 Slavonian Grebes, a Kingfisher, a Raven, one Merlin, a White-tailed Eagle and 18 Long-tailed Ducks (26th). Two Long-tailed Ducks chose freshwater for a change by putting in a guest appearance at Kilconquhar Loch. Two Bewick Swans were calling as they headed south over Kirkcaldy and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose turned up at Shell Bay (27th). 11 Snipe, two Whooper Swans, 15 Black-Tailed Godwits, eight Dunlins and two Dabchicks were recorded at Valleyfield Lagoons (28th).



Ferry Hills highlights included 29 Taiga Bean Geese, 20 Whooper Swans, 33 Bramblings, one Merlin, three Bonxies and many Kittiwakes going inland with eight of the northern Bullfinches seen briefly. A Spotted Redshank and a Greenshank were at Guardbridge, 15 Whooper Swans flew over Culross, a Great Northern Diver was at Fife Ness and at least 20 Twite mingled with a flock of 250+ Linnets at Kilrenny Mill (29th). Loch Gelly hosted a redhead Smew, c32 Goldeneyes, one Long-tailed Duck, five Goosanders, five Pochards and 39 Tufted Ducks (30th). The redhead Smew was still present at Loch Gelly on the last day of the month (31st).



Information supplied courtesy of Malcolm Ware

Valuation Of White-Tailed Eagle Re-introduction In Fife

Members have been emailed a link to a questionnaire from a St Andrews University student whose dissertation involves an evaluation of the impact of the White-tailed Eagle re-introduction programme in Fife. Members are encouraged to participate.


Cost-Benefit Analysis of Reintroducing White-Tailed Sea Eagles

Questionnaire Cover Sheet:

This research seeks to value the benefits and costs of reintroducing White-Tailed Sea Eagles to Tentsmuir, East Fife. The cost and benefits will be framed using an ecosystem service framework. As such, values will be calculated for their impact on nutrient cycling, biological control, food sources, recreation, their aesthetic value, cultural and artistic value, spiritual and religious value and lastly, science and educational value.

This study is being conducted as part of Duncan Leese’s, Honours Degree thesis in the School of Geography and Sustainable Development.


The Questionnaire:

Initially, you will come across the survey participation sheet. This sheet provides all of the background information with regards to the study. This is followed by the participation consent form. On the consent form are 8 tick boxes, to begin the survey ALL boxes must be ticked. If one is not ticked, then the survey cannot be undertaken.

With regards to any questions about the study – please contact the contact email (listed in participation information form) as we are than happy to answer any questions about the study.

By pressing on either of the following links, you will be taken to the study:


Valuation of White-Tailed Sea Eagles


I would be tremendously grateful if you could complete this questionnaire as part of my research. Thank you so much for your time.

Kind Regards,

Duncan Leese

Next Indoor Meeting – Thursday December 7th

The next Indoor Meeting will be on Thursday 7th December 2017, 7:30pm at the Dean Park Hotel, Kirkcaldy.

” My Birding Life – Merlins and Other Species Along the Way.” Alan Heavisides
Alan is well known for his contribution to the study of Merlins in the Lammermuirs and will entertain us with some musings and a look back at ‘purposeful’ birding from age 13 ¼ years to 67 ¾  and still going!

Next Indoor Meeting – Thursday October 26th

The Next Indoor Meeting will be on 26th October 2017 in the Dean Park Hotel, Kirkcaldy starting at 7.30pm.

“Brasil:  The Pantanal and Interior”   Alison Elphinstone

The title may conjure up pictures of lush greenery and widespread water.  However, Alison’s trip was at the time of lengthy drought. She will detail how her trip was not to be as expected.

Next Club Outing – Sunday October 15th

The next FBC outing will be to the Angus coast on Sunday 15th October. We will meet at the Montrose Basin Visitor Centre at 10:00. The centre is on the south side of the basin on the A92 as you enter Montrose. Would all intending participants contact Ron McNab (e-mail to ron.mcnab123@gmail.com) in sufficient time to allow travel arrangements to be made.

Next Club Outing – Sunday August 27th

The next outing will be to Coble Shore, Balgove Bay and Out Head, meeting at 09:00 at the Eden Centre car park.

Intending participants should contact Ron McNab at least one week prior to the outing via ron.mcnab123@gmail.com

Urban Gulls

Members who have read the Fife Free Press on a regular basis over recent years will be aware that each summer there is correspondence about urban gulls defending their young. The gulls are often the subject of misinformed comment unworthy of a response. However the situation has become more serious with Councillor Gordon Langlands of Burntisland and John Bruce of Burntisland Community Council calling for a cull. (Apparently a cull has already taken place in Dundee). FBC member Leo du Feu is leading the way in attempting to educate the local public and politicians regarding the facts about urban gulls and their behaviour. He has given permission for his letter to the press and his communication to relevant parties to be posted in the Documents section of the website along with a couple of images. Members may wish to follow Leo’s example. If press and councillors are inundated with well informed contributions from members perhaps there will be the chance of tolerance prevailing.