Fife Local Rarities Committee List

January 2023

From January 2023, Red Kite will be removed from the list of species requiring descriptions by the Fife Local Records Committee.

A summary of the reasons for removal are provided below.

With 14 sightings during 2022, the number of records within the county has been increasing steadily during the last few years, reflecting the status of Red Kite in neighbouring regions. This is also one of the most distinctive birds of prey, making identification somewhat straightforward.

January 2021

From January 2021, three species will be removed from the list of those requiring descriptions by the Fife Local Records Committee: Goshawk, Nuthatch and Lapland Bunting.

A summary of the reasons for removal are provided below.


An established breeding bird in the county, Goshawk has been monitored by the Fife Goshawk Study Group since 2016, with a minimum of 20 different territorial pairs recorded during that time. Most ‘casual’ records also come from, or near these established breeding sites.


Nuthatch remained a very scarce bird in the county until recently, but we now have evidence of this species establishing itself as a breeding bird; territorial pairs have been recorded at three different sites between 2017 and 2020 (along with additional records of short stay singles at other locations during this period), with an unsuccessful breeding attempt at one of these sites in 2019 followed by the first confirmed breeding for Fife at a different site in 2020. This is also a distinctive looking species which does not present identification issues.

Lapland Bunting

Many of you will be aware via FBN that the winter of 2020-2021 has seen regular reports of this species in the Kingsbarns to Crail area. Observers estimate that there has been 30+ at five locations so far. Although this winter appears to be producing above average numbers of Lapland Buntings in line with a large influx into Britain during autumn 2020, there is evidence that this species is present in varying numbers every winter on stubble in the East Neuk of Fife. Experienced observers confirm this pattern over 15+ years of observations and the numbers being recorded currently are not unprecedented; there were up to 70 at Wormiston in October 2010 (FBR 2010) and going back further, up to 34 at Crail Airfield in April 1988 (FBR 1988).

Looking at data from BirdTrack for the four-year period 2016-2019 there were 28 records, only three of these were submitted to the FLRC. Understandably, observers are often reluctant to submit records as encounters frequently involve birds in flight, which rely on flight calls for identification with limited plumage details. Concerns were raised that a too strict assessment of this species by the FLRC results in a false picture of Lapland Bunting status in Fife. While a reluctance to submit records is not, on its own, necessarily a reason for removing species from the FLRC list, in the case of Lapland Bunting the FLRC feels that the established pattern of occurrence at predictable locations, often involving flocks of birds, justifies this approach.

2022 Photo Selection

A selection of the best bird photographs by club members for 2022 has been added to the GALLERY ARCHIVE, see menu item at top of page.

2017 Fife Bird Report

The 2017 edition of the Fife Bird Report is now available in the Members Only section of the website. It has approximately 215 pages, including many excellent photographs by club members. Many thanks go to all who contributed to another first class report.

The 2015 edition of the report is now available in the Reports Archive section of the website and and can be accessed by all website visitors.

New Members – Offer ☀☀☀

For people applying for club membership after May 1st, the club constitution allows us to offer membership through to 1st August of the following year. So, anybody joining between now and August 1st won’t have to pay again until August 1st next year. For anyone considering joining the club, it’s a good time to join. Membership forms for 2020-21 can be used. See HOW TO JOIN FBC under the VISITORS tab on the main menu.

Adding Photos To The Gallery

We are particularly after high quality images or images of unusual observations in Fife.


LOG IN to the website.

Click GALLERY at the top of the page.

Click UPLOAD PHOTO at the top and the Upload Photo form should appear.

Fill each box down the form as follows

Title – e.g. Reed Bunting

DescriptionMUST INCLUDE where the bird was sighted e.g. Morton Lochs and the date that the photograph was taken.

You can fill in any other info you wish into this box e.g. Male or one of a flock of 16 etc.

Category – Select the category from the drop-down menu at the right hand side of this box

The current month has usually been prefaced with an “a” e.g. “aFife – February 2021” to make it easier to find (it should appear as the first available option). You can upload to any past category by choosing it from the list.

Select image: (MAXIMUM ALLOWED SIZE IS 6.0 MB) Click on the browse button and navigate to where you have the image stored, select that image and click on the open button. The file name will appear in the box

E.g. C:\fakepath\Reed Bunting2.jpg DO NOT CHANGE ANY OF THIS FILENAME.

Check that you have filled in all the boxes as you have wished.

If you are satisfied with your choices Click the Submit Photo button.

Now check that the image is in the Members only – Gallery.

Yearlist For 2021?

Ever thought of creating a list of different bird species that you’ve seen in Fife during a given year? Why not 2021? There’s not much else to do. See article in From The Archives on Home page for some inspiration.

2020 Photo Selection

A selection of the best bird photographs by club members for 2020 has been added to the GALLERY ARCHIVE, see menu item at top of page.

2016 Fife Bird Report

The 2016 edition of the Fife Bird Report is now available in the Members Only section of the website. It has approximately 220 pages, including many excellent photographs by club members. Many thanks go to all who contributed to another first class report.

The 2014 edition of the report is now available in the Reports Archive section of the website and and can be accessed by all website visitors.

Fife Local Rarities Committee List Additions

Four species have been removed from the SBRC list with effect from 1st January 2020:-

Blyth’s Reed Warbler
Marsh Warbler
Olive-backed Pipit
Little Bunting

These species will now be assessed by the FLRC.  The full list of species considered by the FLRC is as follows:-

Taiga Bean Goose

Tundra Bean Goose

Bewick’s Swan

Egyptian Goose


American Wigeon

Green-winged Teal

Red-crested Pochard

Ring-necked Duck

*Surf Scoter


Black Grouse

White-billed Diver

Leach’s Petrel

Balearic Shearwater

Black-necked Grebe

White Stork

Glossy Ibis



Great White Egret

Honey Buzzard

Red Kite


Rough-legged Buzzard

Golden Eagle

Spotted Crake


American Golden Plover

Temminck’s Stint

Pectoral Sandpiper

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

Red-necked Phalarope

Grey Phalarope

Sabine’s Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Glaucous Gull

Iceland Gull

Roseate Tern

Long-tailed Skua




Golden Oriole


Hooded Crow

Marsh Tit

Willow Tit

Shore Lark

Richard’s Pipit

Siberian Chiffchaff

Pallas’s Warbler

Blyth’s Reed Warbler

Marsh Warbler

Icterine Warbler

Barred Warbler



Rose-coloured Starling


Red-breasted Flycatcher

Olive-backed Pipit

Water Pipit


Common Rosefinch

Common Redpoll

Lapland Bunting

Little Bunting

Key: * Females and eclipse drakes only.

+Juveniles in all circumstances. Adults only if away from established sites.

February Outing Report

Club Outing to Scone Palace And Argaty - Sunday 23 February 2020

Meeting time at Scone Palace was 10am since that is when the gates are opened. Since I was approaching the entrance just before 9.45am I pulled into the car park of Quarrymill Woodland Park. Allister Todd and I took a walk upstream to see if we could see a Dipper but were out of luck. But we did better than that. On the way back to the car park we saw a crow mobbing a raptor, but it wasn’t the usual Buzzard; the crow was mobbing a female Hen Harrier. What a way to start the day, even before the outing started.

Twelve club members gathered in the palace car park just after 10am and we quickly saw the expected driveway species such as Woodpigeon and Jackdaw. Some members also saw a Sparrowhawk whilst a Goldfinch was heard.

Although our weather has been most unkind to birders recently, Sunday, although coldish, started off bright and sunny and remained so for the rest of the day. Our search for the target species, Hawfinch, commenced with a stroll up the main drive. Blue Tits, Coal Tit and Great Tits were active as we made our way to the top of the drive. Some of the group managed to see a Jay on the way up. Just before the end of the drive we took the track to the left to look at some trees on our right where we had seen Hawfinches on previous occasions. It didn’t take long before the first Hawfinch was spotted. We spent some time in this spot and saw a number of these heavy-billed finches flitting from tree to tree and we reckoned we saw at least a dozen.

Whilst admiring the Hawfinches we also picked out Chaffinch, Song Thrush, Carrion Crow and Long-tailed Tit. But two other specialities were also added to our day’s list. On our way up to this spot we had been hearing a Nuthatch and eventually one was seen and I think everybody got onto it. All experienced birders know to ‘look up’ and we did, just in time to see a Peregrine passing overhead.

We then retraced our steps the short distance to the main drive and continued towards the top far enough so we could see the garden bird feeders of the house situated at the end where there is a private entrance to the grounds from the main road. We immediately saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker at the one of the feeders. The feeders were a hive of activity with all three tits busy going back and forward whilst Blackbird and Robin were added to our list. Across the main road, just above the trees, three Buzzards added to the growing raptor list.

We then walked back down to the beginning of the maindrive where the estate’s Peacocks were strutting their stuff and being very vocal. What a noise! Hawfinches had previously been noted at the Kitchen Garden but a visit there proved fruitless. However before we finished at our first stop we added Greenfinch, Mistle Thrush and Treecreeper to the day’s list.

We said goodbye to half the group who were not going on to the Argaty Red Kites station and the remaining six had their lunch before making their way out of Scone for the 45 minute drive to Lerrocks Farm, Argaty where the Red Kites feeding event was to take place at 2.30pm. We had half an hour to bird the car park first and immediately saw our first Red Kite. Nuthatch was only heard but we saw Woodpigeon, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit and also, new for the day, Magpie and Tree Sparrow.

When we first went into the hide there were no birds at the feeders. There was a very brief shower but quickly the blue sky returned giving great light for the photographers in the hide. The feeders came alive with a frenzy of activity before and after the food was dropped on the ground for the Kites. The hide list included Chaffinch, Dunnock, Coal Tit, Robin, Carrion Crow, Siskin, Long-tailed Tit and Pheasant. But, of course, we were there for the Kites and it was, indeed, quite a sight. Over 40 birds flying, soaring, dropping but not landing to pick up the food scraps had us all glued to this spectacular scene for about 1½ hours. At one stage they were joined by a Buzzard.

We then made our way back down the track to the cars, but Allister and I stopped to take more photos (the others were away by the time we got back to the car park) and whilst doing so heard a familiar sound. We quickly turned round to see a Raven flying over the feeding station area. The two of us ended as we started the day, having our own moment of personal satisfaction since both the Harrier and the Raven were year firsts.

As usual we have to thank Ron for leading another highly successful outing. How he organized the one day change in the weather beats me!

Stewart Neilson