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)



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). 



Mainland Fife List -June 2023 update

The mainland Fife Bird List has been updated and  as of 30 June 2023 stood at 342 species (pending acceptance of some records by the relevant rarities committees). The full list can be viewed here.  


Scope 130 for winter 2022/23 is now available to FBC members here. It includes a report on noteworthy species during 2022, articles on Black-winged Kite and a Fife ‘big bird year’, as well as write-ups of two FBC outings. 

Fife Bird Site Guide

An electronic version of the Fife Bird Site Guide is now available to FBC members. For more information and the download link click here

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.

April 2022 Sightings

Garganey were still showing at St Andrews and Cameron Reservoir on the 1st with the pair and the drake respectively. 35 Golden Plover were counted on East Lomond, a Greenshank was on the Stinky Pool at Fife Ness and a Red Kite went over Tentsmuir. A female Marsh Harrier at Luthrie early morning on the 2nd flushed 128 Wigeon and nearby at Letham Pools an Osprey
flew NW with five Water Rail showing well. Another Osprey flew over Golden Loch, 470 Pinkfooted Geese were at Rossie Bog with the first reported Wheatear seen later in the day and two Short-eared Owls were noted at Cameron Reservoir. Good conditions early on the 3rd resulted in a Black-necked Grebe, three Red-necked Grebes, six Black-throated Divers, one Great Northern Diver, four Red-throated Divers and ten Slavonian Grebes being seen off Lower Largo. The only report on the 4th was of 21 Corn Buntings in a field near the caravan park at Cellardyke and the first reported Swallow sighting came from St Andrews the next day. The Garganey was reported again at Cameron Reservoir on the 6th as was the Green Sandpiper at Lochore Meadows Country Park. Four Greenshank were at The Wilderness on the 7th and at Fife Ness that day a seawatch included 20 Red-throated Divers (13S and 7N) and a Blackthroated Diver with six Purple Sandpipers on the rocks.

An Osprey flew north over Ferry Hills on the 8th with single Red-necked Grebe and Blackthroated Diver at Lower Largo and two Twite located in a Linnet flock upstream at Guardbridge. Early morning on the 9th began with three Ospreys coming in off the sea at Kinghorn, with two Great Northern Divers and four Red-throated Divers seen. Just along the coast at Dysart at the same time another Osprey and two Greenshanks flew over and two Black-throated Divers flew E with 70 Twite noted at Boghall, Kingsbarns. A White-fronted Goose was reported in the Pitlessie area, a Willow Warbler was at Crossford and a Short-eared Owl was watched at Caiplie. At Fife Ness the next day 17 Red-throated Divers passed going N with a Whimbrel also seen and nearby 30 Twite were still at Boghall, Kingsbarns with two Manx Shearwaters heading north at Fife Ness on the 11th. 100 Golden Plover were still to be found at the airfield at Crail on the 13th with a few more of the commoner migrants i.e. Wheatear, Swallows and Willow Warblers appearing throughout the county at this time. 46 Pintail and two Scaup were at the Eden Estuary the following day with five White Wagtails seen at Kilrenny Mill.

The 15th began with an excellent record of 62 Velvet Scoters first thing at Pathhead and an adult Little Gull at Letham Pools. A Merlin flew over Shell Bay on the 16th with c260 Common Scoters and 53 Velvet Scoters off Dysart and nearby a Firecrest was reported from Ravenscraig Park, Kirkcaldy. The first Tree Pipit went over Ferry Hills early morning and a Marsh Harrier was at Letham Pools. Grasshopper Warblers were noted on the 17th at Blairhall and Kinghorn with a Whimbrel and 12 Purple Sandpipers at Ruddons Point. c35 Twite were still at Boghall, Kingsbarns and a single Manx Shearwater flew S there with another at Fife Ness the next day and a Whimbrel seen. Two Common Cranes were also photographed flying S over Loch Glow on the 18th. Two Sedge Warblers were at Letham Pools on the 19th, the first reported returning birds and an excellent find there the next day was a Spotted Crake showing well at times. Unfortunately there was no sign on the 21st when a Black-throated Diver and a Whimbrel flew past Fife Ness.

Late afternoon on the 22nd there was a report of a Great Shearwater going north past Kingsbarns then turning and heading S. 11 Manx Shearwaters, two Scaup, a Whimbrel, seven Red-throated Divers and two Arctic Skuas flew N at Fife Ness on the 23rd. The following day two Green Sandpipers were at Luthrie and nine Manx Shearwaters passed Ruddons Point heading E with a Whimbrel also there. 23 Manx Shearwaters, two Arctic Skuas and two Bonxies went N past Fife Ness, also on the 24th. Three Ruff were noted at Letham Pools on the 25th with only one remaining the following day. 65 Barnacle Geese and 62 Common Scoters went past Fife Ness on the 27th and a Yellow Wagtail flew over Bogward road St Andrews, calling as it did so. A Wood Sandpiper graced the floods at Luthrie on the 28th with the single Ruff remaining at Letham Pools and a Quail was heard singing at Kilmany late that evening. A Lesser Whitethroat was seen on the coastal path between Kinghorn and Seafield Tower on the 29th. The last day of the month saw a Wood Sandpiper flushed by a dog at Holl Reservoir while Grasshopper Warblers were being seen at various sites throughout the county and the first reported Spotted Flycatcher was at Lower Kilminning. Letham Pools was visited by eight Black-tailed Godwits with the Ruff still present and c4 Water Rail.

Information supplied courtesy of Malcolm Ware

March 2022 Sightings

March began as February had ended with the Green-winged Teal and two Greenshanks still showing at The Wilderness and the potential first accepted record for Fife of Ross’s Goose seen in that vicinity before returning to the Pitlessie/Kingskettle area. Another goose put in an appearance when a Greenland White-fronted Goose was spotted amongst the Greylags at Letham Pools and a Water Rail was seen. At Newburgh a Peregrine, Sparrowhawk, six Buzzards and six Ravens were noted while another raptor in the form of a male Goshawk was watched flying high to the North over Bogward Road in St Andrews. One lucky observer had two Short-eared Owls hunting over a field near St Monans and near Dunshalt a Twite was picked out amongst 60 Linnets. The second day of the month began with a drake Scaup and at least two Sinensis Cormorants at Loch Gelly and a Green-winged Teal upstream from the bridges at Guardbridge. The Greenland White-fronted Goose was still showing at Letham Pools and c200 Golden Plover were on the airfield at Crail with Bogward Road in St Andrews the venue for four Bramblings flying south. At Cameron Reservoir the drake Smew and nearby 17 Whooper Swans were seen on the 3rd dropping to 15 the following day. Newburgh was graced by a female Marsh Harrier on the 4th and Water Rail again showed at Letham Pools with two seen. The Green-winged Teal and the two Greenshank were at the Wilderness and 28 Purple Sandpipers roosted at St Andrews. A leucistic Herring Gull at Roome Bay, Crail caused a bit of head scratching before its identity was confirmed. The 5th started with nearly 2000 Pink-footed Geese NE of the Wilderness with the Greenland White-fronted Goose and later a Tundra Bean Goose seen. Nearby at Rossie Bog c1000 Pink-footed Geese were in flight including a partial leucistic bird, and probably involved birds from the Wilderness flock. Another c500 Pink-footed Geese were at Cairnsmill Caravan Park, St Andrews with the drake Smew and 24 Whooper Swans at Cameron Reservoir. The Green-winged Teal was at The Wilderness where a Woodcock was also seen and Kincraig had five plus Bramblings and two Ravens. A single male Snow Bunting showed at Kilrenny Mill and a Merlin at Morton Lochs NNR. The following day was much the same with the Greenland White-fronted Goose and Tundra Bean Goose still in the area NE of the Wilderness and the drake Green-winged Teal showing well at the Wilderness itself and all three still there on the 7th. Two pairs of Crossbills and 20 Corn Buntings were seen at Cellardyke with the male Snow Bunting and a Merlin at Kilrenny Mill. A male Black Redstart was moving through Bogward Road, St Andrews, singing occasionally, and nearby on the Eden Estuary a Black-necked Grebe was reported. The wintering Common Sandpiper, 41 Scaup and three Little Egrets were at Guardbridge on the 7th and unusually a Green Woodpecker was seen in Methil.

An adult Little Gull flew east past the sailing club at Dalgety Bay on the 8th when a Merlin was at Kincraig. 19 Whooper Swans were still in residence in the field just outside Star of Markinch and Green-winged Teals were showing at the Wilderness and Guardbridge on the 9th and the following day. Distantly off Coble Shore on the Eden Estuary the same day, a Black-necked Grebe was noted. Drumtenant Farm, Freuchie hosted a Greenland White-fronted Goose, c200 Greylag Geese, 21 Whooper Swans and 35 Mute Swans on the 10th. The drake Smew and c800 Pink-footed Geese were at Cameron Reservoir with a Woodcock flushed at Elie Estate and nearby Kincraig had Bramblings in a mixed finch flock numbering up to 1000 individuals. A seawatch from Fife Ness on the 11th had a summer-plumaged Black Guillemot as the highlight with 42 Long-tailed Ducks, seven Red-throated Divers and 200 Razorbills flying south. For the second year running two Common Cranes flew over the county in March. This time it was at Kinghorn and again early morning on the 12th. A Black Guillemot was again seen passing Fife Ness and Boghall, Kingsbarns had an impressive 72 Twite with Valleyfield Lagoons holding 30 Snipe, two Water Rails, 40 Teal and a Greenshank. Cameron Reservoir on the 13th had a Garganey, Smew and 17 Whooper Swans with the Black-necked Grebe again seen on the Eden Estuary with eight Slavonian Grebes for company. A Green Sandpiper was watched on the nature reserve at Lochore Meadows Country Park and was still there on the 14th with two singing Chiffchaffs for company. The latter species was being noted at a few sites around this time throughout the county.

The 15th heralded the first Sand Martins of the spring with three at Lochore Meadows Country Park with the Green Sandpiper still showing nearby on the nature reserve and 18 Whooper Swans flying north over Thornton Pool. The only report on the 16th was the Green Sandpiper at Lochore Meadows Country Park again with an Avocet gracing the Eden Estuary on the 17th, three Little Gulls were at Kilconquhar Loch and the Garganey was still at Cameron Reservoir. A sighting of a Green Woodpecker at Kilmany was only the second there in 25 years and 60 Whooper Swans headed north over West Sands, St Andrews with the flock at Star of Markinch rising to 33. The Smew and Garganey were still at Cameron Reservoir on the 18th with a supporting cast of ringtail Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl. Kincraig had 15 Twite with 980 Linnets and a Red Kite while further west at Lower Largo there were 41 Slavonian Grebes and 24 Red-throated Divers on show. Lindores Loch had the pick of the day with a Great White Egret seen from the fisherman’s jetty and it was still there over the next two days. A Red-necked Grebe was off Leven on the 19th with Garganey, Smew and a ringtail Hen Harrier seen at Cameron Reservoir. An adult Little Gull was at Kilconquhar Loch with a minimum of six Jack Snipe on Cocklemill Marsh. 36 Whooper Swans flew north over Ladybank with another 12 at Letham Pools which had a flock of c500 Pink-footed Geese for company which included a European White-fronted Goose. A Short-eared Owl was noted on East Lomond and a Ring-necked Parakeet was again seen at Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy. The Avocet appeared again on the Eden Estuary on the 20th at Guardbridge with four Little Egrets counted also. The Garganey was still showing at Cameron Reservoir with a Red-necked Grebe off Ruddons Point. An unringed drake Mandarin Duck added a bit of colour at Birnie Loch on the 21st with the Avocet still on the Eden Estuary and the Green Sandpiper at Lochore Meadows Country Park. Two sinensis Cormorants were seen at Loch Gelly with 85 Goldeneye, 32 Pochard and five Gadwall. The adult Little Gull remained at Kilconquhar Loch and a Greenland White-fronted Goose was with c500 Pink-footed Geese at Star Moss near Star of Markinch. The Avocet was continuing its stay on the Eden Estuary on the 22nd as was the Short-eared Owl at Cameron Reservoir. An Osprey flew north over Blairadam on the 23rd with an adult Little Gull at Kilconquhar Loch, a Red-necked Grebe off Leven, the Green Sandpiper at Lochore Meadows Country Park and the ringtail Hen Harrier seen again at Cameron Reservoir. The latter site still had the drake Garganey, Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl in attendance on the 24th. The 25th was a memorable day with an adult Golden Eagle at West Lomond before flying off to the north-west. The Garganey was at Cameron reservoir with three Short-eared Owls and six Whooper Swans. Eight Whooper Swans were also noted at Loch Fitty, with nine just east of Steelend also. At Lower Largo on the 26th were a Red-necked Grebe, nine Slavonian Grebes, 18 Red-throated Divers and c200 Razorbills. The first reported Sandwich Tern was reported off Sauchope Links, Crail and two Short-eared Owls were at Cameron Reservoir. A similar start to the previous day saw a Red-necked Grebe, two Slavonian Grebes and a Sand Martin noted at a misty Pathhead first thing on the 27th. Ospreys were noted going over Lindores Loch and Newburgh with the Garganey and two Short-eared Owls at Cameron Reservoir. A lunchtime break at St Andrews University on the 28th resulted in a pair of Garganey being found on the pond there and at Golden Loch a Red Kite drifted south-west. The pair of Garganey were still showing well in St Andrews on the 29th and remained until the end of the month. At Fife Ness a Greenshank and 20 Purple Sandpipers were roosting with a Manx Shearwater passing there the next day. Just along the coast at Kilminning a Great Northern Diver flew east and 180 Golden Plovers were counted also on the 30th. The last day of March began with a report of ten Garganey at Cameron Reservoir early morning but only two were noted by mid-afternoon with the ringtail Hen Harrier also there. The Eden Estuary had eight Scaup, three Little Egrets, 35 Pintail with four of the latter at Dalgety Bay and a White Wagtail was seen at Pleasants Farm Pools.

Information supplied courtesy of Malcolm Ware