December 2019 Sightings

Waxwings continued to be a feature of reports, particularly in Kirkcaldy where the congregation in the Victoria Road car wash area increased to c170 but seemed to be quite mobile since c100 were spotted flying over Pathhead towards Dysart. Meanwhile two were present at Torryburn. A Water Pipit was on the beach at Shell Bay and 13 Twite were nearby at the bridges over Cocklemill Burn and a report from the general Ruddons Point/Cocklemill Marsh/St Ford Links area included one Jack Snipe, eight Snipe, one Purple Sandpiper, 150 Velvet Scoters, five Crossbills and 260 Fieldfares then up at Crail a Woodcock was noted (1st). Five Waxwings were on Smithy Road at Balmullo and two drake Surf Scoters were in St Andrews Bay as well as 86 Scaup and c140 Long-tailed Ducks (2nd). There were still two Smew at the far end of Cameron Reservoir and a redhead was seen by the visitors centre at Lochore Meadows CP whilst one Pintail was in the reserve area. Edenside hosted nine Tree Sparrows and a Brambling. Waxwing sightings included 19 in South Fergus Place, Kirkcaldy, at least 14 on Smithy Road and two on Lucklaw Road, Balmullo. A Short-eared Owl was seen from the track behind the golf course at Kingsbarns and an adult Mediterranean Gull was in the Shell Bay roost in the afternoon (3rd). The Water Pipit was at the bridges at Cocklemill Burn, a Black-necked Grebe was just outside Elie harbour, a redhead Smew was present at Kilconquhar Loch then c80 Golden Plovers were spied in a field east of Kilminning. Six Greenshanks were in the high tide roost just east of Kinkell Harbour (4th). There was still a redhead Smew at the dam end of Cameron Reservoir and there was also one at Dalgety Bay where 16 Waxwings were at the west end of Ridge Way, near Asda (6th). A Short-eared Owl and 34 Purple Sandpipers were noted at Kingsbarns (7th).

A Water Pipit was still present at Cocklemill Burn whilst nearby, a Whimbrel and three Purple Sandpipers were at Ruddons Point with a Raven at Kincraig Point. Two redhead Smew and a female Goosander were at Cameron Reservoir. A report from Newton Sandpit included eight Dabchicks, two Mute Swans (with seven young), 31 Greylag Geese, 38 Wigeon, 24 Mallards, 33 Teal, 18 Tufted Ducks, two Gadwall, 14 Goldeneyes, three Moorhens, 25 Starlings and c30 Fieldfares whilst six Dabchicks were at Newton Farm then Linkswood held eight Wigeon, 24 Mallards, four Moorhens and two Gadwall (8th). A redhead Smew was at Kilconquhar Loch again, the Black-necked Grebe lingered at Elie as did the Water Pipit at Cocklemill Burn where it was joined by another. A Little Egret was at Edenside and Morton Lochs NNR hosted two Mute Swans, two Canada Geese, c140 Teal, 50 Mallards, four Moorhens, a Jay, eight Long-tailed Tits and two Bullfinches with 17 Whooper Swans over. Two Waxwings were on west side of coastal car park at Torryburn, an adult Mediterranean Gull was on the beach at Dysart and 43 Purple Sandpipers were counted Kingsbarns (9th) where, the following day, an adult Mediterranean Gull was on the shore just north of the coastal path car park and also present were 21 Purple Sandpipers with five Twite seen two fields north of the golf course on the coastal path, then a further 34 of this species circling over the coastal path there. c1000 Pink-feet were in fields opposite the police station at Anstruther. The two Water Pipits at Cocklemill Burn were seen with many Rock Pipits including a yellow Darvic ringed individual (10th).Two redhead Smew were still present at Cameron Reservoir (11th). A juvenile Hen Harrier and six Twite were in fields just north of the golf course at Kingsbarns and the two Water Pipits were still around the mouth of Cocklemill Burn with 12 or more Rock Pipits (12th). A redhead Smew loitered at Cameron Reservoir and c12 Slavonian Grebes, c10 Long-tailed Ducks, 30 Scaup, nine Brent Geese, ten Pintails and 200 Knot were seen at Out Head. Sightings at Edenside included two Little Egrets, three Herons, 53 Shelducks, 63 Teal, 32 Mallards, six Goldeneyes, 55 Lapwings and 12 Tree Sparrows (13th). A Chiffchaff was at Kilrenny (14th).

One Water Pipit was still at Cocklemill Burn (15th). Six Dabchicks, a Little Egret, c110 Lapwings and 12 Tree Sparrows were recorded at Edenside, two redhead Smew were still present at Cameron Reservoir and two drake Surf Scoters, a female Scaup and c200 Long-tailed Ducks were noted off the Golf Museum car park at St Andrews whilst a Short-eared Owl was seen again at Kingsbarns (17th). The two Water Pipits continued their residence at Cocklemill Burn, singles of Great Northern Diver, Little Auk and Slavonian Grebe were noted in Largo Bay then observations at Out Head included nine Slavonian Grebes, 53 Pintails, 24 Scaup and 18 Long-tailed Ducks (19th). A Red-necked Grebe was off Dalgety Bay Sailing Club (20th) (A useful image of this species alongside a Great Crested Grebe can be found in the December album on the website gallery). A juvenile Marsh Harrier was seen on Mugdrum Island, viewed from the pier at Newburgh (21st).

An adult Mediterranean Gull was in a feeding flock of c450 Black-headed Gulls at Seafield where two Red-throated Divers and 12 Purple Sandpipers were also seen. 75 Whooper Swans were in fields between Freuchie and Kettlebridge and a count at Out Head / Balgove included 27 Pintails, 35 Scaup, 18 Brent Geese, one White-tailed Eagle, ten Slavonian Grebes, two Great Crested Grebes and 12 Long-tailed Ducks (22nd). A Red-necked Grebe and 22 Long-tailed Ducks were seen off the Tiel Burn at Kirkcaldy’s promenade whilst along at Kinghorn a Black-throated Diver and eight Purple Sandpipers were seen. The Black Necked Grebe and a Great Northern Diver were off the sailing club car park at Elie. A White-tailed Eagle, five Red-throated Divers and a pair of Stonechats were noted at Out Head and another pair of the latter species were seen at Kingsbarns as well as, presumably, the lingering Short-eared Owl. The two drake Surf Scoters off the St Andrews Golf Museum car park were accompanied by c1800 Common Scoters, six Velvet Scoters, 200 Long-tailed Ducks, 60 Scaup, and one Great Crested Grebe whilst ten Purple Sandpipers were on the rocks and a  Peregrine was on the cliffs. Four Crossbills were seen at Morton Lochs NNR (23rd). The two drake Surf Scoters in St Andrews Bay were joined by a Great Northern Diver and 11 Red-throated Divers then c18 Waxwings were reported at the bottom of Oriel Road, Kirkcaldy (24th). 17 Purple Sandpipers and a Slavonian Grebe were noted at Anstruther (25th). At Pathhead an adult Mediterranean Gull was on the sea first thing and 32 Waxwings passed over heading east. At Kingsbarns 18 Twite were between the golf course and the Kenly Water. A Woodcock was recorded at Kilrenny and the two drake Surf Scoters remained at St Andrews (26th). 12 Waxwings were briefly in trees at rear of Sainsbury’s in Kirkcaldy and three were in Crossford then c20 Corn Buntings, c15 Yellowhammers, ten Reed Buntings, c100 Linnets were all counted at Kingsbarns and the two drake Surf Scoters lingered at St Andrews. A female Marsh Harrier graced  Rossie Bog and c2500 Pink-feet were in fields at the west end of the Standing Stane road (27th). The Black-necked Grebe was still present at Elie Harbour, the two drake Surf Scoters looked set for a long stay at St Andrews and c20 Waxwings were seen again at the bottom of Oriel Road, Kirkcaldy (28th).

A Chiffchaff was seen and a probable Siberian Chiffchaff was calling and seen briefly in the same area of Dysart where a couple of likely candidates turned up in mid-winter 2016/2017. At Luthrie there were three Black-tailed Godwits, a Redshank, 40 Lapwings, 470 Wigeon, 180 Teal, 15 Mallards and a Raven (29th). 80 Corn Buntings were counted at the waterless bridge by Pittenweem and 12 of this species were seen at Ardross Farm, St Monans. Balgove Bay/Out Head hosted a Little Egret, 15 Brent Geese (including one dark-bellied), good numbers of Pintail and two Slavonian Grebes. The year ended with c80 Scaup and the two drake Surf Scoters off St Andrews and one Water Pipit still at Cocklemill Burn (30th) and also on Hogmanay (31st).

Information supplied courtesy of Malcolm Ware and Graham Sparshott