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.