January 2021 Sightings

January came in with a blast of cold weather, which curtailed a lot of birding activity, however there were still plenty of good birds around to be seen. The two female Ring-necked Ducks and two drake Smew were still present at Cameron Reservoir (1st), nine Whooper Swans flew south over Chapel Retail Park, Kirkcaldy, 52 Whooper Swans, c80 Teal, c50 Wigeon and six Goldeneye were counted on the main reservoir at Craigluscar and across in the east of the county, c10 Lapland Buntings were in a stubble field SW of the salmon bothy at Hillhead Farm, Boarhills. Nearby at Kingsbarns, c120 Twite were at Boghall, with an adult Mediterranean Gull also at Kingsbarns, off Kinshaldy c50 Long-tailed Ducks were noted and a Jack Snipe was seen at the Secret Bunker near Crail. An adult Mediterranean Gull was on the ice at Beveridge Park pond, Kirkcaldy (2nd) and the two Ring-necked Ducks and Smew at Cameron Reservoir were joined by a Scaup, two Goosanders and c70 Goldeneyes. Back at Kirkcaldy a pair of Blackcaps were watched on garden feeders, 16 Lapland Buntings, two Twite and a leucistic Herring Gull were at Hillhead Farm, Boarhills, a 2nd winter and two adult Mediterranean Gulls were on the beach at Burntisland and on Windmill Road, Cellardyke, eight Crossbills, 20 Fieldfares, 10 Mistle Thrushes, eight Bullfinches, 15 Grey Partridges and six Goldcrests were all watched feeding. 26 Great Crested Grebes were counted in Torry Bay, a Spotted Redshank was on the Eden Estuary LNR, a Greenshank and two Ravens were noted at Fairmont, near St Andrews and at Craighead Farm, Boarhills (3rd) c13 Lapland Buntings were seen, with a further c11 Lapland Buntings and 25 Twite noted at Randerston Farm, Kingsbarns. c150 Shags, 10 Gannets, six Velvet Scoters, six Long-tailed Ducks and a Red-throated Diver were off West Wemyss and at Pittenweem there was an excellent count of c600 Shags roosting and feeding just offshore. At Dalgety Bay, a Great Crested Grebe, three Little Grebes, 24 Red-breasted Mergansers and two Goldeneye were seen, a 1st winter Iceland Gull, two Kittiwakes, a Fulmar, 26 Long-tailed Ducks, c120 Eiders, 30 Razorbills, 12 Guillemots, 28 Gannets and a Red-throated Diver were seen off Kinghorn (4th), three Mediterranean Gulls, a 1st winter and two adults, were at Loch Gelly and the highlights of a count at Newmills Bay were two Black-tailed Godwits, 13 Great Crested Grebes and six Greenshanks. Four Little Grebes, two male Stonechats, 12 Cormorants and c15 Tufted Ducks were noted at Kinghorn Loch (5th) and south of Dunfermline refuse tip, 40 Whooper Swans, 54 Greylag Geese, 26 Pink-footed Geese, two Great Black-backed Gulls, 954 Herring Gulls, five Common Gulls, 10 Fieldfares and 48 Starlings were counted, a Grey Wagtail was noted at St Bridget’s, Dalgety Bay and a single Great Northern Diver was a surprise find in Burntisland Harbour (6th). c800 Pink-footed Geese were in fields near Pittenweem Dump, a female Blackcap and three Tree Sparrows were in a Wormit garden and 11 Magpies were counted in one tree in St Andrews. There was an excellent count of 128 Corn Buntings at Sandyhills, Kingsbarns, 150 Fieldfares, 15 Mistle Thrushes, c20 Twite, a Cormorant over and one Kestrel were noted at Pittenweem and not far away at Carnbee Reservoir, 12 Mallards, four Tufted Ducks, two Wigeon, 25 Teal, two Coots, two Moorhens, two Little Grebes, two Oystercatchers, two Mute Swans, two Stonechats, eight Mistle Thrushes and 10 Fieldfares were all noted. 98 Scaup, 350 Common Scoters and 50 Velvet Scoters were all seen off St Andrews and in fields just north of Baldridge estate, Dunfermline seven Whooper Swans, 55 Greylag Geese, 35 Pink-footed Geese, 48 Yellowhammers, 22 Reed Buntings, 41 Chaffinches, two Greenfinches, eight Fieldfares, two Redwings and 450 Woodpigeons were counted. c250 Skylarks, 40 Linnets, 20 Yellowhammers and a Stonechat were seen at Plains Farm, Dunshalt (7th) and the Corn Bunting count at Sandyhills, Kingsbarns rose to 140, with 60 Yellowhammers, 45 Tree Sparrows and 15 Reed Buntings also noted, 12 Goosanders were noted at Aberdour.

The first drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker of the year was heard at Culross (8th) and the Great Northern Diver was still showing well in Burntisland Harbour. Not far away at Kinghorn Loch, the drake Ring-necked Duck, 106 Tufted Ducks, three Pochard, 20 Wigeon and seven Teal were seen and from Newburgh c6 Bearded Tits were seen on Mugdrum Island. Alongside the Great Northern Diver at Burntisland Harbour a sinensis Cormorant was noted (9th), a male Blackcap was in a Glenrothes garden and c8 Buzzards, one Sparrowhawk, c65 Fieldfares, c10 Redwings and eight Mistle Thrushes were seen in the Lindores to Redmyres area. The Ring-necked Duck was still present at Kinghorn Loch, with five Pochard, one Snipe, one Lesser Black-backed Gull and 40 Goldeneye also noted, 11 Grey Partridges, one Grey Heron, eight Mistle Thrushes, c20 Fieldfares, c10 Blackbirds, two Greenfinches and c10 Crossbills were seen on Windmill Road, Cellardyke and a Snipe was seen circling the SUDs pond, Dunfermline, with 18 Waxwings also noted flying over east towards Calais Muir Woods. 338 Greylags, 112 Pink-feet and one Lapwing were at Barns Farm, eight Crossbills were seen at the Morrisons store in Glenrothes (9th/10th) and in the west a Nuthatch was heard in Culross (10th). Two adult Mediterranean Gulls, 37 Goldeneye, two Grey Wagtails and a Peregrine were seen at Kirkcaldy Harbour and on Windmill Road, Cellardyke 12 Grey Partridges, 15 Fieldfares, one Woodcock, 12 Crossbills, four Coal Tits, six Blue Tits, 10 Blackbirds and four Robins were counted, three Buzzards were seen over Wormit Hill and the flock of 18 Waxwings were seen flying once again towards Calais Muir Woods, Dunfermline, presumably to roost. Alongside the still present Great Northern Diver in Burntisland Harbour (11th) was a 1st winter Glaucous Gull and seen over Wormit Hill were three Buzzards, one Peregrine, one Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk. A Ladybank garden (13th) hosted one Yellowhammer, 26 Greenfinches and two Bullfinches and two Great Northern Divers were seen off Aberdour. The Ring-necked Duck was still on Kinghorn Loch, alongside 182 Tufted Ducks and a Goosander and the Great Northern Diver was still present at Burntisland. Four Long-tailed Ducks, one Fulmar, one male Bullfinch, one Grey Wagtail, three Turnstones, two Redshanks and a Kestrel were noted at Ravenscraig, Kirkcaldy and a scarce Brambling and two Goldcrests were seen at Newburgh. A Black-throated Diver, 680 Eiders and 12 Long-tailed Ducks were off Pettycur, Kinghorn (15th), with a Black-throated Diver and one Razorbill nearby at Burntisland. A Short-eared Owl headed SW over the sand banks at Out Head (16th) and between Balcomie Castle and the golf course a Chiffchaff was noted, with 20 Twite mixed in with 20 Linnets also seen there, a Woodcock was watched coming in off the sea at Fife Ness, with a Red-throated Diver also seen. At Tayport, a Little Gull, one Little Egret, four Pintail, two Jack Snipe and 16 Snipe were seen, at Barns Farm, c320 Greylags were seen resting and along at Torry Bay 15 Great Crested Grebes were counted in one group, with some showing early summer plumage and at Valleyfield Lagoons, three Woodcocks were seen. 26 Golden Plovers were noted at Kilmany (17th), c50 Snow Buntings were seen just north of the car park at Kinshaldy, a genuine Hooded Crow was with Carrion Crows on the foreshore at Tayport, also two Little Egrets and two Pintail were noted. At Mairsland Farm, Auchtermuchty c45 Yellowhammers, 12 Greenfinches and eight Linnets were counted and a 1st winter Mediterranean Gull was seen flying low around houses in Dunfermline. A female Goosander at Kilmany (18th) was only the 3rd record there in 34 years. A Great Northern Diver, five Red-throated Divers, one Slavonian Grebe, 41 Scaup, two Greenshanks and two Ravens were seen from St Andrews Pier, c10 Bullfinches and a Peregrine were noted at Newburgh and in a garden in Dunfermline there was a count of 27 Redpolls (19th). A Great Northern Diver was off Burntisland Harbour and counted from a vantage point over St Andrews were 9,880 scoters, 14 Great Northern Divers, two Black-throated Divers and 27 Red-throated Divers and at Kirkcaldy the drake Ring-necked Duck was back at Beveridge Park. A Great Northern Diver was just offshore at Cellardyke and there was a good count of c500 Rooks at Kilmany (20th). A Nuthatch was in Balbirnie Park, Markinch (21st).

A White-tailed Eagle was watched at Kilmany (22nd) and counted just south of the refuse tip at Dunfermline were 24 Whooper Swans, 421 Pink-footed Geese, 60 Greylag Geese, a Peregrine (on pylon), one Brambling, c150 Chaffinches, c60 Yellowhammers, c20 Reed Buntings, 60 Linnets, 15 Tree Sparrows, eight Skylarks, 800 Woodpigeons and 1200 Herring Gulls. Not far away at the entrance to Broomhall Estate at Charlestown two Nuthatches were seen. An adult Mediterranean Gull was on the beach at West Wemyss, with another adult seen off the Lorry Park on the prom at Kirkcaldy. At Kingskettle (23rd) c800 Pink-feet were in a field to the east of Ladybank Road, the Ring-necked Duck and a Pochard were on Kinghorn Loch, a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen at Boghall, Kingsbarns and off Balcomie Beach a Black Guillemot and a Long-tailed Duck were noted. Close by off Fife Ness, seven Red-throated Divers were counted and the first of a couple of Barn Owls seen recently was on a fence post between Auchtermuchty and Dunshalt, only one female Ring-necked Duck and drake Smew were at Cameron Reservoir, where eight Goosanders and nine Whooper Swans were also present, 14 Whoopers were also watched going over the Army base at Leuchars (24th). 11 Waxwings flew over NW over Wester Bogie Road, Kirkcaldy and seven Grey Partridges were noted near Balmullo. A Kingfisher was seen on the Kinness Burn, St Andrews and the Snow Bunting flock at Kinshaldy was counted at c35, with five Skylarks also present, six pairs of Fulmars had returned early to the Harbour walls at Dysart and on Windmill Road, Cellardyke another count produced three pairs of Bullfinches, four Crossbills, two Redpolls, one Sparrowhawk, six Blackbirds, four Robins and a Woodcock on the edge of a field at the caravan park. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls and a Pochard were on Kinghorn Loch and at Seafield (25th), nine Goosanders, one Brent Goose, two Ringed Plovers, one Black-tailed Godwit, two female Stonechats, 10 Goldfinches, one Greenfinch, 10 Turnstones, one Song Thrush and two Pied Wagtails were noted and at Kinghorn Loch the lone Ring-necked Duck popped up once more. c40 Redpolls, one Sparrowhawk, one Buzzard and a Redshank on the pond, were seen at Wormit Den, an adult Mediterranean Gull was at Burntisland, 2030 Pink-footed Geese were counted at Cockairnie and the other Barn Owl reported, was at Milton of Balgonie. The Ring-necked Duck and accompanying Pochard were seen at Kinghorn Loch (26th) and the Great Northern Diver was still present at Burntisland Harbour. Seen in fields north of Baldridge Estate, Dunfermline (27th) were 24 Whooper Swans, 47 Reed Buntings, six Tree Sparrows, 21 Yellowhammers and 850 Woodpigeons and down at the east coast, two Teal, two Tufted Ducks, 20 Mallards and two Little Grebes were seen on the pond at Fairmount Golf Course, near St Andrews. A Kingfisher was seen on the Tayfield Estate at Newport and a ringtail Hen Harrier was noted at Carnbee Reservoir. One Pale-bellied Brent Goose, c9 Purple Sandpipers, two Sanderlings, 11 Ringed Plovers, one male Blackcap, one Grey Wagtail and a Red-throated Diver were noted at Seafield, with another Pale-bellied Brent Goose seen briefly at Dalgety Bay (29th), along with 267 Wigeon and over at Kingsbarns a Black Guillemot was on the sea, with two Puffins, three Great Northern Divers and nine Red-throated Divers watched passing offshore. A fine count of c21 Grey Partridges at Kilmany (30th), was noted as being the largest covey there for a long time, a female/immature Black Redstart was a good find at the lighthouse at Fife Ness, as was a Nuthatch at the east end of Culross. The Wilderness had five Pintail, three Shelducks and a Whooper Swan amongst the usual suspects and an excellent count of 21 Bullfinches along with a flock of Goldfinches was made at Culross, an adult and a 1st winter Mediterranean Gull and a Lapland Bunting were at Kenly Water, 36 Brent Geese, including a Dark-breasted bird and a Little Egret were at Balgove, 1500 Pink-feet, one Barnacle Goose and eight Whooper Swans were counted near Morton Lochs NNR and the Great Northern Diver was still at Burntisland Harbour (31st), along with a 1st winter Glaucous Gull. Along Windmill Road, Cellardyke eight Crossbills, four Bullfinches, two Great Tits, two Coal Tits, one Robin and four Blue Tits were counted and off Tentsmuir a Red-necked Grebe and c6 Slavonian Grebes were noted, while the Snow Bunting flock count was still at c35 just off the car park at Kinshaldy, c30 Redpolls were seen in Wormit and a garden in Burntisland hosted three Blackcaps, a male and two females.

Information supplied courtesy of Malcolm Ware