January 2024 Sightings

2024 started relatively mild, weather-wise and the 1st saw quite a few birds being reported. A Little Auk was close inshore at Fife Ness, also one Black Guillemot S and four Little Gulls passing, c30 Twite were on the shore at Carrick Villa, Lower Largo, the 1st winter drake Scaup was still present at Kinghorn Loch and a Kingfisher at St Margaret’s Marsh, Rosyth, was an unusual visitor there. The Black Redstart was still present at Roome Bay, Crail, 22 Brent Geese, one Kingfisher and two Little Egrets were seen at the Eden Estuary LNR and two Slavonian Grebes were off Out Head. 20 Whooper Swans and two Goosanders were at Craigluscar, two Crossbills were seen near Knockhill and the first of a few Barn Owls seen in the early part of January, was seen at the Parbroath Crossroads. Seen from Fife Ness (2nd) were a Black Guillemot on the sea, 50 Common Scoters S, three Gannets N and three Red-throated Divers S, 102 Twite and a female Merlin were at Balcomie Cottages and seen from Kinghorn were two Great Northern Divers, two Red-necked Grebes, nine Red-throated Divers, 126 Long-tailed Ducks, one Slavonian Grebe and an adult Little Gull. A Merlin was on the track at Cameron Reservoir, where the pair of Scaup and the Slavonian Grebe were still present, a solitary Snow Bunting was at Out Head and seen at Burntisland were 12 Great Crested Grebes, 21 Kittiwakes, one Long-tailed Duck and 26 Bar-tailed Godwits. 11 Waxwings were seen in Balmullo (3rd) and the large flock of Bramblings (c130) were still at Guardbridge and noted passing Fife Ness were a Great Skua N and three Little Gulls (two adults and one 2nd calendar year). 10 Crossbills were seen at Clatto Reservoir and off Dalgety Bay was a Slavonian Grebe. The 11 Waxwings were still at Balmullo (4th), a Little Egret was seen from the Coastal Path at Kilrenny Mill, the Slavonian Grebe, a drake Pintail and five Crossbills were seen at Cameron Reservoir, the 26 Brent Geese at Coble Shore included a Dark-bellied Brent Goose, two Greenshanks were also present. Seen from Dalgety Bay were two Great Northern Divers and one Long-tailed Duck and counted at Bowhouse Farm, St Monans (5th) were 30 Corn Buntings and six Grey Partridges, c800 Pink-feet were in fields to the NW of Anstruther and seen around the Newmills Bay area were one Bar-tailed Godwit, four Greenshanks, one Kingfisher, c40 Siskins and three Snipe. Five Red-throated Divers, a Velvet Scoter and a Long-tailed Duck were in Dysart Harbour, a Great Northern Diver, one Little Egret, 122 Velvet Scoters and 50 Common Scoters were at Ruddons Point and seen from Lower Largo were three Great Northern Divers. A drake Smew, the Slavonian Grebe, a Long-tailed Duck, two Scaup and 12 Crossbills were at Cameron Reservoir, three Red-breasted Mergansers and nine Goosanders were on Loch Gelly and a female Marsh Harrier was seen at Newburgh (6th). 13 Whooper Swans and eight Snipe were counted at Letham Pools, and nine Ravens were seen in a field at the Bow of Fife, 160 Golden Plovers were seen on East Lomond in the Lomond Hills and seen at Coble Shore were six Pale-bellied Brent Geese, seven Greenshanks and three Slavonian Grebes. A good count of Whooper Swans, 42, was made at Bow of Fife, where c1000 Pink-footed Geese were also seen and seen from the Golf Museum Car Park, St Andrews were 32 Scaup, 144 Long-tailed Ducks, 2500 Common Scoters and 50 Velvet Scoters. Also noted in St Andrews were two adult Little Gulls SE over Bogward Road, very unusual. Four Snow Buntings were seen at Kinshaldy (7th), a male Merlin, 30 Whooper Swans and c5 Ravens were seen at Letham Pools, three Slavonian Grebes, 94 Black-tailed Godwits and a Peregrine were seen at the Eden Estuary LNR, a Little Egret was still present at Cocklemill Marsh and by the end of the first week the Black Redstart was still showing well at Roome Bay, Crail. A Black necked Grebe was also a good find off Leven.

A drake Smew was reported at Guardbridge (8th), two Bearded Tits, two Snipe, c6 Reed Buntings, one Sparrowhawk and 80 Pink-footed Geese were seen at St Margaret’s Marsh, Rosyth and there was a good count of 24 Whooper Swans at Star Moss, which included six juveniles. Five Whooper Swans were also seen passing over Bow of Fife S and these included one juvenile, also noted were seven Ravens N. Continuing the upturn in Barn Owl sightings was one near Tayport and seen at St Margaret’s Marsh, Rosyth (9th) were one adult Mediterranean Gull and the very unusual sight of at least 40 Blue Tits in a single bush! The next day at St Margaret’s Marsh, Rosyth a Bearded Tit was seen briefly and heard, the drake Smew, one Snipe and 12 Crossbills were all seen at Cameron Reservoir. Heard on the Rankeilour Estate (11th) were a vocal Chiffchaff plus at least two pairs of Nuthatches, a Little Egret was still to be seen along the Coastal Path at Cellardyke and at Donibristle, two Whooper Swans were amongst the eight Mute Swans there. Seen from Fife Ness (13th) were four 2nd calendar year Little Gulls, a further three Little Gulls, 35 Red-throated Divers, 17 Purple Sandpipers and one Black Guillemot S, an adult male Hen Harrier was seen between Rathillet and Kilmany and at Lower Largo one Red-necked Grebe and eight Purple Sandpipers were present. An adult White-tailed Eagle was on the north bank of Eden Estuary LNR, c90 Twite were at Coble Shore and counted at Tentsmuir Point NNR were c3500 Eiders, a redhead Smew and a pair of Long-tailed Ducks. A Little Egret passed Boarhills SE, with 20 Twite and four Greenshanks also noted there, off Fife Ness (14th) were seven 2nd calendar year Little Gulls lingering offshore. Another Barn Owl was seen near Auchtermuchty and alongside the 18 Whooper Swans at Craigluscar were 21 Gadwall, three Goosanders and 101 Wigeon. Not far away at Lochhead Landfill Site, c800 Pink-footed Geese were present. Three Scaup and seven Goosanders were at Loch Gelly, 40 Twite were around Boghall Farm, Kingsbarns and a Jack Snipe was seen at St Margaret’s Marsh, Rosyth. Counted at Torry as part of the Winter Gull Survey were c700 Common Gulls, with 16 Pintail and two Greenshanks also noted. Both the Black Redstart at Crail and the drake Smew and Crossbill flocks at Cameron Reservoir were still showing well up to the end of that week.

A mixed flock of c500 Redwings and Fieldfares were seen at Cellardyke (15th), a Barn Owl was seen at Falkland and on Kinshaldy Beach (16th) were five Snow Buntings, a flock of 25 Waxwings were seen in Guardbridge and as part of the Winter Gull Survey, two Mediterranean Gulls, 750 Black-headed Gulls, 300 Common Gulls, 700 Herring Gulls, 30 Kittiwakes and three Great Black-backed Gulls were counted at Burntisland. A Nuthatch was an unusual visitor to Newburgh and seen at Valleyfield Lagoons (17th) were a Woodcock, a Water Rail and a Sparrowhawk, with two Woodcocks also seen at Cullaloe LNR. A ringtail Hen Harrier was seen flying over the reeds at the west end of Loch Fitty, the 200 Skylarks seen in the stubble at Letham Pools were probably part of a cold weather movement, another Barn Owl was seen between Auchtermuchty and Strathmiglo and the Bearded Tits were seen briefly again at St Margaret’s Marsh, Rosyth (18th). Seen off Dalgety Bay were a Great Northern Diver, three Whooper Swans and one Shoveler, 11 Golden Plovers were noted at Kilminning and off Fife Ness (19th), were seven 2nd calendar year Little Gulls N and a Black Guillemot on the sea. A Long-tailed Duck was in Anstruther Harbour and the count of Whooper Swans at Star Moss had risen to 46, which included six juveniles. A 2nd winter Glaucous Gull was a good find in a mixed gull flock at Tayport and seen from Fife Ness (20th) were three Little Auks (2S, 1N) and a Great Northern Diver N. A single Greenshank was at Dalgety Bay, with three seen at Coble Shore, where 10 Brent Geese and one Slavonian Grebe were also noted. A Pacific Diver was reported from Burntisland Docks and counted from Fife Ness (21st) were two Black Guillemots S, five Little Gulls (3 adults and two 2nd calendar year), three Great Northern Divers, 69 Red throated Divers, 62 Long-tailed Ducks, 22 Common Scoters, one Velvet Scoter and six Gannets. A total of 56 Crossbills were seen around Pitmedden Forest with two Woodcocks and a Raven also seen. A Black-throated Diver, two Purple Sandpipers and 96 Golden Plovers were seen at Kingsbarns and a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen at Cameron Reservoir, with the drake Smew still present there and the Black Redstart at Crail was also still present up to the end of that week.

Eight Barnacle Geese were among c1000 Pink-feet in a field at the west end of Clatto Reservoir (22nd), the large flock of c200 Bramblings were seen again at Guardbridge (23rd), a White-tailed Eagle went N over Leuchars Camp, a drake Pintail was an early visitor to Letham Pools and two Waxwings were welcome visitors to a Cellardyke garden (24th). A Barn Owl was seen at Balgownie, a pair of Pochard and a drake Scaup were at Cameron Reservoir (25th), seen at Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline were two Nuthatches, with another also heard, the flock of c20 Waxwings were still at Leuchars (26th) and seen off Fife Ness (27th) were a Black Guillemot S, two Little Gulls offshore and one Great Northern Diver S. A White-tailed Eagle and a Slavonian Grebe were seen at Out Head and a smaller flock of Bramblings, c60, were still at Guardbridge. The juvenile Long-tailed Duck was still present at Kilconquhar Loch and six Barnacle Geese were in with 1000 Pink-feet at Balbuthie. Seen on Kinshaldy Beach (28th) were five Snow Buntings and two Little Egrets, at least five Waxwings were still at Leuchars and alongside the group of six Pale-bellied Brent Geese at Balgove Bay was a single Dark-bellied Brent Goose. The Brambling flock numbered c100 at Guardbridge, the redhead Smew was still present at Angle Park GP and seen at Coble Shore (29th) were 10 Brent Geese, 11 Pintail, three Little Egrets and two Greenshanks. Two Waxwings flew over the park in Guardbridge and heard on the Falkland Estate (30th) were two Tawny Owls duetting, a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen heading W at Kilmany, a Black-necked Grebe, one Red-necked Grebe and c2 Slavonian Grebes were seen off Leven and off Lower Largo were two Red-necked Grebes and seven Slavonian Grebes. Two Mediterranean Gulls, three drake Velvet Scoters and two Long-tailed Ducks were at Dysart and a there was a good count of 56 Long-tailed Ducks made off Kirkcaldy, three Crossbills were seen in Devilla Forest and a Barn Owl was seen near Dunshalt. Seen from Ravenscraig Castle, Kirkcaldy (31st) were a Black-necked Grebe, two Red-throated Divers, two Black-throated Divers, 20 Long-tailed Ducks and one Velvet Scoter, a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen near Cowdenbeath and c60 Whoopers Swans were seen near Freuchie. The Black Redstart at Roome Bay, Crail and the drake Smew at Cameron Reservoir were both seen up to the (30th) of the month.