July 2019 Sightings

The arrival of three first summer Mediterranean Gulls at East Wemyss provoked the thought that this corner of Fife could once again be Scotland’s hotspot for this species. At Wilderness the Whooper Swan and adult Little Gull remained from last month and were accompanied by three Common Sandpipers, four Black-tailed Godwits and one Whimbrel then Angle Park GP hosted a Green Sandpiper (1st). A first summer Mediterranean Gull was on Balcomie Beach, 216 Manx Shearwaters passed Anstruther and 100 Black-tailed Godwits, with many in full summer plumage, were at Valleyfield Lagoons. 11 Manx Shearwaters, two Greenshanks, two Peregrines and 38 Goosanders were at Dalgety Bay (2nd). A Quail was calling at Balcomie, 12 Manx Shearwaters, 51 Puffins and an Arctic Skua all flew west past Kinghorn, the Green Sandpiper was still present at Angle Park GP and at East Wemyss the Mediterranean Gull count was one adult, one second summer and five first summer (3rd) with the same totals there the following day. Four Dabchicks were accompanied by three young at Morton Lochs NNR with two of this species also noted at Drumoig (4th). At Balcomie a Quail was in a field between the castle and the entrance to Kilminning and a Knot was on the beach, then at Kingsbarns a Quail was in a poppy field just before the entrance to beach car park. At Newton Sandpit the Black-headed Gull colony was down to c20, while other species noted there included a Kestrel, five Stock Doves, a Sedge Warbler and four Dabchicks then five of the latter species were recorded at Linkswood Pond/Flood (6th). Eight first summer and one second summer Mediterranean Gulls were at East Wemyss, a pair of nesting Spotted Flycatchers produced young at Falkland Estate’s ‘Pillars of Hercules’ and a Quail was still singing at the entrance to Balcomie with a first summer Mediterranean Gull and a Knot seen on the beach there (7th).

The Quail was still present at Balcomie the next day (8th), a Green Sandpiper and the Whooper Swan remained at Wilderness (10th) and a Common Sandpiper was noted at Cullaloe NR then a Manx Shearwater and a group of ten Whimbrels flew over Fairmont (12th). 27 Manx Shearwaters, 101 Goosanders and an Arctic Skua were off Pathhead, four Black-tailed Godwits, and four Common Sandpipers were present at Wilderness and the first Tree Pipit of the autumn was recorded at Ferry Hills where three Little Gulls and three Red-throated Divers flew inland (13th). Edenside held three Little Egrets, 14 Cormorants, six Grey Herons, one Osprey, 35 Lapwings, 29 Curlews and 48 Redshanks. Sightings at Pathhead included four adult and one first summer Little Gulls, one Manx Shearwater, 90+ Goosanders and a Common Sandpiper. A busy day continued with three Mediterranean Gulls (two adult, one second summer) at Inverkeithing Harbour, two (possibly three) Quail near Troustie House, and a count from Fife Ness of 36 Manx Shearwaters, one Arctic Skua, one Bonxie and two Mediterranean Gulls (14th).

A female Redstart was at Cameron Reservoir, two Quail were singing near Troustie House and three Green Sandpipers turned up at Angle Park GP (15th). Seawatching at Fife Ness produced eight Manx Shearwaters, a Great Northern Diver and one Whimbrel then one of the now regular reports from Wilderness included three Common Sandpipers, one Black-tailed Godwit and seven Snipe. Two Quail were still at Troustrie, 12 Mute Swans were accompanied by 17 young at Newburgh and the East Wemyss gull roost included three adult and one first summer Mediterranean Gulls (16th). At Wilderness there were three Common Sandpipers with the same number also at  Angle Park GP as well as a Green Sandpiper (17th) which lingered the following day when the Wilderness tally was four Common Sandpipers, one Black-tailed Godwit and the Whooper Swan. The East Wemyss Mediterranean Gull count was two adults, seven first summer and a juvenile (18th) changing to eleven first summer and one second summer the next day when an adult was also seen on Dysart east beach. Our contribution to the Wood Sandpiper influx was one in the north-east corner of Letham Pools (19th) and it was also there the next day as well as a Water Rail. Wilderness hosted one Green Sandpiper, two Common Sandpipers, one Black-tailed Godwit and a Little Egret while Caiplie held one Yellow Wagtail (20th). Two Quail were singing from fields to the north of the beach car park at Kingsbarns and 46 Golden Plovers were on rocks at St Monans saltpans (21st).

At Loch Glow there were two Ospreys fishing, two Ravens, three Great Black-backed Gulls and a flock of at least ten Crossbills (22nd). A Red Kite was being mobbed by a Buzzard and corvids near Lochhead Landfill. Wilderness held a Common Sandpiper (23rd). A Whimbrel was at East Wemyss with seven also noted at Kingsbarns as well as a Quail, the Wood Sandpiper was still present at Letham Pools (24th) and was also seen the following day when a Green Sandpiper and a Common Sandpiper were at Wilderness and two Ospreys were observed from the Eden Estuary Centre. The  Fife Ness count was a Sooty Shearwater, 107 Manx Shearwaters, one Arctic Skua and seven Knot. East Wemyss held seven first summer Mediterranean Gulls (25th) increasing to nine the next day along with one adult and one second summer as well as a Whimbrel. Still with gulls, 260 Little Gulls were in the air and on the sea at St Andrews East Sands in the evening (26th) and an immature Mediterranean Gull was on Balcomie Beach accompanied by a Whimbrel, 70 Dunlins and 20 Sanderlings. Back at East Wemyss the tally was one adult, two second summer, three first summer and one juvenile Mediterranean Gull (27th) but only one adult, three first summers and one juvenile were noted the following day. Kinghorn sightings included ten Manx Shearwaters, 19 Puffins, 26 Common Scoters and a Tufted Duck then a further report from Pettycur comprised three Manx Shearwaters, a Whimbrel and seven Turnstones. Whimbrel sightings continued with one at Edenside, two over Morton Lochs NNR and one on the rocks at Fife Ness from where one Sooty Shearwater, 116 Manx Shearwaters, three Bonxies, three Arctic Skuas, 67 Common Scoters, two Velvet Scoters and an adult Little Gull were also spied as well as a Yellow Wagtail at the golf practice area. Valleyfield /Newmills hosted four Common Sandpipers, two Knot, 85 Redshanks, two Greenshanks and 28 Dunlins and Edenside held two Little Egrets (28th).

One second calendar year Long-tailed Skua and four Arctic Terns flew inland at Ferry Hills where nine Tree Pipits passed over. Four Dabchicks were noted at Morton Lochs NNR, a Quail was flushed from the coastal path at Fife Ness where a Whimbrel and a Manx Shearwater were seen passing and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull was east of the mouth of the River Leven (30th). Wilderness held a Little Stint and a juvenile Water Rail then a later report was of a Temminck’s Stint, one Black-tailed Godwit and two Snipe. 40 Goosanders were at Dalgety Bay, a flock of up to 20 Tree Sparrows were feeding in a wheat field at Bathmoor Plantationand an Osprey was on Preston Island at Valleyfield Lagoons where also noted were a Green Sandpiper, one Short-eared Owl, 18 Lapwings, two Common Sandpipers, 30+ Common Terns, four+ Sandwich Terns and a Mediterranean Gull. A Greenshank was present at Fairmont, St Andrews where offshore were spied two adult Long-tailed Skuas, a second calendar year Long-tailed Skua, four Arctic Skuas and 132 Little Gulls (31st).

Information supplied courtesy of Malcolm Ware and Graham Sparshott