July 2020 Sightings

The month opened with a Bonxie circling over Anstruther (1st), a Crossbill flying over Crail (2nd) and a male Siskin visiting a Ladybank garden feeder (3rd). A Raven flew over Ravenscraig then a report from Eden Estuary LNR included two Ospreys, two Little Egrets and a Kingfisher (4th) with the egrets and one Osprey noted the following day along with c470 Curlews and two Common Sandpipers. Adult Mediterranean Gull reports included a single at Anstruther and two at East Wemyss while two Greenshanks and an Arctic Tern were seen at St Andrews (5th). Guardbridge hosted three Little Egrets, two Common Sandpipers and an Osprey and the East Wemyss Mediterranean Gull count was two adults, one second-summer and one first-summer (6th), increasing to four adults, two second calendar year and two first-summer birds there the next day. A visible migration watch at Ferry Hills produced one sub-adult Pomarine Skua, nine Red-throated Divers, five Great Crested Grebes, two Red-breasted Mergansers, 20 Sand Martins, 12 Tree Pipits, five Grey Wagtails, two Lesser Redpolls, 11 Crossbills and 34 Siskins. A Barn Owl was hunting in daylight at Bathmoor Plantation and a Marsh Harrier was quartering fields near Crail. A Spotted Flycatcher and a Water Rail were at Cameron Reservoir where there were also three Common Sandpipers whilst seven of this species appeared on the rocks at Pittenweem where there were nine Manx Shearwaters east. Eden Estuary LNR also had a couple of Common Sandpipers as well as three Little Egrets, 21 Black-tailed Godwits, c570 Curlews, one Whimbrel, one Brent Goose, one Osprey and a Kingfisher (7th).

Juvenile Wheatears turned up at Balcomie Beach (where there were three plus a Common Sandpiper), at Kilminning (a single) and at Out Head where an individual was joined by four adult and four juvenile Stonechats. A Quail was noted at Wormit, a female type Marsh Harrier was seen from Out Head and the East Wemyss Mediterranean Gull tally was two adults, four second-summer and three first-summer, with a bonus Whimbrel (8th). A family party of five Ravens was observed over Kincraig Hill (9th). Balcomie Beach hosted one Pale-bellied Brent Goose, two Bar-tailed Godwits and a Whimbrel. Single Ospreys were seen to the east of Ladybank and at Guardbridge where there were also four Little Egrets and three Common Sandpipers. A Quail was in a field at Feddinch Farm, St Andrews and a Peregrine was reported from the Bishop Hill. An adult summer Mediterranean Gull was at Seafield and there was an unusual report of a female Goshawk taking a Herring Gull in the garden of a Kirkcaldy housing estate (11th). A report from Valleyfield Lagoons comprised 39 Black-tailed Godwits, 32 Sandwich Terns, nine Ringed Plovers, five Dunlins, two Greenshanks and two Common Sandpipers, with a single of this species also at Dalgety Bay. A first-summer Mediterranean Gull was on the rocks at Abden Shore and the East Wemyss count of this species was three adults, four second-summer and four first-summer. Nine Little Gulls, 45 Sandwich Terns and ten Arctic Terns were spied at Out Head whilst Balcomie hosted four juvenile Wheatears, six Dunlins, two Bar-tailed Godwits, a Whimbrel and 46 Golden Plovers then two juvenile Whinchats turned up Kilminning (12th) with an adult of this species accompanied by four young the next day at Glen Vale, where there were also a very notable 16 adult and four young Stonechats as well as a Raven and a Kestrel. At East Wemyss the Mediterranean Gull total remained steady with four adults, three second-summer and five first-summer including returning White 3PX4 (13th). Six Little Gulls were at Tentsmuir Point NNR, a White-tailed Eagle flew north over the Tay at Newburgh and The Wilderness hosted 104 Lapwings, 34 Curlews and two Grasshopper Warblers (14th).

Two Spotted Flycatchers were noted with two young at Morton Lochs NNR. An afternoon report from East Wemyss included one adult summer plumaged Little Gull then an evening watch produced three Common Sandpipers and six Common Terns, with the Mediterranean Gull count increasing to five adults, six second calendar year birds and six third calendar year individuals (15th). A patrol of Fife Ness to Balcomie produced a Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, one Whimbrel, six Dunlins and a juvenile Wheatear, with four of the last species noted at Elie as well as ten Dunlins and four Ringed Plovers. There were three Ospreys at Loch Glow and a Kingfisher was at Cullaloe LNR (16th) where later it was joined by a juvenile Water Rail. Kilminning had five Whinchats, two Tree Pipits and a pair of Stonechats with two juveniles. Observations from Fife Ness included 11 Common Scoters, one dark phase Arctic Skua and two Manx Shearwaters, all north, as well as three summer-plumaged Knot and a single Whimbrel (18th). Sightings from Ferry Hills continued with eight Black-tailed Godwits, eight Red-throated Divers, 12 Tree Pipits, 22 Siskins and 24 Crossbills. A juvenile Cuckoo turned up at Balcomie Beach where there were also two Black-tailed Godwits, 90 Dunlins, three Wheatears and three Whimbrels while Kilminning had six Whinchats. Kilrenny Mill hosted one Common Sandpiper, two Dunlins and three Goosanders while 31 Dunlins frequented Elie. Four Ospreys were at Eden Estuary LNR and a single of this species turned up at The Wilderness where there were also five Dunlins and 11 Black-tailed Godwits. A report from Tentsmuir Point NNR included a remarkable c2900 Swifts as well as one Tree Pipit, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Green Woodpecker, c160 Sand Martins, one White-tailed Eagle, two Arctic Skuas, two Bar-tailed Godwits, five Dunlins and two Sanderlings (19th). A second-summer Mediterranean Gull, two adult Little Gulls and 23 Goosanders were at Levenmouth, two Crossbills flew over Bow of Fife and a Peregrine was seen at Kilminning. An adult Little Stint was with c16 Dunlins at Fife Ness and a report from Tentsmuir Point NNR comprised one juvenile Whinchat, a Wheatear, one Green Woodpecker and 17 Stonechats. The Wilderness hosted five Black-tailed Godwits, two Dunlins and 250 Lapwings while two Nuthatches were noted at Dunfermline Glen (20th). A juvenile Marsh Harrier was at Balcomie and a Little Egret was seen flying south at Balcomie Beach (21st).

A post breeding Willow Warbler and a juvenile Cuckoo were in a Strathkinness garden. 16 Whimbrels and 115 Dunlins were at Balcomie Beach and seawatching at Anstruther produced 12 Manx Shearwaters, one Arctic Skua and 16 Common Scoters. The Wilderness held four Black-tailed Godwits, two Dunlins, 17 Curlews and 267 Lapwings (22nd). At Ravenscraig, one adult Mediterranean Gull was on the beach whilst at Star Moss there were c300 Mallards. A Honey-buzzard was spied going inland low at Anstruther and probably the same bird was seen later at St Andrews, flying south. A Whimbrel was at Guardbridge and two of this species were joined by a Greenshank at Fife Ness. Three or four Whinchats were at Kilminning and a Little Stint turned up at Balcomie Beach. Three Arctic Skuas, four Scaup, one Velvet Scoter and three Little Gulls were seen at Out Head. An adult and a juvenile Roseate Tern were on a buoy at Dalgety Bay Sailing Club (23rd). Three Arctic Skuas flew inland together at Ferry Hills whilst at Fife Ness, the Manx Shearwater count was 44N. Tentsmuir Point NNR held 33 Little Gulls, a Peregrine, an adult and a young Green Woodpecker, two Ravens and 110 Goosanders in the morning. Balcomie Beach hosted a juvenile Mediterranean Gull and a report from Out Head comprised one Little Tern, two Little Gulls, two Knot, 11 Dunlins, six Sanderlings, one Wheatear and three Stonechats. An evening report from Tentsmuir Point NNR sightings included an adult summer-plumaged Red-throated Diver, c190 Goosanders, six Little Gulls, a juvenile Peregrine, two Whimbrels and c400 Sandwich Terns before three Little Egrets and two Greenshanks were reported from Lundin Bridge (24th). At Dysart, an adult and a second-winter Mediterranean Gull were on the rocks, then an adult, a second calendar year and a juvenile were at Kenly Water while an adult and a juvenile were joined by a Whimbrel at West Wemyss. A White-tailed Eagle was at Out Head as well as a Grasshopper Warbler, a juvenile Peregrine and a Little Egret. Balcomie Beach hosted three Wheatears whilst Fife Ness held three Knot and two Whimbrels. There were two or three Whinchats at Kilminning where two Arctic Skuas were lingering offshore harassing Kittiwakes. Luthrie had four Black-tailed Godwits. Sightings at Kilrenny Mill included 11 Common Sandpipers, 15 Dunlins, 20 Lapwings and a juvenile Wheatear (25th). A female Marsh Harrier and one Osprey were seen at Newburgh, a Grasshopper Warbler was showing well at Out Head and eight Manx Shearwaters were spied off Fife Ness. A report from Balcomie Beach comprised one Little Stint, 35+ Dunlins, four Knot, two Turnstones, one Common Sandpiper, 12 Ringed Plovers, nine Whimbrels, two Wheatears, 19 Goosanders and three Sanderlings (26th). A White-tailed Eagle was at Out Head again and two Little Egrets frequented Guardbridge (27th). The East Wemyss Mediterranean Gull count was three adults, three second-summer, one first-summer and two juveniles (including 3ERA and 3PX4), while a first calendar year bird was at Dalgety Bay as well as a Black-tailed Godwit. Balcomie Beach held 15 Sanderlings, 20 Dunlins, four Common Sandpipers, three Wheatears, seven Turnstones and an unseasonable Purple Sandpiper whilst a Whimbrel was at Kilminning (28th).

Guardbridge held five Little Egrets, six Black-tailed Godwits, four Common Sandpipers, one Peregrine and a Kingfisher but the news of the day (and the month) was a Cory’s Shearwater seen on the sea from St David’s Harbour. It wasn’t seen again but surveillance along the coast produced some compensation in the form of 75E Manx Shearwaters (in groups of 18+20+37) off East Wemyss. On a different part of the coastline, an adult Mediterranean Gull was at the mouth of Kenly Water (29th). The Cory’s Shearwater was spied from the Isle of May the next day but, alas, not from Fife shores. Six Little Egrets were at Guardbridge and separate reports from Out Head included a Short-eared Owl heading inland, two adult Little Gulls, a Whinchat and two Wheatears. Whinchats were also seen at Kilminning, the total there being seven whilst 32 Manx Shearwaters and a Little Gull were observed off Fife Ness (30th). Monitoring of the skies at Ferry Hills produced a summer plumage adult Great Northern Diver flying inland, two Bonxies, a Whimbrel and nine Tree Pipits. 50 Swifts were in the air at Aberdour and a Cuckoo and a Peregrine frequented Tentsmuir Point NNR. Out Head had a juvenile Whinchat in the paddock field and two Knot and a Whimbrel on the shore. Seawatching on the last day of the month produced a Bonxie, a Velvet Scoter and a Whimbrel at Fife Ness, 91E Manx Shearwater past Crail and three Arctic Skuas, 348 Manx Shearwaters, 32 Common Scoters and three Whimbrels, all east past Anstruther (31st).


17th July

St Andrews:a fly over Water Rail was heard through an open window during the night.

Information supplied courtesy of Malcolm Ware and Graham Sparshott