March 2022 Sightings

March began as February had ended with the Green-winged Teal and two Greenshanks still showing at The Wilderness and the potential first accepted record for Fife of Ross’s Goose seen in that vicinity before returning to the Pitlessie/Kingskettle area. Another goose put in an appearance when a Greenland White-fronted Goose was spotted amongst the Greylags at Letham Pools and a Water Rail was seen. At Newburgh a Peregrine, Sparrowhawk, six Buzzards and six Ravens were noted while another raptor in the form of a male Goshawk was watched flying high to the North over Bogward Road in St Andrews. One lucky observer had two Short-eared Owls hunting over a field near St Monans and near Dunshalt a Twite was picked out amongst 60 Linnets. The second day of the month began with a drake Scaup and at least two Sinensis Cormorants at Loch Gelly and a Green-winged Teal upstream from the bridges at Guardbridge. The Greenland White-fronted Goose was still showing at Letham Pools and c200 Golden Plover were on the airfield at Crail with Bogward Road in St Andrews the venue for four Bramblings flying south. At Cameron Reservoir the drake Smew and nearby 17 Whooper Swans were seen on the 3rd dropping to 15 the following day. Newburgh was graced by a female Marsh Harrier on the 4th and Water Rail again showed at Letham Pools with two seen. The Green-winged Teal and the two Greenshank were at the Wilderness and 28 Purple Sandpipers roosted at St Andrews. A leucistic Herring Gull at Roome Bay, Crail caused a bit of head scratching before its identity was confirmed. The 5th started with nearly 2000 Pink-footed Geese NE of the Wilderness with the Greenland White-fronted Goose and later a Tundra Bean Goose seen. Nearby at Rossie Bog c1000 Pink-footed Geese were in flight including a partial leucistic bird, and probably involved birds from the Wilderness flock. Another c500 Pink-footed Geese were at Cairnsmill Caravan Park, St Andrews with the drake Smew and 24 Whooper Swans at Cameron Reservoir. The Green-winged Teal was at The Wilderness where a Woodcock was also seen and Kincraig had five plus Bramblings and two Ravens. A single male Snow Bunting showed at Kilrenny Mill and a Merlin at Morton Lochs NNR. The following day was much the same with the Greenland White-fronted Goose and Tundra Bean Goose still in the area NE of the Wilderness and the drake Green-winged Teal showing well at the Wilderness itself and all three still there on the 7th. Two pairs of Crossbills and 20 Corn Buntings were seen at Cellardyke with the male Snow Bunting and a Merlin at Kilrenny Mill. A male Black Redstart was moving through Bogward Road, St Andrews, singing occasionally, and nearby on the Eden Estuary a Black-necked Grebe was reported. The wintering Common Sandpiper, 41 Scaup and three Little Egrets were at Guardbridge on the 7th and unusually a Green Woodpecker was seen in Methil.

An adult Little Gull flew east past the sailing club at Dalgety Bay on the 8th when a Merlin was at Kincraig. 19 Whooper Swans were still in residence in the field just outside Star of Markinch and Green-winged Teals were showing at the Wilderness and Guardbridge on the 9th and the following day. Distantly off Coble Shore on the Eden Estuary the same day, a Black-necked Grebe was noted. Drumtenant Farm, Freuchie hosted a Greenland White-fronted Goose, c200 Greylag Geese, 21 Whooper Swans and 35 Mute Swans on the 10th. The drake Smew and c800 Pink-footed Geese were at Cameron Reservoir with a Woodcock flushed at Elie Estate and nearby Kincraig had Bramblings in a mixed finch flock numbering up to 1000 individuals. A seawatch from Fife Ness on the 11th had a summer-plumaged Black Guillemot as the highlight with 42 Long-tailed Ducks, seven Red-throated Divers and 200 Razorbills flying south. For the second year running two Common Cranes flew over the county in March. This time it was at Kinghorn and again early morning on the 12th. A Black Guillemot was again seen passing Fife Ness and Boghall, Kingsbarns had an impressive 72 Twite with Valleyfield Lagoons holding 30 Snipe, two Water Rails, 40 Teal and a Greenshank. Cameron Reservoir on the 13th had a Garganey, Smew and 17 Whooper Swans with the Black-necked Grebe again seen on the Eden Estuary with eight Slavonian Grebes for company. A Green Sandpiper was watched on the nature reserve at Lochore Meadows Country Park and was still there on the 14th with two singing Chiffchaffs for company. The latter species was being noted at a few sites around this time throughout the county.

The 15th heralded the first Sand Martins of the spring with three at Lochore Meadows Country Park with the Green Sandpiper still showing nearby on the nature reserve and 18 Whooper Swans flying north over Thornton Pool. The only report on the 16th was the Green Sandpiper at Lochore Meadows Country Park again with an Avocet gracing the Eden Estuary on the 17th, three Little Gulls were at Kilconquhar Loch and the Garganey was still at Cameron Reservoir. A sighting of a Green Woodpecker at Kilmany was only the second there in 25 years and 60 Whooper Swans headed north over West Sands, St Andrews with the flock at Star of Markinch rising to 33. The Smew and Garganey were still at Cameron Reservoir on the 18th with a supporting cast of ringtail Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl. Kincraig had 15 Twite with 980 Linnets and a Red Kite while further west at Lower Largo there were 41 Slavonian Grebes and 24 Red-throated Divers on show. Lindores Loch had the pick of the day with a Great White Egret seen from the fisherman’s jetty and it was still there over the next two days. A Red-necked Grebe was off Leven on the 19th with Garganey, Smew and a ringtail Hen Harrier seen at Cameron Reservoir. An adult Little Gull was at Kilconquhar Loch with a minimum of six Jack Snipe on Cocklemill Marsh. 36 Whooper Swans flew north over Ladybank with another 12 at Letham Pools which had a flock of c500 Pink-footed Geese for company which included a European White-fronted Goose. A Short-eared Owl was noted on East Lomond and a Ring-necked Parakeet was again seen at Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy. The Avocet appeared again on the Eden Estuary on the 20th at Guardbridge with four Little Egrets counted also. The Garganey was still showing at Cameron Reservoir with a Red-necked Grebe off Ruddons Point. An unringed drake Mandarin Duck added a bit of colour at Birnie Loch on the 21st with the Avocet still on the Eden Estuary and the Green Sandpiper at Lochore Meadows Country Park. Two sinensis Cormorants were seen at Loch Gelly with 85 Goldeneye, 32 Pochard and five Gadwall. The adult Little Gull remained at Kilconquhar Loch and a Greenland White-fronted Goose was with c500 Pink-footed Geese at Star Moss near Star of Markinch. The Avocet was continuing its stay on the Eden Estuary on the 22nd as was the Short-eared Owl at Cameron Reservoir. An Osprey flew north over Blairadam on the 23rd with an adult Little Gull at Kilconquhar Loch, a Red-necked Grebe off Leven, the Green Sandpiper at Lochore Meadows Country Park and the ringtail Hen Harrier seen again at Cameron Reservoir. The latter site still had the drake Garganey, Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl in attendance on the 24th. The 25th was a memorable day with an adult Golden Eagle at West Lomond before flying off to the north-west. The Garganey was at Cameron reservoir with three Short-eared Owls and six Whooper Swans. Eight Whooper Swans were also noted at Loch Fitty, with nine just east of Steelend also. At Lower Largo on the 26th were a Red-necked Grebe, nine Slavonian Grebes, 18 Red-throated Divers and c200 Razorbills. The first reported Sandwich Tern was reported off Sauchope Links, Crail and two Short-eared Owls were at Cameron Reservoir. A similar start to the previous day saw a Red-necked Grebe, two Slavonian Grebes and a Sand Martin noted at a misty Pathhead first thing on the 27th. Ospreys were noted going over Lindores Loch and Newburgh with the Garganey and two Short-eared Owls at Cameron Reservoir. A lunchtime break at St Andrews University on the 28th resulted in a pair of Garganey being found on the pond there and at Golden Loch a Red Kite drifted south-west. The pair of Garganey were still showing well in St Andrews on the 29th and remained until the end of the month. At Fife Ness a Greenshank and 20 Purple Sandpipers were roosting with a Manx Shearwater passing there the next day. Just along the coast at Kilminning a Great Northern Diver flew east and 180 Golden Plovers were counted also on the 30th. The last day of March began with a report of ten Garganey at Cameron Reservoir early morning but only two were noted by mid-afternoon with the ringtail Hen Harrier also there. The Eden Estuary had eight Scaup, three Little Egrets, 35 Pintail with four of the latter at Dalgety Bay and a White Wagtail was seen at Pleasants Farm Pools.

Information supplied courtesy of Malcolm Ware