May 2024 Sightings

The first few days of May brought reports of some of the commoner summer visitors, as well as scarcer visitors. Two Grasshopper Warblers were at Seafield (1st), with two Ravens, three Crossbills and three House Martins seen at Redmyre and noted in Dunfermline were two Wheatears, two Whitethroats, three Willow Warblers and two Chiffchaffs. Sedge Warblers were quite widely reported, with Grasshopper Warblers noted at several other sites, such as Westfield Opencast, Out Head, Kilmany and Letham Pools. Seen from Fife Ness were one Whimbrel S, one Black Guillemot N, four Sandwich Terns N, seven Puffins N, one Red throated Diver N, 1S and 35 Common Scoters S. 14 Willow Warblers, three Chiffchaffs, one Garden Warbler, and c100 Sand Martins were reported from Westfield Opencast, a Lesser Whitethroat was at Out Head, 15 Sandwich Terns were seen off Buckhaven Harbour and the annual singing Garden Warblers at Birnie and Gaddon Lochs LNR were joined by a scarce (for this site) Jay. A female-type Ruff was a good find at Guardbridge (2nd), three Redwings at Falkland Estate were unusual, eight House Martins were seen in Crail and the excitement levels rose considerably when a female-type Red-breasted Flycatcher was a great find at lower Kilminning (3rd). Also seen in the area were a Black Redstart, two Lesser Whitethroats, a female Redstart, a Spotted Flycatcher and a White Wagtail. A Grasshopper Warbler was seen at Kinghorn, with another at Markinch. The Red-breasted Flycatcher was still present the next day, along with a Brambling, a Redstart, a male Pied Flycatcher and two Lesser Whitethroats. Two Grasshopper Warblers and two Lesser Whitethroats were seen at Kinghorn, with the Grasshopper Warbler seen again at Letham Pools. Five Whimbrels were on rocks by the Stinky Pool at Fife Ness, with a further nine seen passing Fife Ness, along with a Red-throated Diver S and three Puffins N, a male Pied Flycatcher was a good find in Denburn Wood. At Kilminning (5th) were the Red-breasted Flycatcher and a male Redstart, a Blue-headed Yellow Wagtail was a good find at Luthrie and seen coming in off the sea at Crail was a Short-eared Owl. Seen from Lower Largo were three Black-throated Divers, one Great Northern Diver, 50 Red-throated Divers, 1500 Common Scoters, 419 Velvet Scoters, 60 Long-tailed Ducks, 178 Red-breasted Mergansers and nine Whimbrels, a Black-throated Diver passed Anstruther E and seen off Out Head were 22 Long-tailed Ducks. Seven Crossbills and one Raven were seen in Tentsmuir and at Cameron Reservoir one Osprey, one Whimbrel, one Grasshopper Warbler, two Sedge Warblers and two Crossbills were seen. A Cuckoo was seen at Tayport Heath (6th), with eight Whimbrels also seen heading over NW, a Tree Pipit in-off the sea, 20 Whimbrels N, 412 Common Scoters N, one Manx Shearwater N, c80 Barnacle Geese N, 44 Pink-footed Geese N, four Red-throated Divers N and one Wheatear was on the rocks at Fife Ness (7th). Nearby at Kilminning were a male Whinchat and one Lesser Whitethroat, also the Red-breasted Flycatcher showed very briefly. A Grasshopper Warbler was at Cullaloe NR and at Letham Pools were one pair Great Crested Grebes, three pairs of Shovelers, three pairs of Gadwall, two Sedge Warblers, two Little Grebes and one Pink-footed Goose. A Wood Sandpiper was at Luthrie, a Short-eared Owl, two Whimbrels, five Long-tailed Ducks, 476 Common Scoters, 137 Sanderlings, 14 Dunlins, 21 Sandwich Terns, one Wheatear, two pairs of Stonechats and four Red-throated Divers were all seen at Ruddons Point.

The Red-breasted Flycatcher was still present at Kilminning (8th), three Wheatears were seen from the car park at Kingsbarns, a single Swift was seen in St Andrews and a Quail was heard in Balmullo and also the next day. A Cuckoo was heard on the Falkland Estate (9th), a summer plumage Curlew Sandpiper was with a few Dunlin at Guardbridge, a Short-eared Owl was seen hunting along the Coastal Path near Crail, with one seen near Auchtermuchty too. A male Hen Harrier was seen near Little Ballo, two 2nd calendar year Little Gulls were on the mudflats at Tayport (11th) and two Wood Sandpipers were together at Luthrie. An immature Glaucous Gull was on the sea at Kincraig Point and off Fife Ness were, a scarce spring, Pomarine Skua N and four Manx Shearwaters N. The next day there were two Arctic Skuas N and two Manx Shearwaters S and seen from Kinghorn were Arctic Terns, c50 Common Terns, c30 Gannets, five Puffins, c4 Kittiwakes, one Red-throated Diver, three Common Scoters, c12 Sandwich Terns and one Swallow. A drake Garganey was a welcome visitor to Letham Pools (12th), with two Ravens and two Swifts also seen there. Three Whooper Swans were at Loch Gelly and between Kilmany and Logie (13th) a Quail was heard, with a second bird heard nearby at Forret Mill. A Great White Egret graced Morton Lochs NNR, a Whimbrel was on the Stinky Pool, Fife Ness (15th), two Red Kites roamed over Anstruther, the drake Garganey was still at Letham Pools (16th), three Whinchats were seen up Glen Vale and another Quail was heard at Dunino (17th). A male Red-backed Shrike and a brief Yellow Wagtail at Kilminning heralded the start of a run of scarce migrant birds around the East Neuk, with another female-type Red-breasted Flycatcher seen in The Patch at Fife Ness. A Red Kite was seen over Pitmedden Forest, a male Red-backed Shrike was found at Balcomie, a female Red-backed Shrike was found at Boarhills (18th), with a male Red-backed Shrike, a male Pied Flycatcher and a male and female Whinchat at lower Kilminning. Up in the Lomond Hills a Ring Ouzel and a Cuckoo were seen on West Lomond, two Barnacle Geese were seen from Out Head. Seen in The Patch, Fife Ness were one Spotted Flycatcher, one Garden Warbler and a few Willow Warblers, (19th) a female Red-backed Shrike was at upper Kilminning, with the female Red-backed Shrike now on the edge of the village at Boarhills, a Cuckoo was heard at Stenhouse Reservoir and at Wormiston a Quail was flushed, with a female Red-backed Shrike seen at Wormiston, with a fine male seen near the Spinney there also. A Whooper Swan was on the rock pools at Wormiston. Ospreys were seen at Rosyth and Out Head (20th).

A Bonxie W and four Manx Shearwaters W were seen from Kinghorn (22nd), a probable Black Kite was seen crossing the Forth N, being mobbed by gulls, also a Hobby went N and a Bonxie went W up the Forth. After last year’s Stone-curlew at Anstruther, no doubt many Fife birders thought “well that’ll be that for another 50 years”, not so, with another bird excellently found at lower Kilminning (24th). This bird was difficult to find once it sat down in the short crop, but with patience, most birders eventually got good views when it stretched its legs for a wander. A male Pied Flycatcher, a Spotted Flycatcher and a Short-eared Owl were also in the vicinity. Seen near Kingsbarns (24th) was a female-type Bluethroat, a very scarce bird on the Fife mainland these days, two Little Gulls were on rocks by the Spinney Pond, Dalgety Bay. A Garden Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat were ringed in The Patch, Fife Ness (25th), unfortunately there was no sign of the Stone-curlew first thing, a Short-eared Owl was seen flying over fields near Boarhills Pond, then a Nightjar was flushed from the path near the beach there. This superb bird was then watched as it perched on the dykes around the fields near the pond, allowing plenty of birders to catch up with this very rare visitor. As if the two superb birds seen over the last two days weren’t enough, news of a Great Reed Warbler which had been trapped in The Patch at Fife Ness just added to the excitement. Whilst ringing this bird and discovering it was a male, it was hoped that once released it may well settle down and start singing, alas, no such luck for those that weren’t present when the bird was ringed and released. Almost mundane in comparison a female Pied Flycatcher was seen at Balcomie, with a female Pied Flycatcher, Grasshopper Warbler and a Blackcap seen at Boarhills Pond (26th). The excitement continued with four Spoonbills seen on the Eden Estuary LNR (27th), along with five Little Egrets. These Spoonbills were seen flying off SE late in the afternoon. A Barnacle Goose was seen distantly from the Sailing Club at Dalgety Bay, with a Long-tailed Duck on the rocks, both of these were highly unusual for this site at this time of year. At Kilminning (29th) were a Spotted Flycatcher and a Lesser Whitethroat. The sightings of scarce birds continued this spring with a Crane seen low over Kilrenny Common (30th) and two Gadwall at Dalgety Bay can be added to the unusual birds list for that site at this time of the year. Also one for the unusual bird list was a summer-plumaged Great Northern Diver in the tidal pool at St Monans and finally another scarce spring bird, an Arctic Skua, was seen passing Boarhills S (31st).