November 2018 Sightings

The Red-breasted Flycatcher from last month was still present at Fife Ness Muir whilst offshore there were two Great Northern Divers and two Red-throated Divers. Elie Ness hosted a Short-eared Owl and a Twite was at Kilrenny Mill. A large flock of Whooper Swans was in a field just west of Loch Gelly and there was a report of a Hawfinch, two Crossbills, three Skylarks and a Meadow Pipit flying over a St Andrews garden whilst the recent Ring-necked Parakeet was still present in the town. Morton Lochs NNR held 60 Mallards, c180 Teal, 12 Moorhens, a Buzzard, at least three Jays, ten Blackbirds and 12 Fieldfares (1st). A Barn Owl  was seen again near Moss Plantation and six Crossbills were noted at the car park in Devilla Forest. A report from Newton Sand & Gravel Pit included two Mute Swans (and seven young), six Greylags, ten Teal, 18 Wigeon, 58 Mallards and three Gadwall (2nd). Three Waxwings were in a large Starling flock in the Chapel area of Kirkcaldy, a Goshawk was seen hunting Crail Airfield, in the Sauchope area, and 66 Whooper Swans, including 23 juveniles were noted at Wilderness. A count at Valleyfield Lagoons comprised 120 Teal, 23 Snipe, one Shoveler, five Dabchicks, four Great Crested Grebes, three Red-breasted Mergansers, three Black-tailed Godwits and two Greenshanks. There was a late evening report of a Barn Owl near Limekilns (3rd). Two drake Surf Scoters were still off the Golf Museum car park at St Andrews. A Woodcock was on the rocks at Fife Ness, with another seen in the Patch and another at Kilminning. A Red-throated Diver (still with red throat) was present at Kilconquhar Loch where also noted was a Kingfisher (4th). A Nuthatch was at Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline, two Tawny Owls, a Merlin, a Raven and a Greenshank were observed at Tentsmuir Point NNR and a redhead Smew was present at Lochore Meadows CP (5th) and was still there the following day. At Cowdenbeath, there were 35 Whooper Swans in a stubble field beside the road to Kelty. Cameron Reservoir hosted two Herons, 46 (and six young) Mute Swans, 120 Greylags, 77 Mallards, 14 Teal, 36 Wigeon, two Pintails, c130 Tufted Ducks, 11 Goldeneye, c60 Coots, 56 Rooks, a Treecreeper, three Tree Sparrows, 36 Redwings, ten Chaffinches, six Goldfinches, nine Yellowhammers and 12 Reed Buntings. Afternoon seawatching at Kinghorn  produced a juvenile Pomarine Skua, one adult Arctic Skua, a first winter Mediterranean Gull, eight Long-tailed Ducks, four Common Scoters, four Red-throated Divers, 120 Pink-footed Geese, 12 Gannets and c80 Kittiwakes (6th). The regular early morning report from Ferry Hills included two Great Northern Divers and 28 Bramblings then three Bonxies and three juvenile Gannets flying inland the next day. At Fife Ness several species were seen passing north including singles of  Bonxie and Pomarine Skua, three Arctic Skuas, five Manx and two Sooty Shearwaters while offshore were six Little Gulls with a Kittiwake feeding flock. Two Manx Shearwaters, six Arctic Skuas and a Pomarine Skua were all seen passing east at Anstruther (7th).

At Kilminning a Jack Snipe, one Snipe, a Brambling and a flock of 25 Twite over were seen as well as three Woodcocks with this species also noted at Denburn Wood. Two Surf Scoters, a Great Northern Diver, three Red-throated Divers and 30 Scaup were spied in St Andrews Bay. A Snow Bunting passed over south at Kincraig Point then three families of five Whooper Swans were seen at Wilderness where 500+ Pink-footed Geese were also seen heading north and at least ten Twite were in fields at Kingsbarns (8th). A busy day started at Ferry Hills where a Woodlark was seen briefly as well as a Jack Snipe, 11 Whooper Swans and 29 Bramblings whilst a Black-throated Diver, three Red-throated Divers and three Little Gulls were noted at Fife Ness. A Water Pipit was on the beach near Pittenweem and 14 Twite were just north of the beach car park at Kingsbarns. A Chiffchaff was calling in St Andrews whilst in the bay there, two drake Surf Scoters, 45 Scaup, 61 Velvet Scoters, 16 Long-tailed Ducks and c1000 Common Scoters were noted. Further down the coast at Seafield c60 Common Scoters, 16 Long-tailed Ducks, three Red-throated Divers, 13 Purple Sandpipers and a Kingfisher were all recorded. Newton Sand & Gravel Pit hosted nine Dabchicks, nine Mute Swans (two adults and seven young), 12 Teal, just six Tufted Ducks, 12 Goldeneye, a Kestrel and two Tree Sparrows. c350 Pink-footed Geese were in a recently sown field at Pickletillum (10th) and c400 were seen there the next day when the early morning report from Ferry Hills included one ‘eared-owl’ species over the Forth, one Black-throated Diver, a Great Northern Diver, 99 Red-throated Divers, 259 Kittiwakes and 21 Black-tailed Godwits. Morton Lochs NNR held 68 Mallards, c200 Teal, nine Wigeon, two Goldeneye, 14 Moorhens whilst also seen were three Redwings, 45 Fieldfares, 11 Blackbirds, seven Long-tailed Tits, 12 Chaffinches and five Goldfinches (11th). A Ringtail Hen Harrier, ten Twite and five Purple Sandpipers were seen at Kingsbarns and a Slavonian Grebe was in Dalgety Bay(12th). 15 Whooper Swans passed south over Kirkcaldy and there were 78 of this species (including 14 immatures) at Wilderness where there were also eight Shovelers and c100 Lapwings with c150 Pink-footed Geese over. Two drake Surf Scoters were still with a Common Scoter flock at St Andrews, where also seen were c40 Scaup and two Red-throated Divers (13th).

A Lapland Bunting and c30 Twite were in fields just north of Kingsbarns Golf course and ten Twite were at Boghall Farm, on the coastal path north of Kingsbarns with 120 Twite then reported on the foreshore next to the golf course at Kingsbarns. Two drake Surf Scoters and 40 Scaup were still in St Andrews Bay and a Common Tern was present at Braefoot Point. A Twite and 56 Bramblings were counted at Ferry Hills and a report from Edenside comprised one Little Egret, 30 Shelducks, just one Goldeneye, 40 Lapwings, 35 Black-tailed Godwits, a White-tailed Eagle, one Kingfisher, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and six Tree Sparrows (15th). Five Little Gulls, 165 Kittiwakes and 53 Red-throated Divers flew inland at Ferry Hills whilst at Loch Gelly 105 Pochard were accompanied by a Ferruginous type hybrid and also seen were two Water Rails, 15 Goosanders and eight Whooper Swans. At Out Head there were three Great Crested Grebes, a Red-throated Diver, one Slavonian Grebe, seven Red-breasted Mergansers, nine Long-tailed Ducks, 60 Starlings, three Stonechats and a Reed Bunting. At  Fife Ness one Great Northern Diver and 24 Red-throated Divers were counted (16th.) Two Greenland White-fronted Geese flew south over St. Andrews (17th). At Fife Ness an Arctic Skua, a Lesser Redpoll and two Woodcock were noted (18th). The hybrid Hooded x Carrion Crow was at Braefoot Point (19th). 21 Waxwings were seen in the Pitreavie area of Dunfermline and a Sandwich Tern was at Braefoot Point (20th), lingering there the following day when there also three Red-throated Divers, 12 Common Scoters, 40 Red-breasted Mergansers and a Great Crested Grebe (21st).

Seawatching at Fife Ness produced three Great Northern Divers, a Black-throated and eight Red-throated Divers, one Little Auk and eight Long-tailed Ducks. Two Grey Partridges were seen at Gauldry (22nd). 11 Fulmars were still on the cliffs at St Andrews, a redhead Smew and four Goosanders were with a large group of 70 Goldeneye along with 94 Pochard and 19 Lapwings at Loch Gelly (23rd). 14 Whooper Swans and 200 Golden Plovers were at Balbuthie Farm, the redhead Smew was still present at Lochore Meadows CP and Short-eared Owl was seen hunting over Rossie Bog (24th). A Woodcock and several Fieldfares were at Cameron Reservoir where there was a single redhead Smew (25th) increasing to two the following day. Ten Waxwings were seen at Dalgety Bay and at least 40 of this species were at the car wash on Victoria Road, Kirkcaldy. 44 Pintails, 13 Scaup, seven Brent Geese and seven Slavonian Grebes were noted at Balgove/Out Head, the Sandwich Tern loitered at Braefoot Point and three Little Egrets were seen from the Eden Estuary Centre. c70 Twite were in fields just north of Kingsbarns golf course and c30 of this species were seen along the coast path near Boarhills (26th). 33 Whooper Swans and 30+ Wigeon were at Craigluscar NR  and there were Tree Sparrows in unusually high numbers with 70+ at the north end of West Baldridge Farm, Dunfermline  and a further 40+ , then 20+ on the road edges approaching Dam Wood. The redhead Smew was still present at Cameron Reservoir, a Common Chiffchaff was in the Spinney at Dalgety Bay and one was also seen at Spinkie Den, St Andrews. 30+ Crossbills were noted at Blairadam Forest and 40 Waxwings were still by the car wash on Victoria Road, Kirkcaldy (27th) with 20 still in the area  the next day. Two Slavonian Grebes were seen with a group of eight Red-breasted Mergansers off Braefoot Point (28th).

Waxwing reports continued from Kirkcaldy with 71 seen on the corner of Oswald Road and Falkland View and at least 30 at the car wash (29th) increasing to c150 there on the last day of the month (30th).

Information supplied courtesy of Malcolm Ware and Graham Sparshott