November 2020 Sightings

After such a good month in October it was inevitable that November would be a lot quieter, as it proved in the early part of the month. One Jack Snipe, 12 Snipe, 95 Skylarks, 35 Meadow Pipits, 13 Reed Buntings, 40 Yellowhammers, 22 Partridges, four Goldfinches, seven Linnets, one Greenfinch and one Mistle Thrush were all noted near Cairnsmill Caravan Park, St Andrews (1st), 12 Snipe, possibly one Jack Snipe, 25 Teal and one Water Rail were on the wet grassland at Valleyfield Lagoons, a female Merlin was at Anstruther (2nd), while two Mediterranean Gulls were noted at Leven. At St Fort five Mistle Thrushes were seen, 10 Moorhen were on the flooded grass at North Haugh, St Andrews (3rd), an adult male Merlin, 14 Purple Sandpipers and 13 Whooper Swans went NW over Kingsbarns, 12 Snipe and two Jack Snipe were seen at Cocklemill Burn and 14 Snow Buntings were at Tentsmuir Point NNR. c35 Long-tailed Tits was a good count at Crail, an adult and a 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull and one Swallow were seen at East Wemyss, one Goldeneye, 10 Great Crested Grebes and one Slavonian Grebe were in Dalgety Bay and 11 Water Rails, 16 Pochard, one Goosander, 15 Redwings and six Fieldfares were counted at Loch Gelly. On (5th) there was an unusual visitor to Loch Fitty in the shape of a Long-tailed Duck with one Goldeneye, one Marsh Harrier and an adult Whooper Swan at Rossie Bog, two Bar-tailed Godwits, 18 Black-tailed Godwits, one Dipper, c140 Dunlin, seven Greenshanks, one Grey Wagtail, one Kingfisher and 1000’s of Pink-footed Geese were counted at Newmills Bay and a very late Common Tern was seen at St Andrews. A male Blackcap was a welcome visitor to a Kilmany garden (6th) and the passage at Ferry Hills included 140 Redpolls, one flock of 30 which landed briefly contained at least one Common (Mealy) Redpoll, and also seen were 15 Bramblings, 35 Red-throated Divers and five Whooper Swans. The first of hopefully many more Waxwings was seen at Cellardyke, and although a singleton, it was most welcome. A Kingfisher was noted at Gaddon Loch and a Merlin was watched over the stubble fields at Crail (7th). Also in Crail was a flock of 11-12 Bramblings, a Grey Wagtail was in Abbey Park, St Andrews and along the coastal stretch between Lower Largo to Kincraig, seven Stonechats, two Short-eared Owls, one Pale-bellied Brent Goose and three Slavonian Grebes were noted. c6 Goldcrests were at Birnie & Gaddon Lochs LNR and in fields just E of the Den of Lindores were two adults and a juvenile Whooper Swan. Down the coast at Boarhills one Pale-bellied Brent Goose and a Chiffchaff were noted and at Auchtermuchty Common c100 Fieldfares were seen feeding on Hawthorns. 28 Brent Geese and a Black-throated Diver were in Balgove Bay, c40 Snipe were counted on the wet grassland at Valleyfield Lagoons and at Aberdour a female Tawny Owl was calling.

17 Whooper Swans flew over Dunfermline heading E (8th), one adult Mediterranean Gull, one Purple Sandpiper in with the Turnstone flock and eight Gannets E were at Dysart, one Black-throated Diver and six Goldeneye passed Fife Ness, a late House Martin was at Newburgh, c45 Fieldfares and another late Swallow passed W over Dunfermline. At Valleyfield Lagoons, on the wet grassland, c100 Snipe, c4 Jack Snipe and 30 Black-tailed Godwits were noted. c250 Fieldfares and c50 Redwings were at Kilmany (9th), an immature Marsh Harrier, eight Whooper Swans, c20 Snipe and three Pintail were seen at Rossie Bog and at St Andrews, one Brambling W, six Crossbills SE, 11 Fieldfares S, one Blackbird S, one Song Thrush S and five Goldcrests were seen. Buckhaven hosted one adult Mediterranean Gull, two Black-throated Divers, three Red-throated Divers and six Velvet Scoters, the Wilderness had seven Whooper Swans, c900 Pink-feet and 200 Wigeon and nearby at Letham Pools 19 Whooper Swans, 11 Mute Swans and 35 Greylags were noted. In cliff top scrub NW of Fairmont Clubhouse, near St Andrews were c90 Blackbirds, c30 Song Thrushes, c50 Redwings and one Woodcock, a couple of locations reported female Tawny Owls calling, with one at Aberdour and one near Strathkinness. At the top end of Kilminning (10th) a Siberian Chiffchaff was heard calling and a Woodcock was also seen. After previously commenting that November was quiet, a bit of chat on one of the local WhatsApp Groups alerted birders to the possibility of a Hudsonian Godwit being present on the Eden Estuary. Originally photographed on the 3rd, it wasn’t until the 9th that the images were confirmed and the bird was picked out amongst a group of Black-tailed Godwits from the Eden Estuary Centre, with the bird also being seen well in flight to add to the identification. Another first for the County!! Meanwhile at Newburgh an adult female Marsh Harrier and a late Swallow were noted, a Yellow-browed Warbler was heard with a tit flock at the Eden Estuary Centre, a great record for there, also one Spotted Redshank, six Greenshanks, c6 Little Egrets, c98 Scaup and a Kingfisher were seen, the Hudsonian Godwit was seen throughout the day at various locations around the Eden Estuary LNR. Nine Whooper Swans were seen flying E at Parkneuk (12th), two White-tailed Eagles, two Peregrines, 122 Scaup, four Little Egrets and two Kingfishers were seen from the Eden Estuary Centre whilst birders waited for the godwit flock to show, a late, or possibly a wintering, Sandwich Tern flew E at Braefoot Point, c218 Black-tailed Godwits, eight Greenshanks, c260 Knot and one Peregrine were counted at Newmills Bay, 10 Little Grebes and 18 Moorhens were good counts at Newton Farm Pond and one Buzzard, one Kestrel, c75 Teal, 48 Wigeon, three Tufted Ducks and eight Goldeneye were noted at Newton Quarry. A terrific count of c100 Snipe, c8 Jack Snipe, one Woodcock and two Water Rails was made on the wet grassland at Valleyfield Lagoons (13th), a Merlin, one Sparrowhawk and one Kingfisher were at Newmills Bay, 14 Velvet Scoters, a 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull, three Red-throated Divers and a Manx Shearwater E were noted at Dysart and 69 Whooper Swans over SW and seven Little Egrets were counted from the Eden Estuary Centre. c350 Goldeneye, another late Swallow, 50 Fieldfares and six Redwings were at Newburgh and not far away at Morton Lochs NNR four Mute Swans, c130 Teal, eight Wigeon, c90 Mallard, 15 Tufted Ducks, five Gadwall, seven Moorhens, 15 Blackbirds and c25 Fieldfares and Redwings were seen. There was a good count of 123 Whooper Swans at the Wilderness and the Hudsonian Godwit was seen once more from the Eden Estuary Centre (14th).

Stonechat was a terrific record from Dunfermline (15th) and eight Pintail, 120 Wigeon and a Whooper Swan were noted at Rossie Bog. A flock of 36 Little Gulls flew high inland at Ferry Hills, with 35 Red-throated Divers also noted, c10 Redwings were seen in Abbey Park, St Andrews, the Hudsonian Godwit was seen again from the shelter at the Eden Estuary Centre, along with Black-tailed Godwits, 33 Whooper Swans were at Craigluscar and at Loch Gelly, one eclipse Scaup, 10 Pochard, 91 Teal, 46 Lapwings, one Snipe, one drake Goosander and two Stonechats were all noted. Two Black-throated Divers and one adult Mediterranean Gull were at East Wemyss, a solitary Red-throated Diver was at Dalgety Bay and at Kingsbarns (16th) there were three Mediterranean Gulls, a 1st calendar year and a 2nd calendar year bird at Cambo Sands, with a 2nd calendar year bird nearby at Boghall, the Hudsonian Godwit, one Kingfisher, three Little Egrets and a Sparrowhawk were reported from the Eden Estuary Centre and at Kilmany a count of c1000 Pink-footed Geese, c1700 Woodpigeons, one Jack Snipe and two Sparrowhawks was made. A scarce Waxwing was seen flying low over the main road at Guardbridge, while counts of 15 Greenshanks and eight Little Egrets from the Eden Estuary Centre were good. The Hudsonian Godwit was still showing well, but now on a flooded field between Guardbridge and Leuchars (17th), a Long-tailed Duck was in Lower Largo Harbour and two Mediterranean Gulls, an adult and a 2nd calendar year bird were seen at Kenly Water (18th) and over at Tentsmuir Point NNR (19th), a Greenshank, three Snow Buntings, two Green Woodpeckers and nine Whooper Swans were noted. An adult Mediterranean Gull, a pair of Stonechats, three Red-throated Divers, 14 Whooper Swans W and a Dipper were at Pathhead, c20 Purple Sandpipers were seen roosting on the cliff below the Aquarium at St Andrews, the Hudsonian Godwit, one Kingfisher, one Spotted Redshank, 44 Black-tailed Godwits, one White-tailed Eagle, six Pale-bellied Brent Geese, five Pintail and 54 Scaup were seen from the Eden Estuary Centre and way over west at Newmills Bay, 82 Black-tailed Godwits, two Bar-tailed Godwits, one Chiffchaff, three Greenshanks and 36 Knot were counted. The day count at Fife Ness was one Black-throated Diver S, seven Great Northern Divers N and 23 Red-throated Divers and across at Cameron Reservoir one Jack Snipe, 23 Curlews, four Grey Herons, 48 Wigeon, c70 Tufted Ducks, seven Goldeneye and two Reed Buntings were noted. There was another flurry of late Swallow sightings (20th) with two at Cellardyke and one at Newburgh. A White-tailed Eagle, 30 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, one Jack Snipe, three Slavonian Grebes, four Long-tailed Ducks and two Red-throated Divers were seen at Balgove Bay and the Hudsonian Godwit was seen again from the Eden Estuary Centre on the north shore (21st). A Great Northern Diver, a Knot and 20 Purple Sandpipers were seen at Fife Ness and at the West Sands at St Andrews two Snow Buntings were seen well. A Chiffchaff and a Peregrine were noted at Newburgh and a Little Auk was watched coming in off the sea heading up the Eden Estuary at Out Head. The Hudsonian Godwit was seen roosting with Black-tailed Godwits from the Eden Estuary Centre (22nd), also one Spotted Redshank was still present. At Ferry Hills, the highlights were one redhead Smew flew west over the bridges with four Goldeneye, one Great Northern Diver, 12 Red-throated Divers, five Whooper Swans and a female/juvenile Merlin. A single Snow Bunting was seen at West Sands, St Andrews, 23 Pintail and two Shovelers were at Rossie Bog, with 29 Shovelers and eight Pintail nearby at Angle Park GP and at Letham Pools seven Whooper Swans were present, with another seven on a flooded field to the east. 28 Whooper Swans were near Cameron Reservoir and a single Sandwich Tern was seen feeding off the car park at Leven (23rd). 14 Pintail and c240 Wigeon were seen at Rossie Bog, c24 Brent Geese, c6 Long-tailed Ducks and one Red-throated Diver were off Out Head and c45 Scaup and one Spotted Redshank were on the Eden Estuary LNR. A 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull was at East Wemyss (24th), with another adult Mediterranean Gull on the grassy area at Pathhead, where a Great Northern Diver flying high west and 23 Long-tailed Ducks were also noted. The Hudsonian Godwit was seen from the Eden Estuary Centre along with 41 Black-tailed Godwits and a Spotted Redshank (25th). Highlights of a count at Newmills Bay included three Bar-tailed Godwits, seven Great Crested Grebes, one Greenshank, one Kingfisher and 1000’s of Pink-footed Geese flying North. Back east at Balcomie Beach 40 Purple Sandpipers, six Common Scoters and a Great Northern Diver past S were noted along with a Lapland Bunting at Balcomie GC driving range. At Pittenweem 11 Grey Partridges and a Corn Bunting were seen, a Purple Sandpiper and a Great Crested Grebe were off Braefoot Point and yet another late Swallow was seen, this time on a TV aerial in Anstruther, with three Purple Sandpipers also noted on rocks below. 30 Shelducks were counted at Dalgety Bay and eight Whooper Swans headed N over Carnbee (26th). The Hudsonian Godwit was with the Black-tailedGodwit flock at the Eden Estuary, also a Spotted Redshank was still present and back west, two Red-throated Divers and two Great Crested Grebes were off Braefoot Point. A Woodcock was a surprise find for one lucky Crail home owner, with it showing well in their hallway! A 1st winter Iceland Gull was at Fife Ness, with a 1st calendar year Iceland Gull and a Kingfisher at Cambo and two adult Mediterranean Gulls at Boghall. A Woodcock was also seen nearby at the Golf Course at Kingsbarns. A further report of more late Swallows came in with three seen behind the Morrison’s store in Kirkcaldy. 48 Whooper Swans were seen 2km west of Baintown and a count at Ruddons Point produced 23 Grey Plovers, four Golden Plovers and two Bar-tailed Godwits, with c120 Sanderlings and three Bar-tailed Godwits also seen in Largo Bay. A Woodcock made an early morning flight up Winifred Crescent, Kirkcaldy (27th), 750 Pink-footed Geese passed N over Dempster Place, Dunfermline, with c2100 Pink-footed Geese also seen going over Kilmany that day. At Parkneuk, Dunfermline, 30 Whooper Swans were seen flying W, a terrific count of 81 Snow Buntings was made at Tentsmuir and the Hudsonian Godwit was still present and viewed from the Eden Estuary Centre. A Long-eared Owl was watched coming in off the sea at Balcomie Beach, three Great Northern Divers, a few Red-throated Divers, one Long-tailed Duck and a Slavonian Grebe flying NW were noted at Kingsbarns and down at Kilminning, eight Woodcocks and lots of Blackbirds and Goldcrests were noted, most likely due to a cold weather pattern over northern Europe, a Woodcock and several Redwings were also seen at Denburn Wood. 12 Black-tailed Godwits, 10 Bullfinches in one group, c375 Dunlins and a Grey Plover were seen at Newmills Bay, a female Ring-necked Duck was a very good find at Cameron Reservoir (28th), by the boathouse with Tufted Ducks. At Ferry Hills a Woodcock was disturbed off Ferry Hills Road, two Great Northern Divers flew west and also 12 Red-throated Divers were noted.

There was a tremendous find of a Richard’s Pipit along the main track and in long grass towards Ruddons Point, where it showed remarkably well to many birders. A Woodcock flew from the upper area of Kilminning, also 12 Twite were in fields 1/2 mile N. Five Long-tailed Ducks were seen off the car park at the Golf Museum in St Andrews, eight Lapland Buntings and c7 Twite were in with c120 Linnets in stubble fields north of the Golf Course at Kingsbarns (29th), the Richard’s Pipit was seen from the first bridge at Cocklemill Burn, having been flushed late in the previous day by dog walkers. 156 Twite were in fields next to the track to the coast, from Boghall Farm, near Kingsbarns. At Inch Farm, Pittenweem eight Snipe and three Jack Snipe were seen (30th), up to 11 Lapland Buntings and two Corn Buntings were in the stubble field at the NW edge of the Golf Course at Kingsbarns, one adult Mediterranean Gull was noted at Dysart and at Boghall, Kingsbarns, 25 Twite, 35 Purple Sandpipers and two adult Mediterranean Gulls were seen. It seems quite apt that the month ended with another report of a Woodcock, given that this autumn has been good for them. It also follows on from the one seen in a hallway recently for unusual location or behaviour, as the bird today was seen flying down the centre of the A92 near Melville Lodges Roundabout at car height!

Information supplied courtesy of Malcolm Ware