November 2023 Sightings

November started with a very welcome influx of Waxwings to the County, with most seeming to return to previous “regular” sites. Five were in a Cellardyke garden, c18 were at Cowdenbeath Leisure Centre, c22 were in St Andrews and there were 11 at the Victoria Road Car Wash in Kirkcaldy (1st). Two Velvet Scoters, 248 Common Scoters and a good count of 130 Long-tailed Ducks were seen from Kinghorn and a Slavonian Grebe was an unusual visitor to Beveridge Park Pond, Kirkcaldy, as was a Dipper there the same day, a Great Grey Shrike was a great find at lower Kilminning (2nd), 17 Waxwings were still present at Cowdenbeath Leisure Centre and two were seen at Kinghorn Loch, as were two Crossbills, more Waxwings were seen at Ferry Hills, with six noted there, along with 27 Barnacle Geese, 19 Red-throated Divers and 16 Crossbills. Clatto Reservoir had four Crossbills and 11 Whooper Swans, an adult Mediterranean Gull was seen amongst the gulls on the playing fields at Queen Anne High School, Dunfermline. Also in Dunfermline, three Waxwings were heard flying over near Lynebank Hospital, two Swallows were seen at Dalgety Bay, as was a scarce (for this site) Little Egret, nine Little Gulls were also noted. In St Andrews (3rd) c20 Waxwings were seen at the North Haugh, with a further 12 seen at Spinkie Crescent, another late Swallow was seen at lower Kilminning, as were two Northern Bullfinches, at least two Mealy Redpolls, with two Lesser Redpolls and two Blackcaps. A scarce White-tailed Eagle was seen on a post from Out Head, a solitary Waxwing flew over Crail (4th), c50 were seen in Ravenscraig Park, Kirkcaldy, seven were at Hallow Hill, St Andrews, with another c30 near Aldi, three were noted at Lower Largo and there was an excellent count of c120 in Kirkcaldy, with another single bird seen amongst thrushes in Cupar. Seven Whooper Swans were seen at Crossford, a late Wheatear was at Dysart, a Merlin was on the rocks at Fife Ness, a single Mealy Redpoll was amongst Lesser Redpolls at Hallow Hill, St Andrews, with a Raven over there also. The highlights at Ferry Hills were one Red Kite NE, 27 Red-throated Divers flew W inland and 35 Crossbills. A Great Northern Diver was seen off Out Head, as were three Slavonian Grebes, another Slavonian Grebe turned up at an unusual location, with one on Kilconquhar Loch, where a Chiffchaff was also present. Seven Swallows at Elie was a good group count so late in the year, a Short-eared Owl and three Woodcocks were at Boarhills and a Goshawk was watched at Morton Lochs NNR, where at least four Bramblings were also present. Two Snow Buntings were seen at Out Head, another Short-eared Owl was at Methil and a Little Egret was an unusual visitor to Pittenweem. 10 Pintail and nine Whooper Swans were counted at Torry Bay, a Barn Owl was seen near Dunshalt and 23 Waxwings were seen at Balmullo (5th). c20 Waxwings were still around Aldi in St Andrews, with a good count of 65 at Auchterlonie Court in St Andrews and the count of Waxwings had dropped to one at Cowdenbeath Leisure Centre. The Wheatear was still present at the Bruce Embankment car park, St Andrews and a count from Fife Ness produced one Little Auk N, five Little Gulls, 52 Red-throated Divers, 98 Common Scoters, three Velvet Scoters, eight Long-tailed Ducks and two Purple Sandpipers. The Black Redstart was seen again at the Bruce Embankment car park, St Andrews, another was seen at Roome Bay, Crail, with a further bird seen at Sauchope Caravan Park, Crail also. 23 Whooper Swans flew over Cellardyke, a Slavonian Grebe was a rare visitor to Loch Gelly, a Snow Bunting was seen on West Sands, St Andrews and 11 Little Egrets were seen flying past St Andrews Castle. A drake Surf Scoter was seen from Tentsmuir Point NNR, with c30 Velvet Scoters, at least two Slavonian Grebes and two Great Northern Divers also noted offshore. Four Snow Buntings were also seen on the beach. A Short-eared Owl was seen again at Boarhills, with two Red-throated Divers and three Greenshanks also noted there, a Slavonian Grebe, one Greenshank, nine Whooper Swans and two Twite were at Coble Shore, with five Twite also seen at Elie. 25 Whooper Swans were seen at Rossie Bog, a Short-eared Owl was at Cameron Reservoir and a drake Surf Scoter was seen from Ruddons Point (6th). A Little Egret was seen from the Coastal Path at Cellardyke and in Guardbridge 18 Waxwings were seen near the Mill, c60 were still at Auchterlonie Court, St Andrews and c40 were in Kirkcaldy and at Loch Fitty a Slavonian Grebe was an unusual visitor, while the Slavonian Grebe at Kilconquhar Loch was still present. A female Scaup was at Loch Gelly, 11 Snow Buntings were at Tentsmuir Point NNR, a Little Egret was again at Dalgety Bay (7th) and now seemed to become a daily visitor, two Slavonian Grebes and four Scaup were now at Loch Gelly, there were five Waxwings in a Cellardyke garden, c10 at North Haugh, St Andrews, with 45 seen on Bogward Road, St Andrews also. At Out Head, six Little Egrets were unusual, as were the 12 Greenfinches seen feeding on the strand line, a female Marsh Harrier was seen over Mugdrum Island and a swift sp. seen over Crail caused much excitement, but after studying images and videos the opinion was that it was a Common Swift.

c35 Waxwings were seen at the east end of Oriel Road, Kirkcaldy (8th), with a further c40 still at Victoria Road, also in Kirkcaldy. Seen at Stenhouse Reservoir was a Green Sandpiper, two juvenile Marsh Harriers were seen at Rossie Bog and the Slavonian Grebe was still at Beveridge Park Pond, Kirkcaldy. A Great Northern Diver was an unusual visitor at Valleyfield Lagoons (9th) seen from the sea wall, five Waxwings were at Lade Braes, St Andrews, with 12 at Greenside Place, c60 at Fraser Avenue and four at Bogward Road, all in St Andrews. Also seen at Bogward Road, St Andrews were one Brambling and 71 Siskins, one Slavonian Grebe was still at Loch Gelly, where two Long-tailed Ducks were also unusual visitors, eight Pochard and eight Whooper Swans were also notable counts there. A Great White Egret was seen at Cameron Reservoir (10th), 12 Waxwings were near Morrisons, St Andrews, with c60 near the Centre for Biological Diversity, St Andrews, 12 were also seen on Regents Way, Dalgety Bay. The Green Sandpiper was still at Stenhouse Reservoir, with a Raven noted there also, the Slavonian Grebe was still present at Loch Fitty, at Craigluscar, nine Whooper Swans were noted and at Magus Muir a possible Continental Coal Tit was seen amongst a flock of Coal Tits, with nine Bramblings, c25 Redpolls, a Raven and six Jays together, also noted there. An adult female Marsh Harrier was seen at Mugdrum Island and two Barn Owls were seen between Freuchie and Dunshalt. Seen from Fife Ness (11th) were a Little Auk N and six Little Gulls offshore, the highlights at Ferry Hills were one Hawfinch NW and 22 Waxwings SW across the Forth. 30 Waxwings were at Oriel Road, Kirkcaldy, while the counts of this species in St Andrews were three in Buchanan Gardens, c50 on Scooniehill Road, 10 at the Bute Building and two at the Hospital. Single Twite and Snow Bunting were seen at Coble Shore, a male Merlin was seen at Newburgh, where four Long-tailed Ducks were unusual visitors there, also noted were 270 Goldeneye and five Scaup. Seen at Rossie Bog were a Marsh Harrier and c1000 Pink-footed Geese over NW and seen at Pillars of Hercules, Falkland was a solitary Barn Owl. Six Waxwings were still on Oriel Road, Kirkcaldy (12th), with five also at Lade Braes, St Andrews, a Little Egret was seen on the Stinky Pool at Fife Ness, at Coble Shore one Snow Bunting, one Greenshank, seven Little Egrets, c4 Slavonian Grebes and two Long-tailed Ducks were noted. A seawatch off Fife Ness produced three Little Auks S and nine Little Gulls N, a Marsh Harrier was seen at Rossie Bog and 15 Snow Buntings were at Craigmead in the Lomond Hills. At least 15 Waxwings were at Fife Park, St Andrews (13th), a Jack Snipe was a good find at Kilmany, as was a Ring Ouzel amongst the Blackbirds at upper Kilminning (14th), the Mediterranean Gull was still to be seen on the playing fields at Queen Anne High School, Dunfermline and a Barn Owl was seen near Burntisland. Seen from Anstruther (15th) was a Leach’s Petrel, Waxwings were still present, but in smaller numbers, with 12 over Churchill Crescent, St Andrews (16th), five at Culross Primary School and 40 on Haugh Road, Burntisland. A Nuthatch was seen in Kirkcaldy and a confiding Shore Lark at Out Head proved very popular, 16 Snow Buntings, one Mealy Redpoll, c300 Long-tailed Ducks, c40 Velvet Scoters, c15 Slavonian Grebes and two Great Northern Divers were seen at Tentsmuir Point NNR, the Scaup count at Loch Gelly (17th) rose to seven, as did the Pochard count there, which rose to 98, a great count in modern times. Also still present there was the Slavonian Grebe. A Bonxie was a good late record from Anstruther and at Out Head, as well as the Shore Lark, a Lapland Bunting was also seen briefly amongst the Greenfinches and Linnets feeding on the strand line. A Woodcock was at upper Kilminning, a Chiffchaff was seen at Craigluscar, a single Marsh Harrier was at Rossie Bog, with three Red-legged Partridges also noted there. Waxwing counts came from The Wynd, Dalgety Bay, with c50, four on Largo Road, St Andrews, c50 at Dunnikier Primary School, Kirkcaldy and 17 seen at St Margaret’s Marsh, Rosyth. Also seen there was the elusive Water Pipit, two Stonechats and three Common Scoters and a Red-throated Diver were off the sea wall. Still present at Cameron Reservoir was the Slavonian Grebe, with a good count of 26 Crossbills there also. A Nuthatch was seen in Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy and two Red-necked Grebes were seen from Ruddons Point. There was a good count of 105 Twite at Coble Shore (18th), and an adult male Hen Harrier was seen at Cocklemill Marsh, a Black Guillemot was off Leven and seen from Fife Ness were a Little Auk and three Little Gulls, the only Waxwings reported this day were 25 over Nelson Street, Kirkcaldy. A group of four Great Northern Divers and one Black-throated Diver flew high inland at Ferry Hills (19th), 15 Crossbills were seen in Pitmedden Forest, an adult Mediterranean Gull was at Rossend Point, Burntisland and Waxwings were seen at Rossie Bog, with two there and c20 were on Broomfaulds Avenue, St Andrews. Also seen at Rossie Bog were four Ravens, four Stonechats, one Water Rail heard, one Marsh Harrier and a Black-tailed Godwit. Five Snow Buntings were on the beach at Tentsmuir Point NNR, a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen at Cocklemill Marsh, a single Snow Bunting, seven Slavonian Grebes, 19 Long-tailed Ducks and an unusual count of 11 Little Egrets were noted at Out Head. A Marsh Harrier was seen again at Rossie Bog (20th), with an adult female Marsh Harrier also seen from Newburgh. A Little Egret was seen on Cocklemill Burn (20th) and seen from Bogward Road were a Brambling and 27 Golden Plovers over. The only count of Waxwings today was five in Dunfermline. A great count of 73 Red-throated Divers was made at Ferry Hills (21st), with the largest flock being 32.

At Kilconquhar Loch (22nd), the Slavonian Grebe was still present, the Black-tailed Godwit and Marsh Harrier were still at Rossie Bog, a Long-eared Owl was a good find near Burntisland and the only Waxwings reported today were c20 on Largo Road, St Andrews. Seen from West Sands, St Andrews (24th) were one Little Auk N and c36 Scaup, a hybrid Hooded Crow was seen in Newmills Bay, with five Greenshanks and a Kingfisher also noted. A seawatch at Fife Ness produced 12 Little Auks S, 18 Little Gulls N, one late Sooty Shearwater N, 32 Gannets N, three Great Northern Divers N and 10 Red-throated Divers. A Short-eared Owl and a Water Rail were reported from Valleyfield Lagoons, eight Little Auks S, another late Sooty Shearwater N and a late Manx Shearwater N, were seen from Fife Ness (25th), the Slavonian Grebe was still at Cameron Reservoir, where a Long-tailed Duck was another unusual visitor. An adult female Marsh Harrier was seen over Mugdrum Island and seen from the Aquarium, St Andrews were one Great Northern Diver, one Little Auk S, 75 Long-tailed Ducks and 55 Scaup. In an autumn which has been good for Crossbills, 17 at the Wilderness was a good count, with 12 also at Cameron Reservoir that day. Seen from Fife Ness (26th) were 16 Little Auks, one Black Guillemot S, two Puffins and three Little Gulls loitering, at least 19 Twite were seen at Kingsbarns, 19 Crossbills were seen at Star Moss and a Red-necked Grebe was seen off Silver Sands, Aberdour. Off Lower Largo were five Slavonian Grebes, 14 Long-tailed Ducks and two Red-throated Divers, with three Twite also seen there. At Mairsland Farm, Auchtermuchty, 24 Tree Sparrows was the highest count seen there, the Long-tailed Duck and eight Crossbills were at Cameron Reservoir (27th). Whooper Swans were relatively scarce in the autumn in Fife this year, after their arrivals, so 26 at Howe of Fife (28th) was welcome, the Snow Bunting count had risen to 23 at Tentsmuir Point NNR and the six Greenshanks at the mouth of the Bluther Burn, Torry Bay was the highest count there this year. The ringtail Hen Harrier was still present at Cocklemill Marsh, where a single Little Egret and c35 Twite were also seen. The immature male Black Redstart was still present at Roome Bay, Crail (29th), as was the ringtail Hen Harrier at Cocklemill Marsh. The count of Twite at Coble Shore rose to 120 and seen from Fife Ness (30th) were two Little Auks and 12 Purple Sandpipers. A Great Northern Diver and a Slavonian Grebe were seen from Aberdour Harbour and on the last day of the month Waxwings were reported from Dunfermline, with 23 in Rumblingwell and a single bird heard at Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy.

Monthly sighting summaries are based on information submitted to the Fife Bird News WhatsApp group. A full list of contributors is published in Scope. Thank you.