October 2018 Sightings

A single Barnacle Goose at Barns Farm was the opening sighting of the month, a first year Mediterranean Gull was present at Wilderness where there were 20 adult Whooper Swans and two Black-tailed Godwits (1st). A minimum of 52 Bearded Tits in four flocks plus an adult female Marsh Harrier were seen at Mugdrum Island in the early morning, a Jay was at Gauldry and a report from

Lindores Loch included  two Dabchicks, 22 (12 and ten young) Mute Swans, 55 Mallards, 45 Tufted Ducks, a Great Black-backed Gull on the water and a vocal Buzzard (2nd). Seawatching at Fife Ness produced an early report of 11 Red-throated Divers, an Arctic Skua, a Velvet Scoter, nine Teal, six Manx Shearwaters, six Common Scoters and two Red-breasted Mergansers then later the tally was 11 Red-throated Divers, 13 Arctic Skuas, two Velvet Scoters, four Manx Shearwaters, one Merlin, three Common Scoters and a Bonxie. At Guardbridge one Ruff, one Greenshank, two Little Egrets and a White-tailed Eagle were seen. A single Brent Goose was feeding on the river at Levenmouth then at Barnsmuir Farm, near Crail, 75 Golden Plovers were present with another flock of c100 at Old Barns Farm in ploughed fields. A White-tailed Eagle, a Raven, a Kingfisher, four Greenshanks and two Great Spotted Woodpeckers were all seen from the Eden Estuary Centre (3rd) and a Spotted Redshank, two Ruff, three Greenshanks and four Little Egrets were present there the next day (4th). A Peregrine was noted passing over Wormit, a Long-tailed Skua, two Pomarine Skuas and three Arctic Skuas were noted at Out Head whilst one Long-tailed Skua, ten Pomarine Skuas, nine Bonxies and six Arctic Skuas were counted at Ferry Hills (5th). At least 90 Rooks were counted in a field at St Michaels, three Little Gulls, a first winter Mediterranean Gull, six Manx Shearwaters, an adult Long-tailed Skua, two Arctic Skuas, 13 Bonxies, 800+ Gannets and 100+ Kittiwakes were noted off Kinghorn. A Chiffchaff was still calling at The Clink, Pitmedden Forest plus 12 Long-tailed Tits and 450 Pink-footed Geese also passed over Auchtermuchty. The Barnacle Goose was noted again at Dalgety Bay, 36 Whooper Swans were counted at Wilderness and unusually a male Bearded Tit was at Roome Bay, Crail. Highlights from vis mig watching at Ferry Hills were one female/juvenile Hen Harrier, nine Bonxies, 15 Crossbills, 260 Skylarks and 380 Chaffinches. Meanwhile two Redwings, two Chiffchaffs along with Goldcrests and Robins were new arrivals at Kilminning (6th). Offshore sightings at Kinghorn included 18 Bonxies, three Arctic Skuas, 15 Red-throated Divers, two adult and two first winter Mediterranean Gulls, a Manx Shearwater, one Black-throated Diver, a Pomarine Skua and 1450+ Gannets. Fife Ness produced three Bonxies, two Pomarine Skuas, two Sooty Shearwaters and three Manx Shearwaters whilst a juvenile Little Stint was with a group of Dunlins at Balcomie Beach. A Swallow, two Sandwich Terns, 680 Eiders, a Guillemot and 79 Cormorants were counted at Tentsmuir Point NNR (7th).


At Wilderness a pair of Scaup, six Black-tailed Godwits and seven Snipe were present, a Long-tailed Duck (first winter) frequented Kilconquhar Loch and a Little Stint was on the rocks in front of the FBC hide at Fife Ness as well as four Wheatears. A Grey Phalarope was seen close in then flew north at St Andrews Bay where two Little Gulls, 110 Kittiwakes and three Manx Shearwaters were all feeding, also seen were an Arctic Skua, a Red-throated Diver and numerous Razorbills. Later in the day a report from Fife Ness comprised six Bonxies, four Arctic Skuas, one Pomarine Skua, 36 Red-throated Divers, three Manx Shearwaters, four Sandwich Terns, ten Wigeon, five Teal, 40 Pink-footed Geese, 88 Common Scoters, one Velvet Scoter and six Red-breasted Mergansers (8th). Further observations at  Fife Ness brought six Manx Shearwaters, two Bonxies, six Red-throated Divers, five Common Scoters, one Arctic Skua, a Wheatear and 40 Golden Plovers. Upstream  at Guardbridge on a ploughed field, three Lapland Buntings, c24 Reed Buntings, c52 Yellowhammers, ten Skylarks, c540 Lapwings and 21 Whooper Swans were all noted (10th). At Ferry Hills there were 53 Bramblings and 80 Redwings. Kilminning also hosted Bramblings and Redwings as well as a Yellow-browed Warbler and one was also seen at Balcomie and at Craighead while a Great Northern Diver passed Fife Ness. A count at Newton Farm / Newton Sand & Gravel Pit / Linkswood included 13 Dabchicks, six Mute Swans (and seven young), 55 Mallards, four Teal, 13 Wigeon, seven Tufted Ducks, 11 Moorhens, three Buzzards, one female Kestrel, two Jays and five Reed Buntings. Monitoring of Morton Lochs NNR produced three Grey Herons, 73 Teal, ten Moorhens and a Lapwing (11th). At Kilrenny a Ring Ouzel, a Brambling and lots of Redwings and Blackbirds were present, a Yellow-browed Warbler was at Denburn Wood entrance and two or three of this species were at Fife Ness Muir where a Pied Flycatcher, a Blackcap and a Chiffchaff were also present. By Kinkell Braes Caravan Park, St Andrews were two Ring Ouzels, ten Redwings, 15 Song Thrushes, a Chiffchaff  and three Blackcaps. At Kilminning many thrushes came in overnight, Bramblings too, and at least three Ring Ouzels were present and a male Ring Ouzel was also at Craighead (12th). At least one Yellow-browed Warbler was present at Kilminning with far fewer thrushes than the day before. At the cottages at Balcomie a Chiffchaff was showing/calling with characteristics of Siberian Chiffchaff. Also there was a second ‘regular’ Chiffchaff with it and several other Chiffchaffs, a Yellow-browed Warbler, Bramblings, a Ring Ouzel and a female Redstart were present in the area. Five Hawfinches were recorded at Ferry Hills along with modest numbers of thrushes (13th). Another six Hawfinches were seen at the same site the next day as well as 100 Bramblings, 600 Redwings and a Great Northern Diver. Four Wheatears and six Stonechats were present at Out Head, a Green Sandpiper was at Wilderness along with several Goldcrests, a Redwing and a few Bramblings nearby. Four Dippers were together on Auchtermuchty Burn and 23 Grey Partridges were at Lochybank Farm, Auchtermuchty. A report from Kittock’s Den comprised one Yellow-browed Warbler, a Ring Ouzel, four Bramblings, one Chiffchaff, a Blackcap, eight Song Thrushes, one Mistle Thrush, 14 Blackbirds and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. 30 Crossbills passed over Bogward Road, St Andrews. A busy day continued with Kilminning hosting at least four Yellow-browed Warblers, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Brambling, a Siskin, a Redpoll, a Goldcrest and at least two Treecreepers. There was a report of a Little Bunting at Balcomie Farm Cottages where a female Redstart, a Brambling, Chiffchaffs and  lots of Redpolls were also seen (14th).


The female Redstart was still present there the following day then a probable Greenish Warbler and a Yellow-browed Warbler were reported from Kilminning (15th). Boarhills Pond also held a Yellow-browed Warbler and there was a fresh arrival of thrushes, with large numbers of Redwings and Fieldfares in off the sea. A Blackcap was present at Balcomie and thrush totals from Boarhills in the morning were 750 Redwings, 370 Fieldfares in off the sea and also 40 Bramblings. A male and a juvenile Ring Ouzel were at Kilminning early on then approximate counts late on were 1150 Redwings, 720 Blackbirds, 170 Fieldfares, three Ring Ouzels, three Chiffchaffs, with a scattering of Goldcrests and Chaffinches and the day count for Bramblings was 76. Edenside hosted two White-Tailed Eagles, a Buzzard, six Mute Swans, 13 Goosanders, c600 Golden Plovers, 156 Lapwings, 72 Black-tailed Godwits, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, and four Tree Sparrows (16th). At Kilminning there was a huge drop in thrush numbers with ‘only’ 140 Blackbirds and  95 Redwings noted as well as two Chiffchaffs. A Marsh Harrier passed over Elie Ness and a Yellow-browed Warbler was in ‘The Patch’ at Fife Ness (17th). 30 Scaup, c800 Golden Plovers, and 110 Black-tailed Godwits were counted from the Eden Estuary Centre. Highlights from Ferry Hills were 15 Taiga Bean Geese, one Hawfinch, 41 Crossbills and 180 Bramblings. Kilconquhar Loch held 14 Pochards, two Water Rails, and a Kingfisher. Mountcastle GP hosted four Dabchicks, four Mute Swans, 19 Greylags, ten Tufted Ducks, a Buzzard and a Jay then a report from Letham Pools included two Grey Herons, seven Mute Swans (and nine young), two Pintails, 17 Gadwalls, c28 Shovelers, five Moorhens, 35 Coots and a Buzzard. Three Ravens and 20 Fieldfares were noted at Glen Vale (18th). At Earlshall Muir there was a  brief view of a harrier sp seen through trees on the Muir and also seen were two Tree Pipits, two Green Woodpeckers, ten Bramblings and five Fieldfares. Kingsbarns held 20 Twite while three adult and six first winter Mediterranean Gulls were noted at the evening roost at East Wemyss (19th). A Surf Scoter was picked out amongst the Common Scoters off West Sands, St Andrews where a Short-eared Owl was seen flying low over the sea heading towards the town. At Fife Ness 46 Little Gulls were seen going north in 30 minutes. At Balcomie there were 20+ Twite at the north end of the golf course on the coastal path (as last winter). Ferry Hills highlights were one Hawfinch (10th of the autumn!), 400 Redwings and 30 Bramblings. Off Kinshaldy 12 Slavonian Grebes, 11 Red-throated Divers, ten Long-tailed Ducks and three Common Terns were noted (20th). Further Ferry Hills highlights were one Waxwing, three Bonxies, a Great Northern Diver, with Fieldfares and Redwings in modest numbers. An adult Mediterranean Gull was on the grass at Pathhead first thing, with 28 Siskins also noted coming in off the sea. In the Saline area there were 20+ Bramblings, 124 Fieldfares, 70+ Redwings, 13 Mistle Thrushes and a Short-eared Owl flew over. At Anstruther four Little Gulls passed west then along at Crail a Little Grebe was on the sea just west of the harbour (21st).


In St Andrews, at the Spinkie Den, there was a calling Yellow-browed Warbler and also two Northern Bullfinches and four Crossbills with five Redpolls over then West Sands held a Short-eared Owl (22nd). Single Pomarine and Arctic Skuas were harassing terns on the east side of Carlingnose Point and 62 Shelducks were at Dalgety Bay. 16 (seven with nine young) Mute Swans, 70 Greylags, 14 Wigeon and eight Goosanders were all noted at Birnie & Gaddon Lochs LNR and two Swallows lingered at Anstruther (23rd) 35 Crossbills and three Whooper Swans were present at Morton Lochs NNR (24th). There were still five Swallows at Kilconquhar Loch where 30 Bramblings and three Whooper Swans were also present. Eden Estuary LNR held six Little Egrets, 24 Whooper Swans, 73 Scaup and 15 Greenshanks (together at the high tide roost) (25th). A Red-throated Diver was seen close in at Braefoot Point and a White-billed Diver passed south at Fife Ness in the late afternoon (26th). A Short-eared Owl was at the Goosepools. The White-billed Diver was spied again off Fife Ness where a Pomarine Skua, one Little Auk, five Great Northern Divers, 31 Red-throated Divers, 102 Long-tailed Ducks, 18 Velvet Scoters, 97 Wigeon, 148 Common Scoters, a Bonxie and three Arctic Skuas all passed. Five Brent Geese passed east at Anstruther and 18 Whooper Swans flew over Inchcolm while four Waxwings, 70 Bramblings and three Bonxies were reported from Ferry Hills (27th). At Ferry Hills the morning observations included one Black-throated Diver, a Hawfinch, one Waxwing, 210 Bramblings and a juvenile Pomarine Skua, which was seen circling with and chasing a juvenile Arctic Skua and a Bonxie! A Ring Ouzel was at Kincraig Point and a Little Auk and c50 Scaup were noted off West Sands. After regular reports during the day the eventual count from Fife Ness was one Storm Petrel, two Little Auks, one Pomarine Skua, three Bonxies, seven Great Northern Divers, one Black-throated Diver, 14 Little Gulls, one Sooty Shearwater, one Manx Shearwater, 420 Common Scoters, 19 Velvet Scoters, 125 Long-tailed Ducks, 170 Wigeon, two Scaup and seven Purple Sandpipers (28th).


At St Monans a large flock of Golden Plovers was in fields opposite Bowhouse Farm, two drake Surf Scoters were noted off the Golf Museum car park at St Andrews. Kilminning yielded a Short-eared Owl, one Woodcock and a Mealy Redpoll while a Fife Ness highlight was a juvenile Sabine’s Gull in addition to an Arctic Skua, a Bonxie and a large Kittiwake passage (29th). The Mealy Redpoll count  increased to three at Kilminning the following day when reports from Fife Ness included a Woodcock in off the sea, 50+ Kittiwakes, one Pomarine Skua, two Manx Shearwaters, two Little Gulls, six Red-throated Divers and ten Long-tailed Ducks. Meanwhile at Fife Ness Muir a Red-breasted Flycatcher was at the rear of the ringing hut and a Woodcock and a potentially northern race Treecreeper were also noted. Angle Park GP held 11 Cormorants, six Mute Swans, 88 Greylags, 15 Teal, 18 Tufted Ducks, seven Gadwalls, one Shoveler, 11 Goldeneyes, 33 Coots and a Buzzard (30th). The Red-breasted Flycatcher loitered at Fife Ness Muir and a Great Northern Diver passed Fife Ness. A tally from Edenside included five Cormorants, 26 Shelducks, 18 Mallards, 48 Teal, six Red-breasted Mergansers, c600 Golden Plovers, 24 Lapwings, a Buzzard and at least five Tree Sparrows. The month ended with two Little Gulls at Anstruther.

Information supplied courtesy of Malcolm Ware and Graham Sparshott