Seawatching At Fife Ness

One of the aims of observers at Fife Ness should be the consistent and comprehensive nature of the recordings in the log book. The first observer should record the date and weather conditions then the totals for each species seen. This should be carried out in such a way as to allow subsequent observers to add to these totals leading to a day count once observations have finished. To help with calculation of the final day total, observers should record the times of their watches so that any duplication can be ruled out. If a group of people are seawatching together then someone should volunteer as a ‘lead scribe’ to record the group’s sightings. A typical situation to arise would be that one person has been the first to arrive and started a watch alone, to be later joined by other people. It makes sense for the first person to arrive to keep collating the counts on the group’s behalf (although there is nothing to stop individuals keeping their own personal tally for their records). When the ‘lead scribe’ leaves, another person should volunteer to take over to continue the count, noting the start and end time of their ‘shift’.

Other details to be recorded aside from the counts of birds are:

  • Names of observers. The lead scribe will be responsible for recording the names of all observers present if the watch involves a group effort.
  • Direction of passage (north or south when watching from Fife Ness)
  • Increased level of detail for nationally rare or locally rare species of seabird including time of the observation, the observers iunvolved and brief details of the circumstances. This will allow the Fife Recorder to contact people for descriptions.
  • If there are obvious changes in the weather conditions since the log started, these are worth updating and they may correlate with sudden movements/influxes of notable species.

Please see below an example of how the daily log might look:

      04 / 10 / 2022   NNW 5 moving N 3 , vague mist bank at 1.5 km, odd shower from N

       Manx    10N + 10N + 10N + 10N + 10N + 10N+ 10N +10N + 10N + 10N + 10N + 10N + 1N +   

       1N                                                                                                DAY COUNT 122 N

        Sooty   5N + 5N +5N + 5N+ 5N + 5N + 2S +5N + 2N             DAY COUNT 37 N and 2S

        Balearic  1N  (dark Balearic north at 12.22 , quite close , approx 800 m  A. White,

                        B. Green)

        Storm Petrel  1N  ( SP N at 12.40 C. Brown) + 1N  ( SP N at 16.20  D. Black)

        Arctic Skua  1N+ 1N + 1N+ 1N+ 1N + 1N + 1N                       DAY COUNT 7N

        Bonxie 1N + 1N +1N + 3N + 2N + 1N + 2N + 1N                    DAY COUNT 12N

        Pomarine Skua 3N (pale ad + 2 sub ads)  at 16.22               DAY COUNT 3N

        Common Scoter c80N between 16.20 – 17.70                      DAY COUNT approx 80N

        Wigeon 165 + 13 + 12 + 7 + 7 (all south)   204 N                   DAY COUNT 204N and 204S

        Sabine’s Gull  1 lingering then N, juv at 16.40 ( DB/ EG /FR- record images)

        Knot    94 N    between 16.00 and 17.00              DAY COUNT 94N

      Observers    A. White,  B. Green 8.30 – 12.30

                          C. Brown  12.25 – 14.30

                          D. Black 16.00 – 18.00

                          E. Grey 16.10 – 18.00

                          F.  Rose 16.15 – 19.00