September 2022 Sightings

Two juvenile Long-tailed Skuas, c7 Sooty Shearwaters and 200 Manx Shearwaters at Fife Ness started the month off. At Fairmont, St Andrews a Pomarine Skua, two Little Gulls and 17 Whimbrels were seen and at Letham Pools a Curlew Sandpiper, 31 Black-tailed Godwits and two Little Ringed Plovers were affording good views. Nine Little Egrets were at Morton Lochs NNR on the 2nd with the Curlew Sandpiper still at Letham Pools. At Fife Ness during the day there were two Long-tailed Skuas, 41 Sooty Shearwaters, 161 Manx Shearwaters and a Pomarine Skua with one of the latter also seen from Kinghorn. The 3rd began with a Hobby and 23 Ravens at Lindores Loch with 13 Little Egrets and eight Greenshanks at Morton Lochs NNR. Fife Ness highlights were at least two Long-tailed Skuas, a Pomarine Skua, 13 Sooty Shearwaters, 150 Manx Shearwaters and a Pied Flycatcher in The Patch. A juvenile Long-tailed Skua passed Boarhills along with 14 Little Gulls and seven Ruff and Fairmont, St Andrews had similar sightings with a juvenile Long-tailed Skua, two Sooty Shearwaters and 11 Little Gulls. Two Pomarine Skuas, a Sooty Shearwater and 300 Manx Shearwaters were off Kinghorn that evening. The next day at Fife Ness another Great Shearwater went north with 344 Manx Shearwaters, eight Sooty Shearwaters, nine Long-tailed Skuas, seven Pomarine Skuas and 104 Little Gulls counted during the day. In and around Fife Ness there were at least seven Pied Flycatchers and three Redstarts. Another Redstart and a Wood Sandpiper were seen at Cambo with the sandpiper coming in off the sea calling. A Redwing over Bogward Road, St Andrews was the first reported of the autumn and nearby at Fairmont, a Barred Warbler was elusive and two Pied Flycatchers were also present with a juvenile Long-tailed Skua off Kinghorn. The 5th saw seven Sooty Shearwaters, a Pomarine Skua and two Great Northern Divers off Fife Ness and at least four Pied Flycatchers in the surrounding area. Letham Pools had a Wood Sandpiper, 31 Black-tailed Godwits and six Ruff present, while at Guardbridge there were c8 Curlew Sandpipers,15 Little Egrets and a Spotted Redshank. A juvenile Turnstone at the Wilderness was a fantastic record for this species at an inland site in our county. A Cory’s Shearwater passed Fife Ness on the 6th with three Sooty Shearwaters and a Pomarine Skua also seen. Two Pied Flycatchers were at Kilminning with five Curlew Sandpipers and the Spotted Redshank still at Guardbridge. There were at least seven Pied Flycatchers around the Fife Ness area on the 7th with a Curlew Sandpiper at Out Head. At Ferry Hills 738 Meadow Pipits and 31 Tree Pipits were counted.

An unprecedented day at Fife Ness on the 8th began with both large shearwater species passing within half an hour of each other. Firstly, a Great Shearwater flew north followed by a Cory’s Shearwater soon after. Added to the list were 19 Sooty Shearwaters, 155 Manx Shearwaters, 42 Brent Geese and a juvenile Long-tailed Skua. Up to three Redstarts were around the Fife Ness area and surrounds with Whinchat and Spotted Flycatcher also seen. Nine Ruff were on the golf course at Fife Ness early morning and some of these birds may have accounted for the four at Kilminning later that day. Kinghorn scored with a Leach’s Petrel on the 9th along with a Little Tern, Black Tern and two juvenile Long-tailed Skuas. At Fife Ness 29 Sooty Shearwaters, 23 Little Gulls and two Roseate Terns were counted with Pied and Spotted Flycatchers seen at Kilminning, Boarhills, Cambo and Denburn Wood. An early Red-flanked Bluetail made an appearance near the old fish factory area at Fife Ness on the 10th but proved extremely elusive. From the headland nearby, 20 Sooty Shearwaters, two Pomarine Skuas, Black Tern, Black Guillemot, 82 Manx Shearwaters and seven Little Gulls were seen. Newton Sandpit had a juvenile Spotted Redshank while at Guardbridge ten juvenile Curlew Sandpipers and 14 Little Egrets were counted. Six of the latter were at Morton Lochs NNR with seven Greenshanksand seven Little Egrets also at Tayport. A fantastic count of 23 Ruff on the golf course at Fife Ness were watched being shepherded around the greens by the golfers and a Little Stint was with Dunlin at Ruddons Point. The next day at Fife Ness another good bird was found in the shape of an Arctic Warbler at Craighead. There were Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warblers and Redstart to be found in and around Fife Ness. 34 Sooty Shearwaters were counted and the 23 Ruff were still to be found on the golf course or commuting to the Stinky Pool. Nearby, a Little Stint appeared at Balcomie Beach at the end of the golf course and another was seen at Ballo Reservoir. A moulting Red-necked Grebe was seen at Kinghornwhile at Guardbridge an excellent count of 15 Curlew Sandpipers was made. The 12th was an interesting day with a Black Kite photographed on the Eden Estuary at Out Head before flying over Leuchars and not seen again. A Yellow-browed Warbler was seen at Spinkie Den in St Andrews, a Hobby was at Kilmany and the Little Stint remained at Ballo Reservoir. The Arctic Warbler was reported again at Craighead on the 13th when 17 Ruff and 54 Black-tailed Godwits were at The Wilderness. Two Green Sandpipers were at Angle Park GP and one was at Kilmany with a Red Kite watched between Dalgety Bay and Braefoot. At Fife Ness on the 14th the Arctic Warbler and c20 Ruff were still present at Craighead and the golf course respectively.

On the 15th there were two 1st winter Little Gulls off the promenade at Kirkcaldy with three Ruff flying west. Two Sooty Shearwaters were seen from Fife Ness, c21 Ravens were counted in the Lomond Hills and 31 Black-tailed Godwits seen at Letham Pools. An eventful day at Fife Ness on the 16th; 11419 Razorbills were counted with a Balearic Shearwater, 37 Sooty Shearwaters, 133 Manx Shearwaters and 245 Little Gulls also seen. The next day at Fife Ness another Cory’s Shearwater was seen along with 68 Sooty Shearwaters, 393 Manx Shearwaters, 67 Red-throated Divers, two Great Northern Divers and 26 Little Gulls with a juvenile Long-tailed Skua off St Andrews. Fife Ness was the place to be on the 18th with another “Big Shear” day with five species of Shearwater noted in total: two Great Shearwaters a Cory’s Shearwater, a Balearic Shearwater, 28 Sooty Shearwaters and 1012 Manx Shearwaters, as well as a juvenile Long-tailed Skua and 366 Little Gulls. Two Yellow-browed Warblers were caught and ringed at Fife Ness Muir on the 19th with 22 Sooty Shearwaters and 407 Manx Shearwaters past the headland. A Red-necked Grebe was at Ruddons Point with a Curlew Sandpiper, eight Slavonian Grebes and a single Little Gull on the Eden Estuary. The 20th began with a juvenile Long-tailed Skua heading inland at Ferry Hills and 2048 Meadow Pipits going through. Two Common Cranes flew over St Andrews and another Yellow-browed Warbler was at Fife Ness Muir with 43 Black-tailed Godwits at Letham Pools. Early morning at East Wemyss on the 21st saw 30 Mediterranean Gulls and a Little Gull present and that evening the number of Mediterranean Gulls rose to 40 with an adult Roseate Tern for company. At Ferry Hills a Great Northern Diver and 58 Red-throated Divers were seen, Kinghorn had six Little Gulls and a Curlew Sandpiper was on the Stinky Pool at Fife Ness.

The next day the Curlew Sandpiper had relocated to Balcomie Beach and the adult Roseate Tern was still showing well at the gull roost at Back Dykes, East Wemyss. At least seven Curlew Sandpipers and eight Ruff were viewable from the Eden Centre on the 23rd with the Roseate Tern at East Wemyss. Two Twite were seen at Dalgety Bay on the 24th with three Roseate Terns at East Wemyss and 21 Mediterranean Gulls at West Wemyss. A juvenile Long-tailed Skua was at Ferry Hills with 12 Sooty Shearwaters seen at Fife Ness. Six Curlew Sandpipers were at Guardbridge and eight were noted at the Eden Centre the next day with a Spotted Redshank whiletwo Roseate Terns were still at East Wemyss and another Spotted Redshank was at Letham Pools. The 26th was a memorable day at East Wemyss with the hundred barrier broken for the first time when 105 Mediterranean Gulls were counted in the evening. Two Roseate Terns were seen there earlier in the day with three Ruff at Anstruther and five Whooper Swans at Angle Park GP. There was another record-breaking count at East Wemyss roost on the 27th with an incredible 129 Mediterranean Gulls present. At Fife Ness c45 Little Gulls were seen and a Marsh Harrier was at Letham Pools. A Balearic Shearwater was off Fife Ness on the 28th with 16 Sooty Shearwaters, a Pomarine Skua and 232 Little Gulls also seen. Four Sooty Shearwaters, a Pomarine Skua and 20 Little Gulls were noted off St Andrews and nearby on the Eden Estuary a Curlew Sandpiper was seen. Mediterranean Gull numbers dropped to 35 at East Wemyss from the record number the previous day but still a good count. Further west 13 Mediterranean Gulls were seen between Seafield and Dysart with four Little Gulls off Seafield.

Another epic day of seawatching at Fife Ness on the 29th resulted in a Great Shearwater, 885 Manx Shearwaters, 68 Sooty Shearwaters, three Long-tailed Skuas and three Sabine’s Gulls all being seen. Yellow-browed Warblers were at Fife Ness Muir, Lower Kilminning, Wormiston and Hammer Inn, Crail with a Common Rosefinch being reported in St Andrews. A Pomarine and a Long-tailed Skua were off Fife Ness on the last day of the month with three Sooty Shearwaters past Anstruther, an impressive 487 Little Gulls at Kinghorn and seven Curlew Sandpipers reported at Edenside.

Information supplied courtesy of Malcolm Ware