Sightings March 2020

The month commenced with a Greenshank at St Andrews, a Norwegian ringed plus four unringed Scandinavian Rock Pipits on the shore at Cellardyke and seven Brent Geese seen from the Eden Estuary Centre (1st) then 21 of this species were also seen there the next day. Newburgh hosted three Ravens, two Peregrines and a Sparrowhawk, a foray to West Lomond produced c30 Snow Buntings and a gull roost off Cambo held four Mediterranean Gulls (two adults and two third calendar year) (2nd) while a second winter bird was at Buckhaven the next day. A Nuthatch was discovered in Blairhall (3rd). A Long-eared Owl was heard at Kilmany, a party of around ten Bearded Tits were spied at Mugdrum Island, a Green Woodpecker was noted at Den of Lindores and the Black-necked Grebe continued its residence at Elie Bay (4th) and was seen again the next day along with 17 Red-throated Divers, four Common Scoters, seven Long-tailed Ducks, c45 Razorbills and five Velvet Scoters (5th). Snow Buntings were seen again at West Lomond, this time a party of 20, while East Lomond hosted two pairs of Red Grouse and a pair of Stonechats then five Waxwings were reported flying over the Cullaloe Hills. Back at ground level a Chiffchaff turned up at Dalgety Bay. Raptor reports included an immature Marsh Harrier, two Peregrines and eight Buzzards at Newburgh, a ringtail Hen Harrier at Blairadam Forest (6th) then a ringtail was also noted the following day at Loch Glowwhere there were also two Lesser Redpolls and one Common Redpoll (7th).

Reports from freshwater sites included five Dabchicks at Newton Farm, two Dabchicks and two Goosanders at Linkswood Pond, eight Dabchicks, nine Canada Geese, 30 Teal, 26 Tufted Ducks, 17 Goldeneyes, 13 Coots, 60 Black-headed Gulls, and three Skylarks in song at Newton Quarry. Sightings at Morton Lochs NNR included six Dabchicks, 50 Teal, 17 Wigeon, 26 Mallards, 22 Tufted Ducks, two Gadwalls and 19 Coots as well as one Kestrel. A busy day continued with an adult Mediterranean Gull at Dysart and two Little Egrets and 18 Whooper Swans seen from the Eden Estuary Centre (8th). the redhead Smew was seen again at Lochore Meadows CP where there were also five Gadwalls (9th). Elie’s Black-necked Grebe was seen again (10th). A Sandwich Tern joined it (13th) and the grebe was seen again the next day when a female Scaup was seen at Kilconquhar Loch and an adult Mediterranean Gull was on primary school playing field at Leven (14th).

An adult Mediterranean Gull flew past Dysart and a first winter bird was at Levenmouth. A Snow Bunting and a female Merlin were at Balcomie Beach, a Brambling was at Camilla Loch, a Green Woodpecker was at Devilla Forest and two Waxwings were in Dunfermline (15th). A second winter Mediterranean Gull was at the customary Buckhaven haunt (16th). The two Waxwings were seen again in Dunfermline and a Red Kite flew over Coaltown of Balgonie (17th). Culross had its first singing Chiffchaff of the year, a Glenrothes garden had a Blackcap on a feeder and a Sand Martin arrived at Mountcastle GP where there was also a Pochard. A female Merlin flew over Redwells Wood and the two Waxwings were showing well in Dunfermline (18th) and were seen again the next day. Lochore Meadows CP continued to host the redhead Smew and a Green Sandpiper dropped in. Elie’s Black-necked Grebe was joined by a Red-throated Diver and seven Razorbills. The beach at Cellardyke held two littoralis Rock Pipits and off Leven there were 15 Slavonian Grebes, 22 Long-tailed Ducks and two Black-throated Divers. Another coastal report, this time from Lower Largo, comprised 24 Slavonian Grebes, 340 Velvet Scoters, 19 Red-throated Divers, 48 Red-breasted Mergansers, ten Long-tailed Ducks and 18 Razorbills. There were also two Little Egrets and a Chiffchaff at Tayport (19th). Two Grey Partridges were seen feeding near to a building site at Inverkeithing, seven Barnacle Geese flew over Kirkcaldy and there were 30 Brent Geese at Balgove Bay. A pair of Kestrels were at Lower Largo where offshore there were four Slavonian Grebes and two Black-Throated Divers. The two Waxwings lingered in Dunfermline (20th) and were also there the following day. Seawatching from Fife Ness produced 146 Razorbills, 40 Kittiwakes and five Common Scoters. A first winter Glaucous Gull was discovered in a field near Strathmiglo and an immature Marsh Harrier was seen again at Newburgh. Chiffchaff sightings included singles at Lochore Meadows CP (where the redhead Smew remained), Cullaloe LNR, Wormit and Auchtermuchty with two noted at Kilmany (21st).

Then single Chiffchaffs were reported from Balmullo, the Eden Estuary Centre, Townhill and Moss Plantation. A different warbler, a Blackcap, was on a feeder in a Kirkcaldy garden, c60 Fieldfares were at Auchtermuchty’s Broombrae Farm and 21 Whooper Swans were spied in the bay at Culross. Green Woodpeckers were seen at Bathmoor Plantation (where a Tawny Owl was calling) and at Lochornie where there was also a Raven. A Red Kite flew over Loch Gelly, 34 Brent Geese flew past Guardbridge, and the Dunfermline Waxwings remained in place(22nd). A party of ten Canada Geese flew north over Kirkcaldy, a Chiffchaff was at Windygates and there were also four at Ferry Hills where a Sand Martin appeared (23rd) then two of this species were noted at Bathmoor Plantation. As the lockdown kicked in, observers started to focus on species seen overhead and in gardens as well as from houses and during local walks e.g. Dunfermline produced three Canada Geese south, a singing Chiffchaff, a Sparrowhawk and a Buzzard. There were also Chiffchaffs at Pitlair Park, Cairneyhill (24th) and Moss Plantation. A report from Kinghorn included 20 Eiders, nine Common Scoters, five Long-tailed Ducks, 585 Kittiwakes, one Little Gull and 155 Herring Gulls past. Torryburn Pools hosted 12 Snipe, 60+ Oystercatchers, 24 Curlews, 34 Shelducks, a Bar-tailed Godwit and six Lapwings displaying (25th). A Tawny Owl was calling at Lochmill and a Chiffchaff was singing near Hillend (26th). A Green Woodpecker was calling at Culross, an Osprey flew north over Dunfermline and one was also seen, with a fish, at Lochmill. A second calendar year Iceland Gull was at the mouth of Kenly Water at Kingsbarns where five Twite were in the dunes and two flocks of this species (20/30 in each flock) were recorded at Bow of Fife’s Pitlair Park. A male Ring Ouzel was seen on the south side of East Lomond. Checking of the skies over our towns produced two Ravens over Kirkcaldy (28th) and a Red Kite also over the Lang Toun whilst an Osprey continued its journey over Burntisland then a Short-eared Owl, a Peregrine, a displaying Sparrowhawk and a Cormorant over Dunfermline. Two Ravens were in trees at Pitlair Park and c25 Twite were at Kingsbarns (29th). More fly-overs included an Osprey over Coaltown of Wemyss, a Peregrine over Aberdour and, more unusually, an  adult Spoonbill over Dunfermline. At ground level, the first Willow Warbler report of the year came from the Rabbit Braes area of Kirkcaldy where there were also six Chiffchaffs. Wheatears turned up at at Randerston and Balcomie Beach as well as Cambo where there was also a Sand Martin (30th). The last day of the month produced a Mediterranean Gull over Aberdour, a Blackcap singing on The Binn and, to end an unusual month with a flourish, there was not only a Green Woodpecker but also a Nuthatch at Balbirnie Park (31st).

Information supplied courtesy of Malcolm Ware and Graham Sparshott