On Tuesday (the first full day) we set out to do the 'chain walk.' A walk which runs along the coastline. It's called the chain walk because for some parts of the walk a chain is required to walk (climb) along, up and down the narrow 'paths' cut into the cliff. The walk is near a village called Earlsferry. The beach was full of Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Redshank and Curlew. A Greenshank flew over and we saw lots of Common and Sandwich Tern with small numbers of Arctic. A lone Wheatear patrolled the beach in amongst a large flock of Starling. Whilst doing the chain walk it was hard to look for birds but there were plenty of Eider offshore along with a Goosander. On the way back to the house we stopped in Pittenweem where a Great Skua caught, killed and ate a Herring Gull offshore!
Wednesday wasn't spent birding, however in the evening there was some passage over the house whilst having a barbecue. 2 Ospreys, 5 Swifts, a Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk went high over (raptors NW, Swifts SE). However the Ospreys were probably just commuting between the Eden Estuary and a breeding site as one was carrying a large flat fish.
Thursday was a rather packed day. It started with ringing in the garden. This was from around 6am to 12pm. We got over 70 birds which were mainly Chaffinches. We also got a Willow Warbler, a Blackcap, quite a few Blackbirds, 2 Song Thrush and Great-Spotted Woodpecker. We tried tape luring Meadow Pipits but they didn't go into the nets (some did investigate the tapes). 'Mipits' were passing through throughout the morning and a single Tree Pipit went over to the south. We all then went for a walk along the coast near Tayport, on the Tay estuary. It was full of birds. The highlights were; 3 Ospreys, 700+ Sandwich Tern, 300+ Common Tern, 5+ Arctic Tern, c330 Bar-Tailed Godwit, 1 Black-Tailed Godwit, 6 Greenshank, 5 Wigeon, 5 Red-Breasted Merganser, 6 Goosander, 100+ Teal, 2 Snipe and lots of Redshank, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Lapwing and Dunlin. There was also a Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillar in the dunes.
|Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillar|
On the 25th we visited Shell Bay and Rudden's Point. We went down onto the rocky shore looking for birds and invertebrates. We found both. The life in the rock pools was brilliant, many fish, crabs species, squat lobsters, brittle stars, starfish, etc. The highlight of the day was an immature Black Guillemot just off the rocks, this is pretty rare for the east coast and not what we'd expected in the Firth of Forth (interestingly this was the only auk of the whole trip). Down on the rocks were quite a few Sandwich and Common Tern as well as Redshanks. A Ruff, 4 Whimbrel and 3 Knot flew past us. As we moved off the rocky shore we headed back to the carpark along the clifftop close to where we had done the chain walk. Down at the cliff base there was a pair of Grey Wagtails. There was some sense of passage on the clifftop with a Whinchat, Juvenile Stonechat, Willow Warbler, Wheatear and Meadow Pipits. As well as these there was a lot of hirundine passage with flocks of Sand and House Martins, Swallows and 17 Swifts.
In the morning we went to Scotland's Secret Bunker (where there obviously weren't many birds). After this we went to Pittenweem for a walk along the coast towards St Monans. When we got out of the car I saw a Juvenile Herring Gull with a metal ring, I managed to get close enough to read the code. On the rocky shore there was a fantastic (flighty) loose flock of 300+ Golden Plover. As well as these there were many Redshank, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Turnstone, 2 Dunlin and 4 Lapwing. Feeding in the pools were 5+ Grey Heron. Terns were moving offshore with a lot of Common and Sandwich and at least 7 Arctic. Back in Pittenweem a small gull roost formed with a juvenile colour ringed Herring Gull and Great-Black Backed Gull and a metal ringed adult Herring Gull, all of which I managed to read (the colour rings more easily than the metal)!
Saturday ended a great week of birding in great company!
|Herring Gull 'X:130'|
|Metal ringed Herring Gull|
|Great Blac-Backed Gull 'X:099'|