Sunday, 31 March 2013

Easter Sunday

Inverkeithing quiet this morning with not much movement. A few Linnet were around and Little and Great Crested Grebe still present. A half hour at Cullaloe provided some movement in the form of 18 Pinkfeet and a couple of Mipit. Curlew and Jay made it onto the year list too (+2=>57 species). Not to be outdone, Hill of Beath fought back with a flock of Greylags and a male Pochard on Keirsbeath drainage pond (+2=>63 species). Will Cullaloe ever catch up? If it doesn't, it's going to be a good year for Hill of Beath!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Good Friday

Took a quick look around Dalbeath Marsh LNR with a spot of vismigging from the top of the hill, and was rewarded with some Pinkies and a couple of Whooper Swan. Shame this is the only one of three patches that I've already recorded Whooper Swan on this year, but I'm not complaining!

Later in the day I took a trip out to the East Neuk with fellow vismigging enthusiasts Chris and Clive, but further attempts to connect with Whoopers weren't answered by the vismigging gods. Lovely day, though.

Elie Ness watchpoint from Kincraig Point
Ruddon's Point - tail of the trees
Northbound Common Gulls
Eider Flypast (thanks Clive!)
Bass Rock - not yet white with Gannets

Thursday, 28 March 2013


Finally some Greylag movement at Inverkeithing. Only 2, but 2 will do for the moment. Another overnight snow in HOB prevented cycling to work, but the skies were quite clear elsewhere. Still easterlies and still cold though. Very low tide, too. Not much else of interest around it seems. Winter bird numbers continue to reduce leaving the water quite empty. Didn't see Grebes of any kind this morning.

At last GJ on the list

Boat loading behind mega-preening moulting BH Gulls

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Tired of snow

Another snowy morning. Dropped into Dalbeath Marsh for a few minutes on the way to work. Nothing exciting - just the regulars there

More winter

Moorhen out and about

As bored of snow as me probably

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

That's enough snow, thanks

More snow this morning. Managed half an hour off the coastal path at Inverkeithing - Slav Grebe still present in the harbour area - before snow forced me back to the car. Drive around to the south of the harbour while it was snowing and tried to get closer to it for a pic. Snow eased off finally. Then headed up above the quarry, where a Raven and a Peregrine were having a bit of a tiff. Camera refused to focus on them as they squabbled but I managed a too-dark shot of the Peregrine anyway. No time to adjust the camera, sadly.

Monday, 25 March 2013


Ready for serious surveying work ...

Happy, but feeling sheepish

Skipped out of work for a bit, checked St.David's harbour close in but failed to find Phalarope. Then had the good fortune to bump into a couple of people already on the bird in the bay and got some nice views of it in flight flitting back and forth. That's the happy part.

The sheepish part? About that Knot I spotted briefly yesterday ... yeah, I know. I can live with it though.

(even worse, I only now realised that I had in mind Red-necked Phalarope, and so this is actually a lifer! I should go to bed earlier if I'm going to get up so early)


"Grey Phalarope St.David's Harbour! NOW!"

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh! Wonder if I can pop out for a bit

Momentum at last

After complaining about the blank desert of the last month things started ticking along again yesterday. First a decision to head to Inverkeithing to see what the persistent easterlies might have provided which resulted in a double success of tricky species. i was surprised to see a handful of Puffin had shown up, and even more surprisingly a single Knot flew east past my coastal path watchpoint, making my second record. Puffin is certainly a tricky one, if expected at some point, but Knot is definitely a bonus bird.

After heading off to family business on the west coast I then received the text nobody wants to receive - Little Auk at Inverkeithing (St.David's Bay anyway, which is essentially the same thing). Missing a bird on your own patch when you can't get there is tough. I had half a mind that there might be some and I had peered through every wave trough, although the tide was quite low at the time. Would have been a patch tick, too.

Never mind - I was able to head out there this morning again and grill the waves once more. Still no faceless wonder auk on the surface nor bee-like forms zipping over the white horses. C'est la vie. What I did find though was my first Slav Grebe for the site, which will do just nicely. Rock solid bonus bird and nudging a bit towards my year target with a site tick too. There was a collection of the other auks, though, and some nice Kittiwakes and Fulmars scudding about. A couple of auk casualties also were floating about on the surface, attracting the attention of the gulls.

I also managed to pick up a Grey Wag yesterday at Cullaloe, just to get things moving again.Should be looking at Chiffchaff by now. In the snow it's hard to believe we'll probably be knee deep in them in a week or so.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Warm and cosy

That's what it was in my bed this morning. Shame to spoil it by going outside. Horrible, icy wind and no chance of seriously going birding.

Managed to drop into Cullaloe LNR on the way home from work last night, where there appeared to have been a "fall" of Song Thrush.There were 13 at least feeding in muddy pasture with a couple of Blackbirds, and others in the trees. At least one of them looked to be extremely bright white underneath. No idea yet whether is of any significance, but I did fail in an epic way to get a photo as it bolted before I could get focus.Only ecollection I have is of darker Song Thrushes rather than lighter, and the chocolate Hebridean ones.

Yesterday saw the first inverkeithing addition in a month, while this Cullaloe visit cemented a whole month without a new addition (while some notable absentees remain obstinately absent).

Lunchtime Hill of Beath, with its famous hawthorn

Thrush cafe

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

New tick at last

These cold easterly winds and snow at last uncovered something to add to the stagnating year list - a Guillemot. Still, it's better than nothing. A lot of Turdus feeding in the muddy grass, a couple of Pied Wags, and a developing pool system on the old grounds f the demolished paper mill


Worm worrier

Song Thrush

ON their way through or arrived?

Demolished Mill Pools

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

There's no Business like Snow Business

Had to take a couple of inches of snow off the car this morning but decided rather than go back to bed after paternal taxi duty to brave the elements and see if the weather had produced anything interesting in the Divit.

Conditions were tricky and viewing out over the water wasn't the best, but the harbour produced some nice birds. As I tucked in against a fence out of the wind and snow and stalked a roost to snap a Turnstone (irregular in small numbers and possible passage bird at this time of year) which was roosting with the Redshank I saw a couple of Little Grebe heading for me. Normally they're pretty shy here, so it was nice to stay still and allow them to get nice and close. Shame about the lack of light, as I would have loved the photos to have had less noise.

No sign of any Goldeneye or Teal this morning, nor Dunlin, although to be fair I couldn't really see well across the harbour and there may have been some there. There was, however, a RT Diver, which is I think only the second of the year - surprisingly low number I think. This bird is also presumably on its way north. Only a matter of time before Sand martin, Whimbrel, Common Sand, Garganey, Hoopoe ...

Turnstone record shot

Flushed from across the harbour by ... something

RT Diver - seem scarcer this year

Dabchick duo


Monday, 18 March 2013


More rain. Sigh.

Managed a quick habitat survey for BBS over the weekend. Already knew the area well, so no surprises really. Also since the square is at the corner of my Hill of Beath patch I managed to beef up that square's species count. Nothing unexpected, though. Just glad to find a window of dryness to get out at all.

Dalbeath Marsh Tufties were reduced to 2 pairs yesterday. A Dabchick was mooching around in the open - first time I've actually seen it.

Oh! And took the number of Birdtrack records for the year for Hill of Beath to over 1000!!

Friday, 15 March 2013

What's happening with the Linnets?

So far this year I have recorded only 2 Linnet from my vismig point at Inverkeithing. I should have been seeing them all month. Last autumn the numbers were way down on 2011, as the charts below show. No sign of returning breeding Linnets on either Culloe or Hill of Beath, although that may not be a surprise yet. But something's not quite right here.

Going back further, trek totals for Linnet 1-15th March:

2013 (6)
2012 (600)
2011 (13800)
2010 (19100)

October-November 2011

October-November 2012

March 1-14, 2012

March 1-14, 2013 - 6 birds!!!

Birdtrack chart - % of complete lists featuring Linnet

Bizarrely the Birdtrack chart for Linnet also looks remarkably like the boa digesting an elephant from The Little Prince