Yesterday I decided to take the bus up the coast and spend the day at the Ythan Estuary to see what was about. I was there by 10:30 and started at the mouth of the estuary, planning to work my way upstream as far as the Waterside Bridge car park. The mouth of estuary was the most active part of the estuary, with at least 30 Wigeon and 8 Red-breasted Mergansers present opposite the disused lifeboat station. On the wader front 50 Knot were taking the opportunity to feed as the tide went out, along with 8 Sanderlings and numerous Bar-tailed Godwits amongst the regular Oycs and Redshanks.
I wandered right up to the mouth to see if there were any gulls sitting on the beach, but was disappointed in this respect. A band of rain came over, so I took shelter in the dunes. As it brightened up a sign of spring was heard from a singing Skylark; the third I have heard (two were singing at Crimond Airfield last weekend 11/2/12) so far this month. I made my way back towards the beach, flushing a single Twite, and shortly afterwards was entertained by a group of 23 Pink-footed Geese heading northwards offshore and a Red-throated Diver. As I headed upstream, the birding became progressively quieter. Apart from the aforementioned waders and ducks (including another group of 15 Wigeon) nothing much else was seen save a single Little Grebe by Waterside Bridge, a lone Greylag Goose and two breeding plumage Cormorants; the latter which was particularly nice to see. The Ythan had yielded relatively little, so I headed home at around 2pm having completed my desired circuit.
Anyway, I thought I’d also share a few items of interest. Firstly, I found out a few days ago that the second winter Glaucous Gull I had and photographed at Fraserburgh last weekend (11/2/12) was a new bird which is great news; its good to know that there is yet another Glauc around up there this winter. Also a copy of the December 2011 (Volume 31, 4) of the Scottish Birds journal produced by the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club (SOC) arrived through the post last week. The journal contained both my photos of the Sandhill Crane at St Combs in an article written by the birder who found it. It is a great privilege to have had these photos published in this respected journal and I would like to thank the editor Harry Scott for his help in making this possible. The title image has also appeared in Stuart Winter’s column in the Sunday Express (9th October 2011) for which I recieved £75, and was Photo of the Week on Birdguides. The second image appeared in the local Evening Express newspaper (28th September 2011). The images as they appear in Scottish Birding are below (apologies for quality, taken in bad light!). Finally, I thought I’d share a few ‘different’ pics from the last few weeks, including an ‘interesting’ gull at Fraserburgh last week.
Thanks for reading,