May saw my Standard Grade (GCSEs) exams at large, so birding was rather limited that month. However the birding was of very good quality, with a nice variety of species seen.
12th: A rather quiet day at the usual coastal locations. The Ythan produced 7 Little Terns at the ternery, my first of the year, and 3 Whimbrel. Strathbeg produced the highlight of the day, with a delightful total of three drake Garganey on the Low Ground. Otherwise it was quiet here, with 7 Black-tailed Godwits being the best of a minimal amount of passage waders.
14th: One of two of our yearly pilgrimages to Deeside took place on the 14th. Dinnet Oakwoodlands didn’t produce any Wood Warblers – it appears they have recently become no longer reliable at this site. 4 singing male Redstarts made up for this to an extent. but brief views were managed of only one. Also providing entertainment here was a Red Kite east over, 2 flushed Woodcocks, a pair of Common Sandpipers on the River Dee and a Garden Warbler. A stop at the Forest of Birse continued the entertainment, with at least 10 Tree Pipits present – it was great to see them thriving – a Cuckoo, and tons of Willow Warblers (at least 20) . A refreshing and rewarding change from coastal birding.
21st: A brilliant day’s birding on the coast, starting with my second drake King Eider sighting of the year at the Ythan. It was far too distant for photos, but prolonged views were had of this magnificent duck through the scope and unlike previously it showed its full self rather than spending its time roosting. We bombed up to Strathbeg for a couple of Avocets, a regional (and Scottish) scarcity. On arrival the two Avocets were showing very well from the Visitor Centre, a Scottish tick for me and an absolute delight to see; they have a timeless elegance. Also providing entertainment here was a cracking summer plumage Curlew Sandpiper, singles of Marsh Harrier and Osprey, and a brief staying Little Stint I got onto as it flew onto the Low Ground – it stayed for no more than 20 minutes. We ended the day at Rattray Head, with 4 Manx Shearwaters being my first of the year.
28th : Local birding was at its best, with both an Avocet and a Pectoral Sandpiper sharing Rigifa Pool just south of Aberdeen. Particularly good views were had of the Pectoral Sandpiper, which showed down to 70ft. Towards the end of our visit, the two birds fed together, which was pretty awesome to say the least (pictured below) ! Just a week earlier I hadn’t seen Avocet in the region before; by 28th three different indivdiuals had been seen which was fantastic. The entertaining birding continued with 2 drake Garganey showing fantastically from the Visitor Centre at Strathbeg, with a nice supporting cast of 4 Little Gulls which included a stonking summer plumaged bird and 2 Ospreys. To finish off a good month’s birding, an Arctic Skua offshore at Rattray Head was new for the year.
Thanks for reading,