News archive

September 2021

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Unusual number of butterflies for the time of year?

Unusual number of butterflies for the time of year?

On a walk along the coast from Montrose to St. Cyrus on 29 September one of our members reported a surprising number of butterflies - seven species: small white, small copper, painted lady, red admiral, peacock, small tortoiseshell and a common blue in very good condition, so maybe it is from a second brood, which is normal in the south but also occasionally happens here apparently.

Thursday, 30 September 2021

First group outing for 18 months

First group outing for 18 months

Despite Covid related resptrictions the 10 people who met up at Bridge Street, Balmossie were delighted to see each other again on a lovely warm , sunny day, albeit with a strong southerly wind.
With the tide quite well out there were plenty of gulls, including 2 lesser black-backs, and hundreds of waders. Bar-tailed godwits, dunlin, sanderling, ringed plover, knot and redshank were there in good numbers. Out in the Tay estuary were red-breasted mergansers, eiders, wigeon, gannets and a single goosander and sandwich tern. Flying over Tentsmuir forest in the distance a late osprey was sighted. The odd phenomena of 'wrecks' of guillemots and razorbills that has occurred this autumn was also evident here as it was all the way up the Angus coast.
Next stop was East Haven where we walked around the coastal houses seeing some smaller passerines including tree sparrow, yellowhammer and reed bunting. In the field to the south of the settlement two raptors were spotted, a kestrel and a sparrow hawk. Walking back along the beach there was evidence of visible migration with small groups of swallows, house martins, skylarks and meadow pipits passing over on their way south. A snipe flew onto the rocky foreshore and nearby a 2nd winter Mediterranean gull was spotted.
There was little new to see at Arbroath Esplanade although there were several rock pipits and, out at sea, a red-throated diver.
It was 12pm and the group was starting to get hungry. We made our way up to Auchmithie where we had lunch sitting in the sun, on the playing field by the car park. Once sated we moved down the track towards the harbour. Lots of red admiral butterflies were on the buddleias and a pair of stonechats were near the harbour. In the distance a peregrine was spotted. We walked back through the village and along the cliffs to Castlesea Bay. Three grey partridges were seen in the fields and 2 painted lady butterflies. From the cliffs shags and kittiwakes were seen and Keith was lucky enough to spot an arctic skua on its way north. Back in the gardens in the gully at Auchmithie there were more butterflies and a chiffchaff that was heard but not seen.
Our final stop was back at Carnoustie where distant views were had of common scoter.. By now it was after 3pm and we decided to call it a day. It had been a great experience getting together again after such a long period of time. 69 species of birds were seen. As to migrants ? Well here's to next time!!

Bird list:
Bridge Street - herring gull, black-headed gull, eider, mute swan, wigeon, wood pigeon, bar-tailed god wit, redshank, carrion crow, oystercatcher, ringed plover, red-breasted merganser, razorbill, dunlin, starling, common gull, turnstone, greater black-backed gull, cormorant, sanderling, gannet, knot, curlew, guillemot, sandwich tern, lesser black-backed gull, goo sander, pied wagtail, feral pigeon, magpie, osprey, house sparrow, collared dove.
East Haven - goldfinch, linnet, rook, yellowhammer, skylark, robin, song thrush, dunnock, reed bunting, swallow, kestrel, sparrow hawk, meadow pipit, snipe, mediterranean gull, grey heron, house martin, greenfinch, stock dove.
Arbroath Esplanade - rock pipit, shag, red-throated diver, jackdaw.
Auchmithie - blackbird, buzzard, blue tit, stonechat, peregrine, grey partridge, wren, kittiwake, arctic skua, great tit, chiffchaff(heard).
Carnoustie - common scoter.

Monday, 13 September 2021

Guillemots and razorbills on the River Tay

Guillemots and razorbills on the River Tay

There have been numerous reports of guillemots and razorbills coming much further up the Tay than usual.
Large groups have been seen on the water between Tentsmuir and St Andrews by kayakers. And swimmers have found themselves amongst them at St Andrews East Sands. Both species have also been seen in Tayport and Wormit Bay coming very close into the shore.
Large numbers have been seen close in along the coast too which is unusual in good weather, with some washing up dead, reportedly mostly emaciated juveniles. No-one seems to be sure why this is happening although one report from local paddle boarders is that they have been seeing many more herring in the river even as far up as the old ferry terminus in Newport. Why the herring would be coming up river is another question.