Trip reports

Group Outing

Curlew standing on weed, County Cork, Ireland
RSPB

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

A windy day had been forecast, and that was what we got! 47 species were seen, a respectable day's birding considering the conditions.
Passing Loch Leven en route to St Andrews, straggling lines of flocks of pink-footed geese were seen. In St Andrews, birds in the bushes beside West Sands Road, included robin, blackbird, jackdaw, rook, carrion crow, starling and house sparrow. Geoff picked out a number of red-throated divers on the sea, and we added cormorant, and both common and velvet scoter. On the shore were black-headed, herring and great black-backed gulls, while, in the dunes, were meadow pipit, pied wagtail and dunnock.
Reaching Outhead we had a treat. Dave & Sam spotted 4 snow buntings, and we all managed to get sight of these restless birds, showing up well in the sun. Another treat at this point was a group of 28 pale-bellied Brent geese, feeding at the water's edge. Turning to walk up the Eden Estuary we faced the full force of the wind. However, we managed excellent views of several Slavonian grebe, in addition to eider, long-tailed duck, oystercatcher, black-tailed godwit and curlew. As the amount of wind-blown sand increased we decided to head for Guardbridge, pausing to scan the rocks at the town end of The Sands, adding common gull to our list.
After lunching in the park, in more sheltered conditions, we continued our birding from the comfortable Eden Estuary LNR hide. This gives views over the inner end of the estuary, and we saw a flock of greylag geese, shelduck, mallard, teal, goldeneye, common buzzard, lapwing (our only plover of the day), redshank, woodpigeon, and a flock of small waders in the distance that had the JIZZ of dunlin. On feeders beside the hide were great, coal and blue tits, chaffinch and greenfinch. Having left the hide, we scanned the river from the bridge, and were delighted to find 7 little grebes directly below us, and 4 grey herons on the bank. On the opposite side of the bridge, looking up-river, we added mute swan, and had close views of a hunting kestrel.
We decided to call it a day and go home to wash the sand out our hair! Some of us did manage a short detour in Auchtermuchty to view a field of about 70 whooper swans.