Trip reports

Field Trip - Dornoch Firth

Little ringed plover wading in shallow water

Saturday, 29 February 2020

The forecast looked ominous, but Saturday dawned dry and reasonably bright, 14 group members arrived, wrapped up warmly and eager for a day's birding.
Our first port of call was a large layby close to Evanton. Not a wonderful spot due to the passing traffic, but on this occasion well worth the inconvenience. The light was very good so we could see a good number of ducks and waders, masses of shelduck, wigeon, a good flock of lapwing, some curlew, redshank, and even a skylark singing away, if it wasn't for the constant traffic we could have stayed longer, but it was decided to press on to the Mound.
The weather continued to improve, there were flocks of greylag and pink-footed geese spotted on our drive and at the Mound, little grebe, golden-eye and a very vocal bullfinch.
Next we drove to the large layby at Loch Fleet, again the light was excellent, lots of beached seals, knot, dunlin, a few bar-tailed godwit, a slavonian grebe and red breasted meganzers. Again many shelduck and in the field nearby some red-legged partridge.
We lunched by the jetty at Embo and were treated to good views of long tailed ducks, a distant, but massive raft of common scoter, plenty of eider and some of the sharper eyes in the group spotted red throated divers. After eating our lunch we walked round to the jetty and were just in time to see waders on the rocks, purple sandpiper, sanderling, ringed plover, turnstone and even 2 brent geese were spotted. When we got back to the cars, the sanderling and purple sandpipers had come round to the rocks close by so we got even better views!
We were having an excellent day, the next plan was to walk out to Dornoch point, but the wind had become quite strong, so the plans were revised and it was decided to visit the shoreline in Tain instead. The tide had just beaten us, but we still got views of pintails, teal and at the pond, moorhen a mute swan and quite a selection of small birds.
It had been an excellent day, l haven't mentioned all the species spotted but we had some great views with lots of birds in every location.
Total count of species for the day was 64.