Friday, 7 March 2014

Scotland Journey Pt 2 - Kingdom Of Fife

A look out our Kinross hotel window at 7am revealed a wet and dreary morning but it was my birthday and we were heading east to the coast so my hopes were not dampened.
As we made our way down the A91 across Fife the weather cleared and we arrived at Morton Lochs in Tentsmuir Forest with blue sky and sunshine.
It was colder than it looked.
The sounds of Chaffinches and Tits filled the air as we headed to a feeding area hoping to see more Red Squirrel after our encounter at Kielder the previous day.
A near black squirrel ran across our path as we approached the feeders and after settling down and waiting it was only 5 minutes or so before another returned.
Mute Swans on Morton Lochs.
While watching the Mute Swans & Wigeon the wind picked up and out of nowhere a downpour of hail stones made us close the hide windows, but to no avail as the combination of strong wind and heavy hail pushed them through the gaps.
10 minutes later it was back to blue sky as if nothing had changed.

Leaving the Lochs we moved south to Guardbridge and the hide at Eden Estuary.
Tree Sparrows were joined on the feeders by Greenfinches, Siskins & Long Tailed Tits.
Long Tailed Tit
Herring Gulls calling from the river.
The river was lined with Curlews, Redshanks & Godwits.
A Curlew landed if front of the hide and strolled along piercing the mud with its bill searching for food.
It was then agitated by the presence of 2 Black-Headed Gulls and forcibly chased them off the shoreline.
Continuuing down the coast towards St.Andrews I saw a pair of Skylarks dancing on the wind before heading onto Crail.A few Eiders were scattered in the rough sea  as I looked across to the Isle Of May.
Gulls were fighting the winds and waves.
This young Herring Gull seemed to have caught its lunch in the form of a small octopus.
As our own lunchtime approached we headed to Anstruther and to their famous fish bar.Well worth the acclaim:)
A small walk across to the harbour and beach produced my 1st Rock Pipit of the year.
The coastal wind gave this Redshank a bad hair day.
The sea at Anstruther.
News of a female King Eider 15 minutes away at Ruddons Point in Largo Bay gave me a chance to see a bird I have never seen.
Unfortunately the weather had other plans as very strong stormy winds at Largo Bay made it difficult to stand never mind raise the binoculars to scan the crashing white tips for birds.
I did manage to spot a small raft of Eiders braving the stormy conditions though.

We left Largo Bay or more like blown away from and headed back to the hotel in Kinross.Before getting back north numerous skeins of geese totalling around 400 took flight from a field so we stopped the car and listened and watched them as they flew overhead.The noise was immense and breathtaking.
It was a mixture of Greylag Geese & Pink-Footed Geese.

Turning around from photographing the geese I realised I had another observer giving me the look that most of us get from non-wildlife lovers when photographing the natural world.
A great way to spend my birthday despite the mixture of weather, but its Scotland so you just need to change your clothes to fit the weather.:)
Total Bird List for trip-
39.Wren 40.Wigeon 41.Long Tailed Tit 42.Redshank 43.Curlew 44.Greater black Backed Gull 45.Tree Sparrow 46.Shelduck 47.Skylark 48.Eider(New for 2014) 49.Rock Pipit(New for 2014) 50.Black tailed Godwit(New for 2014) 51.Pink-Footed Geese(New for 2014)

Thanks again for reading through my trip.Sorry for posting 2 posts in one day but it means I can keep up now as long as I have internet connection in the Highlands:)

Tomorrow we head further north to Kenmore & Loch Tay before heading through Glencoe & Fort William.It may become more interesting than I want as snow is forecast for the morning:(

Will try and post tomorrow night for Day 3.

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