With the appearance of the White winged Scoter in Aberdeenshire last weekend, I was keen to head up for it as my last lifer was back in April last year, 14 months ago!!
I made a quick detour on the way up, for a Bittern which had turned up at North Cave this afternoon, a site tick for me. I'd made enquiries about the gate being left open for me as I knew I'd be arriving late, luckily there was another birder still in the hide when I arrived and was able to point me in the general area it had been seen. Almost immediately, the bird poked it's head up above the reeds, seemingly agitated by the Grey Herons flying into roost(?). After a short while, I headed off as I had a 7 hour drive ahead of me and wanted to be on site for first light.
Saturday 2nd July
Aberdeenshire on a sunny morning
Didn't quite make it for first light as it didn't really get dark all night on my journey north! I arrived at Murcar Golf Course just after 5 and headed out towards the beach, joining the small crowd, I was put on the WHITE-WINGED SCOTER (496 BOU/205). It was a really tricky bird to get on because of the constantly moving flock of Velvet Scoters (206), Common Scoter and Eider, but when you did, it did actually stand out from the rest of the birds.
White winged Scoter (centre bird)
With the target bird in the bag, I thought I'd try for the resident King Eider on the Ythan estuary, but despite searching for an hour or so, there was no sign. Plenty of Arctic Terns (207), in the colony along with Common, Sandwich and a few Little Terns. It later turned out that the King Eider had moved down the coast to join the White-winged Scoter at Murcar.
Seal colony at the mouth of the Ythan
Sunday 3rd July
A family day out to Bridlington, gave me a bonus year tick with Yellow legged Gull (208) on the beach, south of the harbour.