Friday, 27 December 2013

Northern Delights

Traditionally I spend Christmas with my in-laws near Aberdeen and this year was no exception. I try to get out birding at least once and yesterday I decided to give Peterhead a try. I've never been before and wasn't sure what to expect though a check of bird news covering the previous 9 days revealed a red-necked grebe to be in the area.

I arrived for first light as I had to be back for lunch time. It was crisp, clear and cold and eventually the sun hauled itself lazily into the sky above the eastern horizon. I was pleasantly surprised by the birds on offer - I soon found the red-necked grebe which showed well off a small pier; there were plenty of purple sandpipers about (I counted at least 17) and offshore a minimum of 18 long-tailed ducks, one group with a fem/ imm velvet scoter. A juv great northern diver was hanging out in the harbour with many red-throated offshore. Nearby a small estuary held a flock of lapwing, one bird leucistic and closely resembling one I saw in Cambs a number of years ago.

I stopped at nearby Boddam on the way home and was pleased with a slightly oiled 1st year Iceland gull and a photogenic 1st winter drake long-tailed duck. All in a all, a productive morning's birding!

Great black-backed gull

Great northern diver

Iceland gull

Iceland gull

leucistic lapwing

leucistic lapwing

long-tailed duck (1st w drake - nb bi-coloured bill)

Red-necked grebe


cormorants and shag

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