RSPB Outing 7th September – Blackdog Beach

people birdwathcing on a beach
Blackdog – Glorious Weather for Birding – image c/o Belinda Miller

On Thursday 7th September 13 of our members managed to negotiate their way through the convoluted diversion of the Kirkwood Homes site to the car park.

The weather was exceptional for early September, not only was it warm but the sea was calm which made scanning for birds on the sea a lot easier.

We proceeded through the gates in the new fence and down the slope to the dunes close to the southern edge of the Blackdog Rifle Range. The main targets were sea ducks and waders. On the way down, there were plenty of crows, a few wood pigeons and a reed bunting which obligingly sat on top of some reeds and most of the group managed to get decent views

We carried on towards the beach descending the dunes beside the south rifle range tower to avoid the pool of water. Scanning the sea there were plenty of guillemots, a few razorbills, eiders and over 1000 common scoters but despite every effort, we could not find any velvet or surf scoters. We were also treated to fly-bys of gannets, red-throated divers, common terns, teal, wigeon, Canada geese, turnstones, and a couple of fulmars.

Knot – image c/o Keith Yates
Bar Tailed Godwith – image c/o Keith Yates
Canada Geese – image C/o Keith Yates

As we made our way south along the beach, we were saddened to see over 50 dead guillemots which had probably succumbed to avian flu and been brought in by the last high tide.

Apart from the birds out at sea, the best area for birds was the rocky shores beside the Blackdog Rock and the other area nearer Aberdeen. The most abundant waders were oystercatchers and sanderlings with a couple of curlews, a few bar-tailed godwits and about 20 knot.

After about a couple of hours, we retraced our steps and seven of the group stayed on top of the dunes to have their lunch and enjoy the beautiful day as the weather had improved, before heading off.

A good day was had by all and who would have believed that in September on the coast north of Aberdeen that three of our members would be in shorts, well two turned up in shorts and a third had to be persuaded, let’s just call him Keith. Another successful outing.

Thanks to Rob Leslie for leading and the write-up

Sanderling – image C/o Keith Yates