Kilconquhar Loch and Largo Bay

We gathered at Guardbridge on a beautiful sunny but chilly morning and initially spent some time in the hide. The tide was out and there were lots of shelduck, curlew, redshank and oystercatchers as well as some larger flocks of dunlin in the distance and a few black-tailed godwits. Also, lots of guls, mostly black-headed but some herring and common and at least one lesser black-backed. Swimming up the channel past the hide came several goldeneyes and mallards, while those with ‘eagle eyes’ managed to spot a little egret in a distant ditch. On the feeders either side of the hide we saw tree sparrows, a dunnock, wren and robin plus several blue tits while a goldfinch twittered in the trees above. It was decided that we should stop off at Cameron reservoir next to look for a smew that had been seen there. On the way we spotted a flock of whooper swans feeding in a field. Sure enough, once we got to the reservoir, after a bit of searching with the telescopes, a beautiful male smew was spotted amongst the wigeon, tufted ducks and goldeneye. This was the first I’d ever seen and, although it was quite distant, I was very pleased to be able to watch this beautiful duck for some time through my telescope.We moved on to Kilconquhar and were greeting almost immediately by the sight of a pair of great-crested grebes doing their courtship dance: copying each other’s movements, rising up out of the water face-to-face and passing ‘presents’ of vegetation to each other. While here a very friendly robin arrived in the bush next to us and, after watching us for a while, decided to fly down and snatch a worm within a few inches of our feet! All the while a greenfinch was singing lustily in a nearby tree. Other species seen on the loch were little grebe, coot and moorhen. We headed off to Lower Largo, our usual lunch time stop with plenty of parking space……unfortunately the rest of Fife seemed to have decided to go there too, probably because of the sunny weather, and we struggled to find parking spaces for all our cars. We sat looking over the sea at common scoter, eider, a red-throated diver, and, further out, some long-tailed ducks and razorbills. We then drove to Shell Bay and had a lovely walk round to Ruddon’s Point. We added a few more species to our list here – linnet, red-breasted merganser and rock pipit, but mostly we just enjoyed the beautiful weather and scenery.

Species seen: Guardbridge: carrion crow, curlew, shelduck, tree sparrow, wren, dunnock, oystercatcher, cormorant, robin, black-tailed godwit, black-headed gull, herring gull, redshank, woodpigeon, magpie, dunlin, little egret, lesser black-backed gull, goldeneye, grey heron, common gull, teal, goldfinch, feral pigeon, blue tit, mallard, chaffinch, house sparrow.

Cameron reservoir: whooper swan, mute swan, rook, yellowhammer, smew, wigeon, tufted duck, goosander, blackbird.

Kilconquhar Loch: great-crested grebe, moorhen, coot, little grebe, great tit, greenfinch, buzzard, jackdaw, pheasant, collared dove.Lower Largo: red-throated diver, common scoter, eider, razorbill, long-tailed duck, starling.

Shell Bay: pied wagtail, red-breasted merganser, turnstone, linnet, kestrel, gannet.