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Saturday, 11 May 2013

Speyside weekend Day 1

It was the York Bird Club weekend trip to Speyside, Scotland this last Bank Holiday weekend. Me and Mark were joined by Mike Williams and we travelled up on Friday 3rd, it wasn’t a particularly good weather forecast for that day but as the rain was supposed to be clearing from the east and there were some good birds along the east coast that was the route we decided to take. First stop was Musselburgh where a drake Surf Scoter had been seen off the river mouth over the previous few days, probably one of the birds that usually frequent Largo Bay, several scans later the bird was found and although too far for a photo as usual we got decent scope views of it, there were also quite a few Velvet Scoters out in the bay as well as several Long Tailed Ducks and a few waders on a sand bar included a small flock of Bar Tailed Godwits that were all remarkably still in winter plumage. The next leg of the journey was up to Aberdeen and on to the Ythan Estuary, it rained nearly all the way but thankfully fared up as we got there, we parked up at the southern end of Newburgh at the end of Beach Road and hopped over the dunes to scan through several hundred common Eider eventually finding the target bird, a fine drake King Eider which then performed very well for us, also here were quite a lot of Grey Seals hauled out on the banks and a large flock of Common and Sandwich Terns. With time pressing and a report of five White Billed Divers off Portsoy we headed to the northern coastline but the weather was against us, it was very windy with a constant drizzle when we got there and a huge swell on the sea made viewing very difficult, Mark got onto a couple of birds he was happy with and I eventually got onto one that looked good for a summer plumaged individual but unfortunately lost it again within seconds, a pair of summer plumaged Long Tailed Ducks closer in were probably the real highlight, we had stayed here longer than intended so it was a mad dash back down to the Grants Arms Hotel in Grantown on Spey where we were staying to join the rest of the group for dinner, several Buzzards and a couple of Hooded Crows were seen through the day as we travelled between sites.

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