It was rather wet for a large part of the day on Saturday and even after the rain stopped it looked like further showers might still happen, so I stayed at home, rather than head out birding somewhere. With Sunday meant to be better, though still a little cooler than of late, I decided I should really try and get out birding. By the time I got out of bed, it was around high tide at Riverside Nature Park which meant that I would be struggling to get many waders on the list for the day. As I would rather be seawatching at this time of year I decided to see if the outer Tay Estuary at Balmossie could produce anything of note (though I figured that stronger, more prolonged easterlies would likely be needed). As I would be sea-watching I chose to leave my camera at home and took a scope and tripod with me instead. I knew I would likely be tempting fate and wishing I'd taken a camera with me...
I headed out at around 1005 for the long walk to Balmossie. Swifts, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Feral Pigeon, Goldfinch, Lesser Black Backed Gull and House Martin were noted on the walk towards Baxter Park. I added Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Blue Tit and Bullfinch within the park boundary. Greenfinch, Woodpigeon, Wren and Magpie were next as I wandered down to the cycle path along the northern edge of the harbour. Birds were in relatively short supply unfortunately though I did hear a Willow Warbler and see an adult and juvenile Buzzard as I wandered along to the Stannergate, as well as a 2-Spot Ladybird and a young Shieldbug (probably Hairy?).
I stopped briefly to scan through the Herring Gulls just offshore at the Stannergate with one bird looking a little like a Caspian Gull - though I suspect it was just a 3rd year Herring Gull retaining a dark eye and with a slightly longer looking beak than normal. A singing male Linnet, a few Black Headed Gulls and a few Oystercatchers were all seen as I continued on along the esplanade towards Douglas Terrace. A Blackbird was seen by the railway line near the yacht club sheds. Long Tailed Tits were in the gardens opposite when I reached Douglas Terrace and a Grey Seal was prowling around just offshore.
A singing Dunnock was in a garden as I neared the lifeboat jetty where I was able to add Common Gull, a couple of Redshanks and a small flock of Turnstones as well as a roosting Grey Heron. I made a brief stop by the castle where a female Eider was resting on the rocks just offshore and a Rock Pipit made an appearance just before a Pied Wagtail flew over. I detoured into the small local nature reserve but disappointingly the only thing new there was a Robin. I reached Balmossie just shortly before 1200 and set up my scope to see what I could find.
A few Curlews and Oystercatchers were dotted around with Herring Gulls, Lesser Black Backed Gulls and Black Headed Gulls on the rocky shore. There were some Goosanders in the water but on the pipe to the east there were well over 100, probably 200+ in total. Way offshore at Tentsmuir Point I could see a couple of hundred Gannets circling and diving. I counted at least 116 Mute Swans and found 2 Goldeneye nearby. There were a number of Cormorants on the shore over at Tentsmuir Point, and 30 or so Bar Tailed Godwits on my side of the river, some still looking rather smart in breeding plumage. More scanning produced a few Mallards in eclipse plumage plus Rooks and Jackdaws as well as a few Turnstones nearby. After about an hour I spotted a bird hovering off to the east just offshore from the caravan park at Monifieth. It was an unexpected Osprey.
I watched it circle for a while before it successfully caught a fish and headed inland northwards. A short while later I spotted a second Osprey circling at the same area, with a third bird a bit further away and higher. One of the birds eventually came much closer, circling just off the mouth of the burn before drifting back east again. Not long after that I had 2 Ospreys off the mouth of the burn, one of which caught a small fish but dropped it. Both of these seemed to continue upriver. Another Osprey was seen fishing in the same area as the first before it circled up higher and I lost sight of it as it headed inland. I then realised there was one hovering in front of me and this one caught a fish just off the burn mouth before being pursued by a few gulls then circling up on a thermal where it was joined briefly by a Buzzard before it disappeared into the cloud.
A pair of Common Sandpipers flew out from under the bridge and a larger flock of Bar Tailed Godwits and a few Knot dropped in beyond the pipe to the east. I picked out a few distant Sandwich Terns and had a possible Greenshank head east out around mid-river. Around 1600 I decided I was unlikely to add anything else at the mouth of the burn and decided to head for home. Having not seen any small waders I decided to check an area of the beach where they can be very easily overlooked. Thankfully for me, my task was made much easier when a couple of walkers on the beach flushed a few birds and I saw where they landed. They were mostly Ringed Plovers but there were a small number of Dunlin with them. In addition there were a few Starlings also picking around among the seaweed.
A couple of Common Seals were seen hauled out on a sandbank but there were no further additions as I wandered slowly back to Dundee and home. A detour past Swannie Ponds did add a Swallow, a few Coots and a Moorhen taking the day's list to 52 species of bird. The Ospreys were a definite surprise, though given the numbers that can be seen using the Eden Estuary at this time of year, it should really have been quite obvious that they would also use the Tay away from Invergowrie Bay as well. As it isn't really an area I visit very often at this time of year in 'normal' times it hadn't crossed my mind that they would do so. Still seems like there is much to be noticed locally. As I didn't take a camera with me, all photos illustrating this post are from May 2018.
|Black Headed Gull|
Birds - Bar Tailed Godwit, Blackbird, Black Headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Common Gull, Common Sandpiper, Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Eider, Gannet, Goldeneye, Goldfinch, Goosander, Great Black Backed Gull, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Herring Gull, House Martin, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Knot, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Linnet, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Osprey, Oystercatcher, Pied Wagtail, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Robin, Feral Pigeon, Rock Pipit, Rook, Sandwich Tern, Starling, Swallow, Swift, Turnstone, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren.
Mammals - Common Seal, Grey Seal.