Out early alongside the Firth of Forth at Largo ( of Robinson Crusoe fame ) and the start of our trip. Some drizzle on occasions, but generally bright and fine. A few Velvet and Common Scoter were in evidence, together with Mallard, Eider and Red-breasted Merganser , but little else of note. The tide conditions were quite choppy and distant visibility of anything somewhat impaired. We moved on to Ruddons Point and almost immediately found the female King Eider with a group of Eider sheltering within a small bay. Good views were obtained of what was quite a distinctive bird, even including the wands, before the whole group moved into an even more sheltered location. Whilst birds could be seen offshore our efforts at locating the Surf Scoter proved fruitless, although both Velvet and Common Scoters and Long-tailed Duck were in view. An odd Red-throated Diver and unidentified grebe showed briefly, but clearly the conditions were against us. Along the shore Curlew, Knot, Redshank and Turnstone were present and a good array of common passerines found in the nearby scrub and woodland.
Following an obligatory breakfast at Morrison's Supermarket cafe we cast out westwards and went around Loch Leven where Grey lag, Pink footed and a single Barnacle Goose were seen as well as the Glossy Ibis which had turned up a couple of days previously. Moving slightly northwards we located Mountcastle Quarry and a nearby loch. Whooper and Mute Swans, Gadwall, Goldeneye, Teal, Mallard, Wigeon, and Goosander provide an enjoyable variety of water birds complimented by a plethora of passerine species in the cover around the site, which has largely resulted from an extraction site developed for conservation. Besides Chiffchaff, first for the year, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, various tit species our patience eventually paid off when we found one of the Firecrests present on the site. Apparently this is quite a rare bird for Fife so we felt our luck might be turning!
On to a recommended watchpoint where White-tailed Eagles can sometimes be spotted......and sometimes not, but the hour long vigil was relaxing if we're honest. And finally, on to the mighty Tay at Newburgh where we located the Ring-billed Gull which, after walking between a couple of different locations along the river finally gave convincing views and brought to an end a productive and enjoyable day. The drive to Perth took very little time where we discovered the Travelodge was conveniently located next door to a pub serving food. No malice contained in that forethought!!
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