Hello Fowlsheugh Blog. I am Tom Simon the current Intern for the RSPB Grampian Reserves. This is my second visit to Fowlsheugh and it was a memorable one.
The main purpose of our visit was to replace the stakes on the cliff tops which we will tie ourselves to when carrying out breeding bird surveys. I myself will be doing Kittiwakes and the general feeling was it was quite quiet for the time of year.
My favourite bird though was here and the Razorbills were courting all over the cliffs, with their low grating call resonating from their selected crags. Guillemots are re-colonising the cliffs also but there were many in large rafts just offshore.
A Puffin had made it to land but we were too late to see it disappear into its burrow near the shelter and the recent sightings board in the shelter itself told us that 6 Puffins had been seen on the water in the cove.
Towards the end of the day I was collecting up the old stakes to take back to the truck when I saw 3 Bottlenose Dolphins swimming close to the shore. After a while more small groups passed with about 15 in total coming into view and making my day complete! Dolphins were a new experience for me so close and calm under the cliffs just slowly making their way north.
The other wildlife of note was the Green-veined White butterflies that we had near the bridge over the stream on the way down from the road and up to the shelter.
Quite a tiring day but I can’t wait for my 3rd visit!
An early visit down to Fowlsheugh this weekend to meet up with Robin and Toby from the RSPB film unit at the Lodge. They're currently touring the country (reaching Fowlsheugh via Northern Ireland on the their way north to Orkney!) to check out places to film seabirds over the coming season.
Despite the very very strong wind, Fowlsheugh managed to show itself off and looked lovely in the sunshine, even if it was probably best appreciated from inside the shelter! Most of Fowlsheugh's seabirds won't be returning for a while, unlike the Gannet already settling down on territory at Troup Head, but there are several Herring Gulls hanging around and we got nice views of Fulmar and Cormorant flying by as well as a couple of Grey Seals hauling out on the rocks.
Hopefully Robin and Toby were suitably impressed (either by Fowlsheugh or by the lovely cafe in Stonehaven we went to for coffee and to defrost a bit!) and we'll be seeing Fowlsheugh on film sometime in the next few months.
Had my first visit to this wonderful little reserve yesterday and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Merlin, peregrine, and buzzard all flying over my head with lots and lots of fulmars back on the cliffs, chattering away. Eiders on the sea down below, with song thrushes and blackbirds in the gorse bushes, there was never a shortage of something to look at. I stopped for a while at the new shelter, it was such a lovely day I sat on the bench outside though, and just soaked up the spectacle, can’t wait to see the cliffs full of birds – a real seabird city.
Hi, I’m Richard Humpidge, the new site manager for the RSPB Grampian Reserves, based at the Loch of Strathbeg. Been here for about three weeks now and thought it was more than time I went down to Fowlsheugh to see what it was like. My first ‘birding’ job was working on seabirds in Wales, many, many years ago, so it lovely to now come back to them again, can’t wait for the hustle and bustle to come into full swing and the noise and the smell of it all.
With 40mph winds around Strathbeg at the start of this morning, it perhaps didn't seem like the best time to head out to a cliff top reserve! However I had a bit of work to do at Fowlsheugh and it seemed an ideal time to give Suzanne a look round the reserve. Thankfully, the winds dropped as we headed south and by the time we arrived, the sun had come out and the reserve was looking superb, and we decided it was safe enough to head out to the shelter. As Vicky said in her previous blog, it's a much quieter (and less smelly!) walk now that the seabirds have left for the winter, but there were still plenty of cormorant, eider and various gulls off shore and robin, meadow pipit and calling stonechat in the gorse and grassland around the path. And on a very windy and slightly chilly day like today, you really appreciate the warmth of the new shelter.
One bird that really is a highlight of Fowlsheugh at this time of year is the peregrine. We've seen them in the summer harrassing seabirds, now they've moved on to chasing the wintering feral pigeons that roost on the cliff. This bird in particular gave us some phenomenal views from the shelter as it twisted and hung in the wind.
On the way back we made our traditional stop at Girdle Ness in Aberdeen. Just from the car park we saw oystercatcher, redshank and purple sandpiper on the breakwater, eider, cormorant, a diver sp. and two juvenile razorbills at sea and the day finished with at least six large bottle-nose dolphin just in the mouth of the river, with three of them briefly bow-riding a cargo ship as it headed into the harbour. A nice reminder that even if you can't make it out to reserves like Fowlsheugh, there's still an amazing amount of wildlife to see even in the middle of a city!