Morton Lochs & Arbroath Coastline – 21 Aug 2016

I went to a new reserve today – Morton Lochs in Tentsmuir Forest at the North-East corner of Fife.

There are four hides at Morton Lochs, three overlooking the lochs themselves and a fourth one which looks into woodland and has feeders set-up to attract small birds – and squirrels!

I visited two of the the lochside hides and watched a number of assorted waterfowl, several Herons and a distant Buzzard. A Kingfisher, not a very commonly-occuring species in Scotland generally, had been seen recently and there were a number of keen-eyed birders in the hides today hoping for a glimpse of the bird.

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A cheeky Red Squirrel at Morton Lochs

My greatest successes of the visit, however, were at the woodland hide where I watched a pair of young squirrels helping themselves to the nuts in the feeders, and a good many small birds which were showing nicely in the afternoon sunshine.

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Morton Lochs, being located within the boundaries of the vast Tentsmuir Forest (50 square miles!) has great birding-potential; the woodland walk between the hides being a superb example. I’ll certainly be visiting here again. Furthermore, Tentsmuir beach is renowned for its wide range of (often exotic) passage-migrants – definitely an area to return to.

After visiting Morton Lochs, I decided to visit Victoria Park in Arbroath. The park runs alongside the seashore and leads to Arbroath Cliffs. On previous (non-birding) visits I have seen a large variety of seashore birds and I thought it might be worth a look. Wow did my hunch pay off!

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A pair of Turnstone from a flock of about a dozen birds wary of the incoming tide

Over the course of an hour or so I photographed a large number of seashore birds – many quite close-up. My ‘haul’ included: Redshank, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Ruff, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Herring Gull, Pied Wagtail, Rock Pipit, Common Tern & Sandwich Tern. All of these I photographed whilst standing a few feet from my car – a very sedentary birding experience altogether!

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A beautiful Ringed Plover

On previous visits, whilst walking along the cliffs at Arbroath, I have commonly seen Kittiwake, Rock Doves, Fulmar and Shag. All things considered, Arbroath is a pretty excellent birding location!

About Alan Gordon

I am a retired teacher and former RAF Musician. I live near Sheffield and enjoy taking photographs of wild birds throughout the UK.
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