Aberdeen and District RSPB Members Group paid their annual autumn visit to Strathbeg on Wednesday 25 Sep, and in their travels discovered a buff-breasted sandpiper by the lagoon – a nice find and one that resulted in some good pictures:


Shown with dunlin for size comparison – all pictures by RSPB Members Group

The weekend of 27/28 Sep saw a couple of little egrets back on the reserve, and an ever-increasing number of geese. On Monday evening there were thousands of pinkfooted geese coming in over Rattray Kirk and the south end, whiffling down to roost on the water and creating a raft of birds that covered at least a fifth of the loch. A rough count as dusk fell on Tuesday night gave over 35,000, although the counter felt this was nowhere near the total; a more organised count by more of the reserve staff on the morning of 1 Oct revealed a rather impressive total of 64,655 – the highest number we’ve had since the September count in the winter of 2005/6. There are still a handful of barnacle geese amongst them, and also a leucistic pinkfoot – which looks like it’s been dropped in a heap of flour! There is also an otherwise normally-coloured pinkfoot with white primary feathers.

It was definitely worth getting up before dawn to count the geese, and a stop at the Rattray end of the loch towards sunset is definitely worth your time if you want to see one of autumn’s truly spectacular sights!


Pinkfeet over Mormond Hill – Kath Hamper