FIRTH OF FORTH (inc. LARGO BAY)
FIFE (Edinburgh), (E c)
NS96o48´/81o42´ N/A ha 0m, fairly flat, arable farmland and typical countryside with woodland and introduced conifer plantations, estuary
General countryside, some protected by statutory bodies and NGOs.
Winter (several visits, last 04.11.07)
Birding Site Guide
SLAMANNAN & GRANGEMOUTH Central (Falkirk), (E c)
NS96048 81242. N/Aha farmland and typical countryside
Go N heading towards Glasgow on the M74 and continue n on M73, turn off E on A89 to Airdrie and here head N on A73 and after a short way go E again on B803 to Slamannan. Check all the fields around Kilconquhar for geese. The area is known for its flocks of wintering Bean Geese (A.f. fabalis). One of the few areas where large numbers can be seen (around 300).
From Slamannan, continue into Falkirk to the shore of the Firth of Forth at Grangemouth. Head along the front towards and past the refinery, leaving town there is soon open countryside and a 90 degree bend, shortly after (less than a mile) there is a minor road to the left, take this and follow it back as if towards the refinery. Presently the shore of an inlet will be visible and where the road terminates, park. Bird the shore and bay and follow the path to the right down to the hide to scan other areas of the bay. The site is good at this time of year (winter) for Red-breasted Merganser, Common Eider, Redshank and other sea and freshwater duck and waders. Ring-billed Gull was our target but we dipped!
FIFE (Kilconquhar), (E c)
NO50934 01464. N/Aha 24m, this area is farmland and typical countryside. Much of area is private estate sympathetic to nature conservation, with public roads bisecting the area.
Travel north in Scotland when past Glasgow head e on A91 or from n of Edinburgh, head n on M90 then e on A911. At Leven, on the north shore of the Firth of Forth, continue e on A915 and then A917 towards Elie. Just before Eile take a left (n) on B941 an check all the fields around Kilconquhar for geese. The area is renowed for its massive flocks of wintering Pink-footed Geese. This often contains an individual or 2 of rare geese, particularly Snow Goose. On this visit we saw a ‘blue phase’ Snow Goose.
LARGO BAY (Ruddon’s Point)
FIFE (Leven), (E c)
NO45470 00214. N/Aha m, low dunes with marram, also rocky shore line and sheltered bay, the area is SSSI.
From Kilconquhar (see above) go back onto A917. Follow signs for Shell Bay (Caravan Park). Go along the road through the caravan park past the clubhouse and park a bit further down (past last caravans) at a sign saying Ruddon’s Point SSSI where a path leads into the sand and marram. Walk this track for a few minutes until a rocky spit is visible and scan from here and from the shore a little way further around. To the west across the bay the town of Lower Largo is visible and it is also possible to view the bay from the sea front there.
This is a fantastic bay to bird and there is always good numbers and variety of seabirds and ducks, winter is best. Velvet Scoter is easily found, and rarer Surf Scoter is sometimes present. There are Long-tailed Duck and Red-necked, Slavonian and Great-crested Grebes. Scaup, Eider, Wigeon, Red-breasted Merganser, Pintail, Teal, Common Scoter, Shelduck and Goosander are easily found often in good numbers, and rare duck such as King Eider are nearly annual. The rocky spit has many waders including Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover and other common species. Auks such as Razorbill and Guillemot are often in the bay and passerines include Linnet, Goldfinch, Siskin, Rock and Meadow Pipit. Common Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk make upt he common raptors.