A small, but select, band of three birdwatchers attended the second outing of the Highland winter 2020/21 programme. The weather was sunny and warm with light winds. We met at Alturlie and had a good range of birds on the foreshore as the tide dropped. Sadly, we didn’t see any pale bellied Brent Geese although there were good numbers of Greylags and Canada geese. The highlights here were a group of six Black-tailed Godwits that landed very close to us on the beach offering excellent views. A dark phase Arctic Skua was seen harassing a Common Gull out in the firth. The Arctic Skua turned out to be a “lifer” for one of the party.
We then went to the pools at Alturlie where we had good numbers of Teal, Mallard and Wigeon and a single Shoveler and good views of a hunting Sparrowhawk being mobbed by Starlings and a Buzzard. Other highlights were a calling Chiffchaff and a common darter dragonfly sunning itself on the path.
Following a coffee break we went on to Ardersier where we added House Martin, Eider, Turnstone and Bar-tailed Godwit to the list.
We had planned to visit other sites further along the coast but there was too much to occupy our attention at Alturlie.
We had a total of 46 species for the day which was very enjoyable.