On Sunday 10th October Dean MacAskill led a group of 12 SOC members to some of the hot birding spots on the east coast of Sutherland, beginning with a walk along the beautiful sands of Dornoch Beach towards Dornoch Point. We had several species of note including 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Common Tern, a growing flock of Linnet, 8 Red-breasted Merganser, Red-throated Divers and 2 Reed-bunting. The two highlights, however, were the enormous number of juvenile Gannets just off-shore, and 1 adult, dark phase Pomarine Skua which was harassing the gulls for a free lunch.
Next stop was Embo near the pier where we had wonderful views of a flock of Sanderling along with Turnstone, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Pied and White Wagtail and a cheery flock of Starling.
On to Loch Fleet to be greeted by 2 pale-bellied Brent Geese, a Red Kite and a gorgeous rainbow.
Our count for the day was about 43 species. It was lovely to welcome 2 new birders to our outings – Fiona and Caroline. We all owe a huge thank you to Dean for generously sharing his local patch with us, and finding some very special birds for us to see.