The first long weekend off for us this year, and we found ourselves up north in Mrs Sausage’s part-time neck of the woods in Old Aberdeen. Our first stop on the tour was Seaton Park, which has been home to a juvenile male Harlequin Duck since January. I had been hoping fervently for a while now for chance to see this sea duck, usually resident in Iceland and North America. Part-time Aberdeen resident Mrs Sausage has already had the privilege of seeing this genuine rarity on her regular birding patch and although her initial reviews were less than rave (“nondescript brownish duck really”), I still did not want to pass up the opportunity to see a genuine rarity.
First sighting on the River Don was this handsome Goosander, another resident at Seaton Park.
The River Don was busy with Mallards and Dippers but there was nary a sign of the Harlequin so we moved on into the park. Despite being a typical Aberdonian afternoon of grey and overcast conditions, there was plenty to be seen. A Kingfisher darted down the rapids, and Blue and Great Tits could be seen and heard.
Moving into the woods, I was promised Treecreepers, which have in the past proven to be one of my many photographic bogey birds. However, Mrs Sausage had told me many a recent tale of coming into very close contact with these diminutive beauties which have been proliferating in numbers in the park. She assured me that this was the spot and time to finally try to get those elusive pictures of them. While we did indeed find them in healthy numbers and close proximity, photographing them still proved a challenge. Despite having a reputation for freezing still when threatened, the Seaton Park Treecreepers would carry on creeping up the trees at some speed. On the good side, this may mean Treecreepers don’t think TeamSausage are very threatening at all!
The hunt for the perfect Treecreeper picture continues!
Almost a study in still life was this female Goosander, with resplendent headdress.
With a Buzzzard flying just over our heads and the usual Oystercatchers and Herring Gulls that Aberdeen is home to, there was no lack of feathered action around us. We made our way over the Brig Of Balgownie and down to the banks of the Don, heading towards where the river runs into the North Sea. Here we were greeted by over twenty Teal, languishing on and around the small island in the middle of the river.
The island was also inhabited by some very laid back Grey Seals.
Our final sighting of the day were these male and female Goldeneyes. Even without binoculars or camera, their glinting eyes stood out in the fading evening light.
Not a bad haul of sightings for a few hours stroll around Seaton Park and just beyond. With two more days to go, there was still hope for the Harlequin too!