We headed down towards Aberdeen early, with the aim of seeing the long staying Harlequin Duck as well as a few other bits and pieces.
The day started well, with good views from the car of a large flock of Pink-Footed Geese over the snowy fields. A flock of Fieldfare were also seen briefly in flight nearby.
After a couple of hours, we arrived at Seaton Park in the north side of Aberdeen. We began by walking a stretch of the river to the east of the park, but unfortunately there was no sign of the bird. The local Grey Wagtail, Kingfisher, Stock Dove, Dipper and Goosander provided some distraction while we waited, but after several hours had passed there was still no sign of the bird. We checked the area upstream of the park as well, and were rewarded with excellent views of two Otter, but again there was no sign of the duck.
Giving up for the time being, we headed towards the harbour and Girdle Ness. However, the weather took a turn for the worse at this point, and we found ourselves stuck in the car for some time. We did still manage to see a few bits and pieces including; Red-Throated Diver, Gannet, Shag, Cormorant, Razorbill, Guillemot, Eider and Ringed Plover.
Moving on again, we reached an area to the south of the city called Kincorth. A flock of over 20 Waxwings had been reported here and we quickly got onto them, flying over the road and into some large trees. We stopped the car and managed some distant scope views of the birds before they flew away once again. I even managed a terrible record shot of the flock, with the birds just about visible…
From here we drove a short distance west of the city to a place called Loch Skene. Here, a drake Ring-Necked Duck had been reported recently, but there was no sign of it. There were a few Tufted Duck and many Goldeneye, but little else of note was seen.
Around mid-afternoon, we headed back into the city in the hope that the Harlequin Duck had returned. We thoroughly searched the whole stretch of the river, starting at the west and heading downstream. Frustratingly, there was still no sign of the bird.
We drove to the river mouth, where we checked through the gulls and waders The only species of note present were a couple of Redshank and a single Sanderling. We had a quick bite to eat and headed back towards the highlands.
It had been dissapointing no to see either of the vagrant ducks, but there was every chance that they would reappear later in the holiday…