An early start from Oriole Birding's Norfolk base on Saturday and after picking a couple of people up on the way we made good progress. News of a Richardson's Cackling Goose at Earsdon near Whitley Bay caused us to have a minor diversion, to see if we could locate it. We had heard it was mixing with a flock of Pink-footed Geese and these were soon located.
Ashley, our guide, then found the Richardson's which was slightly behind the main group of Geese. Very similar in looks to a Canada Goose, but much, much smaller and with a delicate bill. Distant views for the camera, but great through the scope.
At one point it indulged in some neck swaying and calling.
A great start to the trip! The next stop was Port Seton/Cocknezie to try and find a reported King Eider. Sadly, our luck was out as the weather was not ideal, but we did see quite a few Common Eider.
Red-throated Diver, Gannets, Purple Sandpiper and Common Scoter were added and I managed a record shot of Velvet Scoter.
Common waders were added, including Turnstone, Redshank and Curlew.
A Shag close inshore offered a photo opportunity.
Even the Starling's seem brighter in Scotland!
A pair of Lesser Black-backed Gulls bade us farewell as we made our way to an overnight stop in Dunfermline.
After a good night's sleep and breakfast, some birding at nearby Loch Leven picking up Tree Sparrow and this Lesser Redpoll.
Viewing the Loch revealed distant views of Pink-footed and Barnacle Geese as well as Whooper Swans and a large flock of feeding Sand Martins. A fly past of a pair of Goldeneye was a real treat.
This Meadow Pipit had to pick its perching spot carefully!
And as we were to find out, Common Gulls are actually quite common, in Scotland.
We then headed further north to our base in Speyside, stopping off for Osprey. We were lucky to see one bird on its island nest site, before it took to the sky and disappeared.
Some of the group had views of a couple of fly over Crossbills and then Ashley spotted a very distant Golden Eagle and we all had good scope views of it. Goosander and Goldeneye were also on the Loch as well as this Mute Swan flexing its wings.
Our next stop was Loch Vaa for a long staying drake Ring-necked Duck. It was distant, but easily picked out among a few Tufted Ducks.
Our final stop of the day was to Abernethy Forest and Loch Mallachie. A very quiet and tranquil place where we encountered Coal Tits, Goldcrests, Treecreeper and our first Crested Tits.
We reached our base at The Boat of Garten Hotel for a good meal and a pint or two before gearing up for another four days of birding!