North-east Scotland recording area

North-East Scotland recording area


Corn Bunting © Hywel Maggs

Area covered:

Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City (the former districts of Banff and Buchan, Gordon, Aberdeen City and Kincardine and Deeside of the old Grampian Region.)


Local recorder for the area:

Nick Littlewood


writeThe James Hutton Institute
Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen
AB15 8QH





Record submission:

Submission of records via BirdTrack is encouraged or records can be emailed to the Recorder as an Excel spreadsheet. An example of the ideal format is available on request. Records are welcomed at any time up to the end of January of the following year. For non-electronic records, please contact the Recorder to discuss.


What happens to the data?

All records that contain at least the minimum information (species, date, place and observer) are collated into a single spreadsheet with all the year’s records. This is used for writing the Species Accounts in the Bird Report. Data are also used or shared with others in a variety of other ways:
• The collated data form an incredibly valuable resource that can assist with conservation, planning and research. To enable this, the data are passed each year to the North East Scotland Biological Records Centre (NESBReC) which acts a core biodiversity data portal for the region.

• Records may be passed on directly, where appropriate, to the Rare Birds Breeding Panel (see for details on how they use the information).

• The records are also loaded by the Regional Recorder onto the BirdTrack system ( which collates the results from both casual birdwatching records and from more systematic surveys into a central national database. The sheer volume of records held means that robust information can be derived on species status and trends.

• Via BirdTrack, records feed into projects such as the national breeding and wintering distribution atlases for which fieldwork has recently been completed. Note that records that are loaded straight to BirdTrack by individual birdwatchers are downloaded for use in this report by the Regional Recorder so there is no need to send these records in again.

• There are also plans in hand for the data that reach BirdTrack to be made available on the National Biodiversity Network ( We will update in future issues of this report on progress with this plan.

• As well as being published in the paper copy of the Bird Report, the compiled species accounts are to be made available three years after publication as part of the Scottish Bird Report.


NES Bird ReportNorth-East Scotland Bird Report


Hugh Addlesee

Latest issue:



Grampian Ringing Group: 2014 summary

Savi’s Warbler at Loch of Strathbeg, May-June 2014: the first for the region

Blyth’s Reed Warbler & Citrine Wagtail at Girdle Ness: two second records for the region

Spotted Sandpiper at Inverallochy, Oct 2014 – Jan 2015: the first for the region

Bar-headed Geese in North-East Scotland: pattern of occurrence and provenance


£5 (including P&P) for postal orders or copies will shortly be available from SOC HQ, Waterston House for £7 (please check stock before travelling on 01875 871 330).

Available from:

Dave Gill,

Dave Gill, Quarmby, Nethermuir Road, Maud, Peterhead AB42 4ND.

First published:


Back issues:

A number of back issues are available for most years (2005 and 2006 are sold out). The price for 1974 – 1981, 1983, 1985-1996 and 1998 – 2004 is £2. 2007-2013 are £4 each. 1982 and 1984 are £10. Postage and package will be charged at cost and advised before posting.


Contents of the 2013 report:

Grampian Ringing Group: 2013 summary
Black-throated Thrush at Banchory, 25-30 March 2013: the first for the region
Subalpine Warbler at Cruden Bay, 14-16 May 2013
Rock Thrush at St Fergus, 18-22 July 2013: the first for the region
Bridled Tern at Cairnbulg & Ythan Estuary, August 2013: the second for the region
Brown Shrike at Collieston, 28-29 September 2013: the first for the region
Ivory Gull at Boddam, 7 December 2013: the reality of rarity-finding
A Year on Patch: Girdle Ness, 2013

Contents of the 2012 report:

Grampian Ringing Group: 2012 summary
The Influx of Tundra Bean and European White-fronted Geese in Winter 2011/12
Lesser Scaup at Loch of Skene, 6-8 January 2012: the first for the region
The White-winged Gull Invasion of 2012 and a Review of the Status of Kumlien’s Gull in North-East Scotland
Greater Yellowlegs at Loch of Strathbeg, March to May 2012
Roller at New Pitsligo, 12-15 July 2012
Paddyfield Warbler at Ladymire, Ythan Estuary, 8 September 2012: the first for the region
Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler by Mains of Slains, Collieston, 26 September 2012: the first for mainland Scotland and the region
Laughing Gull at Rosehearty, 19-31 December 2012: the first for the region

Contents of the 2011 report:

Grampian Ringing Group 2011 Ringing Summary
Loch of Leys Constant Effort Site (CES) 2009-2011
Egyptian Goose at Meikle Loch, March 2010 – an addition to the North-East Scotland List
The White-winged Scoter at Murcar, June 2011 – a new bird for North-East Scotland and for Britain
Black Scoter at Blackdog and Murcar, June to October 2011 – a new bird for North-East Scotland
Sandhill Crane at Loch of Strathbeg, September 2011 – a new bird for North-East Scotland
The Semipalmated Sandpiper on the Ythan Estuary, September to October 2011 – a new bird for North-East Scotland
The Pallid Harrier at the Ythan Estuary, October 2011 – a new bird for North-East Scotland

Contents of the 2010 report:

Grampian Ringing Group 2010 Ringing Summary
Nuthatch at Netherley – a new bird to North-East Scotland
Frigatebird sp. (Fregata sp.) off Peterhead
The Lanceolated Warbler at Collieston – a new bird for mainland Scotland
Blyth’s Reed Warbler at Foveran Bushes – a first for the North-East
The Southern Grey Shrike at Loch of Strathbeg RSPB Reserve – a first for mainland Scotland
SMD Alexander (1932-2010)

Contents of the 2009 report:

Grampian Ringing Group 2009 Ringing Summary
Caspian Gull, Peterhead – the first record for North-East Scotland
Stilt Sandpiper, RSPB Loch of Strathbeg – the first record for North-East Scotland
Lesser Sandplover at Donmouth – a new species for Britain
The North-East Scotland speciality you are least likely to see: Eskimo Curlew
Arrival and departure dates of summer and winter visitors in North-East Scotland

Contents of the 2008 report:

Grampian Ringing Group 2008 Ringing Summary
The intriguing case of North east Scotland’s sailed Eiders
Upland Sandpiper at RSPB Loch of Strathbeg – a first for North-East Scotland
Greater Sand Plover on the Ythan Estuary – the first record for North-East Scotland
The White’s Thrush at Parkhill – the first Aberdeenshire record for 95 years
What will be the next first for the region?

Contents of the 2007 report:

Grampian Ringing Group 2007 Ringing Summary
The Brünnich’s Guillemot at Girdle Ness
Aberdeen Red Kites
Seasonal distribution and population trends of waterfowl on Loch of Skene
Birds in Mid Deeside, 1970-2008
New additions and taxonomic changes that affect the North-East Scotland List

Contents of the 2006 report:

Grampian Ringing Group 2006 Ringing Summary
Franklin’s Gull on the Ythan Estuary – a first for North-East Scotland
Ospreys in North-East Scotland 1993–2007
Glen Clunie Ring Ouzel breeding ecology project
Some aspects of Buzzard breeding ecology in mid-Deeside
Recent trends in numbers of some breeding birds in North-East Scotland
A new breeding bird atlas for North-East Scotland: 2006, the final year of the project

Contents of the 2005 report:

Grampian Ringing Group 2005 Ringing Summary
Black Grouse in North East Scotland in 2005
Barrow’s Goldeneye at Meikle Loch – the first record for North-East Scotland
Bonaparte’s Gull at Peterhead – a first for North-East Scotland
Belted Kingfisher in Aberdeen – the first Scottish Record
Black-headed Bunting at Loch of Strathbeg – the first record for North-East Scotland
A new breeding bird atlas for North-East Scotland – 2005, the fourth year of the project

Contents of the 2004 report:

Grampian Ringing Group 2004 Ringing Summary
The early autumn fall of 2004 in North-East Scotland
The Black Duck at New Pitsligo – the first record for North-East Scotland
The Pallid Swift at Newburgh – the first record for North-East Scotland
A new breeding bird atlas for North-East Scotland – the project’s third year

Contents of the 2003 report:

Grampian Ringing Group 2003 Ringing Summary
Thirty years of Birdwatching in North-East Scotland, 1974–2003
Pacific Golden Plover – a new bird for North-East Scotland
Corn Bunting projects and farmland bird surveys in North-East Scotland
A new breeding bird atlas for North-East Scotland – 2003, the second year of the project

Contents of the 2002 report:

Grampian Ringing Group 2002 Ringing Summary
Northern Goshawk in North East Scotland
Recording ‘Scottish crossbills’
A new breeding bird atlas for North-East Scotland
The Stone-curlew at Blackdog
The occurrence of the Great Grey Shrike in North East Scotland, 1970–2000
St. Cyrus – a birding paradise?

Contents of the 2001 report:

Grampian Ringing Group 2001 Ringing Summary
Grasshopper Warblers at a breeding site in Banffshire 1990-2002
Autumn turnover of Pink-footed Geese at Meikle Loch
The occurrence of a European Storm-petrel in apparent first-summer plumage
Whiskered Tern at Meikle Loch – the second Scottish record, 27 June-3 July 2001

Contents of the 2000 report:

Grampian Ringing Group 2000 Ringing Summary
Recent trends in numbers of some bird species in North-East Scotland
Swinhoe’s Storm-petrel in Cove – a new bird for Scotland
The eastern race Olivaceous Warbler at Collieston, 13-21 September 2000
Tawny Owls in North-East Scotland 2000

Contents of the 1999 report:

Grampian Ringing Group 1999 Ringing Summary
Breeding ecology of Ring Ouzels in Glen Clunie; a preliminary report for 1998/99
Corn Buntings in and around Aberdeen 1967-1985
Corn Buntings in NE Scotland 1998-1999
Water Pipit at Burnhervie 12-30 January 1999 – first record for NE Scotland
Collared Flycatcher at Cove 30 April-1 May 1999 – first record for NE Scotland
Short-billed Dowitcher at Rosehearty 11-24 September 1999 – the first record for Britain
Harlequin Duck at Peterhead, 6th November 1999 – first record for NE Scotland
Colour-ringed Spoonbill at Loch of Strathbeg 1999

Contents of the 1998 report:

Grampian Ringing Group 1998 Ringing Summary
Black Stork, Ythan estuary 13-19 July 1998 – a first for NE Scotland
Red-breasted Goose, Loch of Strathbeg 1-18 April – first record for NE Scotland
Tawny Owls in 1998 – a Grampian Ringing Group Report
A survey of Rock Pipits on the NE Scotland coast, winter 1998
Citrine Wagtail, Girdleness -first record for NE Scotland
Red-flanked Bluetail, Newburgh 27-28 September – first record for NE Scotland

Contents of the 1997 report:

Grampian Ringing Group 1997 Ringing Summary
A survey of the breeding birds of inland waters in North-East Scotland 1997
Desert Wheatear at Girdleness, 7 November 1997; the first record for North-East Scotland
The BTO Breeding Bird Survey and its use in this report
Short note on the range expansion of Common Buzzard in North-East Scotland

Contents of the 1996 report:

Grampian Ringing Group 1996 Ringing Summary
‘Tundra’ Bean Geese in North-East Scotland
Breeding Merlins in Aberdeenshire during 1993-1996
A survey of Lapwings in North-East Scotland, 1996
Crested Tits in the Frontier Zone

Contents of the 1995 report:

Grampian Ringing Group 1995 Ringing Summary
Common Crossbills in Deeside in 1995
Mute Swan nesting on the River Dee at Aberdeen: first breeding record for the Dee
The movement of wildfowl off Peterhead, Grampian



The Breeding Birds of North-East Scotland

Click here to read about the Breeding Birds of North-East Scotland Atlas, which covers Moray, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City. This publication is sold out now however SOC members can borrow a copy of the Atlas from the library (available to non-members for reference) subject to availability and borrowing terms and conditions.


NE Scotland Rarities Committee


Mark Lewis (Chair), Hugh Addlesee, Ian Broadbent, Nick Littlewood, Hywel Maggs, Allan Perkins, Richard Schofield and Andy Webb.

Species that the committee considers:

Bewick’s Swan, Bean Goose, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Red-crested Pochard, Ring-necked Duck, Surf Scoter (not drakes at Blackdog/Murcar), Red-necked Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Balearic Shearwater, Leach’s Storm-petrel (not trapped), Bittern, Great White Egret, White Stork, Honey Buzzard, White-tailed Eagle (un-tagged birds only), Rough-legged Buzzard, Hobby, Spotted Crake, Corncrake, Bluethroat, Avocet,  American Golden Plover, Temminck’s Stint, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, Grey Phalarope, Long-tailed Skua, Sabine’s Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Roseate Tern, Turtle Dove, Little Owl, Nightjar, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Golden Oriole, Chough, Firecrest, Crested Tit, Willow Tit, Marsh Tit, Bearded Tit, Shore Lark, Pallas’s Warbler, Barred Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Nuthatch, Rosy Starling, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Yellow Wagtail (all identified races), Richard’s Pipit, Water Pipit, Common Rosefinch, Northern Bullfinch

Records of NE Scotland rarities should go to Mark Lewis:  whilst records of SBRC and BBRC species should continue to go to the Recorder, Nick Littlewood in the first instance.

Click here to download Paul Baxter’s summary on the recording of rare birds in North-East Scotland


Useful links:

Find out more about BirdTrack

Where to birdwatch around Scotland

Recording area home page