Wintering in St. Andrews
If you’ve ever thought that St. Andrews is just a hub for winter birding, you’re not alone. Many birders are on the lookout for seaducks and gulls here, especially Surf Scoters. Yet, St. Andrews has some impressive rarities under its belt. Remember the Little Swift of May 1985 and the Chimney Swift of November 1991? Let’s just say it’s good to keep looking up while you explore the town!
Gazing at St. Andrews Bay
The West Sands offer an unbroken vantage point of St. Andrews Bay, and you can practically drive to the tip at Outhead. To get there, head off from the A91 at Golf Place, which is signposted for several iconic places including the Royal & Ancient Golf Course. Several parking spots are near the edge of the dunes, making it easy to scan the bay for the likes of Shorelarks and Snow Buntings. Don’t forget to check the noticeboard at Outhead for recent sightings.
Car Park Views
The bay can also be viewed from the car park near the British Golf Museum. This is especially useful when conditions are choppy, and you’re keen on spotting those Surf Scoters up close. For a different perspective, try the grassy bank located between the Golf Museum and ‘The Scores’; it offers an elevated viewpoint.
Scanning from the North-East
For those who love an elevated view, head to East Scores near the castle. It’s perfect for grebes and Purple Sandpipers, plus Glaucous Gull has been spotted here before. The rocks beneath the cliffs also offer a chance for birdwatching, especially when you wander down to the harbour.
East Sands & Beyond
Beyond the harbour, East Sands presents an area often disturbed by human activity but still holds the potential for rewarding sightings if you make frequent visits.
Hidden Charm of Boarhills
Four miles south of St. Andrews, this small village offers more than what meets the eye. Kenly Water winds its way through the woodland and eventually to the sea. A coastal path runs to the north of Boarhills and offers views into a small reedy pool near Craig Hartle. An underwatched area, but it did produce a Yellow-browed Warbler back in October 1998.
And so, our exploration continues. Stay tuned for the third and final part of this avian journey in the Fife area.
Happy birdwatching, everyone!