May 8th   Leave a comment

The weekend was a bit disappointing for migrant birds. A lot of heavy rain overnight (perfect) and south-easterly winds for the last few days (perfect again) did not bring anything beyond the usual. There were swallows still arriving and blackcaps singing more or less everywhere, but no flycatchers or even shrikes. I walked around Cambo on both Saturday and Sunday morning despite the rain with only a possible garden warbler singing that was out of the ordinary. At Fife Ness Muir on Saturday morning there was a common whitethroat and a chiff-chaff, but again this is not unusual. Spring passage in the spring at Crail seems much more uncertain than the autumn. I think I need a few more years watching the weather and the birds before I work out what makes good conditions for rare birds in the spring here. But of course there is always tomorrow, and the next few weeks of May and early June for it all to get better. For example, two years ago we had a collared flycatcher in Denburn in the middle of May that attracted several hundred bird watchers from all over the UK.

There were four sand martins still around Roome Bay this evening which bodes well for them breeding. There are, however, lots of swallows now breeding in Crail. There seem to be more than last year with several pairs around the old garden centre this year, where there was only one or two last year. The swifts have started screaming as they start breeding, although I don’t think all of our birds are back yet. We maybe have 15 or so pairs of swifts in Crail, and there seem to be only about 10 birds hawking high overhead this evening.

The prevailing southerly wind is still bringing the seabirds in close to the shore, especially in the evening. This is a real spectacle and well worth a trip to Castle Walk with a pair of binoculars any such windy evening over the summer. Scan out to sea and enjoy the hundreds of seabirds passing. The lines of gannets passing from horizon to horizon shining in the late evening sunshine are themselves worth it.

Gannets

Posted May 8, 2011 by wildcrail in Sightings

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