July 7th   Leave a comment

The wind has gone round to the south-east for the last couple of days bringing seabirds closer into Crail. This evening there were several large flocks of kittiwakes about half a kilometre out diving down to pick small fish from the surface of the sea. They were joined by the occasional arctic tern and at least two little gulls. These are a Crail late summer specialty. We can have hundreds of little gulls out in the sea beyond Fife Ness from July through to about October. They are usually just out of sight and only get seen when the winds blow them into the Forth, or feeding conditions are good inshore. Last year was odd though. I didn’t see a single little gull all year from Crail, even on days with good winds and lots of other seabirds. I am glad they are back this year. Little gulls are fairly distinctive and well named. They look about two thirds the size of a kittiwake and adults have an unusual blackish underwing contrasting with their pale greyish but otherwise unmarked upperwing. This is a great feature when they are miles out at sea creating a flash of blackish as they swoop down to the water amongst uniformly pale kittiwakes. On the ground they are very beautiful with perfect black hoods although they lose these as the summer wears on.

Adult little gull

Posted July 7, 2011 by wildcrail in Sightings

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