January 15th   Leave a comment

Beadlet anemones - in a range of colours

Today was a perfect winter day. Close to freezing all day, but beautifully sunny and with no wind so it just felt cold, rather than uncomfortable. I went out to Kingsbarns beach at lunchtime for low tide with my family. The last few days have been good low tides with the passing of the full moon and the tide was out as far as the kelp at Kingsbarns. We had had a tip off that Kingsbarns was a good beach to find sea urchins, on more sandy shores than Crail and near the kelp. We didn’t find any urchins in the rock pools but found the largest sea lemon (a yellow sea slug that looks pretty much like a lemon) we have ever seen and some good sea anemones. We found the usual species, the beadlet anemone, although in a range of colours. But best of all was a bizarre camouflaged anemone that sticks small bits of broken shell and sand to itself in camouflage and has red and blue striped tentacles. It doesn’t have a common name (its Latin name is Tealia feline).I think “striped-shell anemone” would be a good one though.

Tealia felina - a sea anenome that sticks shells and sand to itself for camouflage

Tealia felina in camouflaged form when the tentacles are retracted - the stripes give it away

There were some long-tailed ducks and eiders out on the perfectly flat sea amongst the gulls. Just inland along the road to the beach carpark where the stubble fields meet the first of the woodland of the Cambo Estate there was a flock of 50 chaffinches and 40 or so yellowhammers. A proper large winter flock of small birds, that is now unusual to find on farmland. This is always a good spot – partly because the fields here stay as stubble all winter and partly because the Cambo Estate is organic and much less intensive than many of the adjacent farms.  .

Although it was a cold day today, and still only January, there is a slight indication of spring. There were great tits, wrens, robins and song thrushes all singing today. They will be joined by the blackbirds as soon as it goes back to being mild again.

The geese continue at Anstruther or Kilrenny. There was also a short-eared owl reported over the golf course at Fife Ness today. Golfers always get to see this species more than the rest of us. Short-eared owls love the rough and hunt in daylight. Any owl seen in daylight around Crail will almost certainly be a short-eared owl. After dark it will most likely be a barn owl. I saw one last week on the main road between Wormiston and Crail at about 5:30 in the evening. It was completely dark but was unmistakeable as a ghostly white shape in on a fencepost by the road. The calm moonlit nights of the last week will have helped the barn owls. Windy weather and rain make for terrible hunting conditions for them. They can neither hear nor see the voles and mice. After a run of very bad weather nights then you may see a barn owl hunting in daylight.

Barn Owl

Posted January 15, 2012 by wildcrail in Sightings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: