February 7th   Leave a comment

I walked from the harbour to Roome Bay looking for my colour-ringed redshanks. Apart from it being beautiful and sunny after the recent grey and rainy days, it was typical for the time of year. Lots of good birds to see but in a familiar and understated way. First it is the eiders in the harbour. They were displaying to each other. The males make a quiet “whor-ah” to the females who then make a firm, repeated “no–no–no-no” back. You can sense the females’ disapproval and easily imagine them shaking their heads from side to side as they call back to the males. The males may be handsome at the moment but they are having to work hard to impress nonetheless. The fulmars are the next thing to look out for. They are back on the cliffs and soaring around Castle Walk. Some sit on their prospective nests as if on eggs even though they won’t appear for another 3 months. Then it is the gulls and ducks down at the mouth of the Brandyburn. Mostly herring, common, black-headed and a few great black-backed gulls bathing in the freshwater pools that form as the burn passes over the rocky shore at low tide. Today there were 4 wigeon with the usual mallards dabbling in the pools. The highlight of the Brandyburn, at least for me, is a grey wagtail, usually seen as a flash of yellow undulating away as I disturb it crossing the bridge over the burn. Then the old bathing pool at the mouth of the Denburn for purple sandpipers – three today roosting at the edge of the water. It is often an act of faith to find them, but this is a great spot for them. They blend in so well with the rocks that you really need binoculars to scan the water’s edge to be convinced that the lumps there really are “purps”. Finally Roome Bay and the goldeneyes diving in the surf, with the oystercatchers and curlews feeding along the shore. It’s a short walk along the sea front of Crail but there is always something interesting to see.

A male eider - desperate to impress

Posted February 12, 2012 by wildcrail in Sightings

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