August 16th   Leave a comment

The tale of two pools unfolded further this morning. There is a fourth pool one field away from the soon to be filled in crossroads pool. This pool is tucked in a field corner right next to the road and is large enough to be a really star wader pool. My failure to connect up with any of the wood sandpipers recently becomes clearer: this pool is perfect for sandpipers.

Green sandpiper

This morning there were two green sandpipers there, with three ruff, three snipe and a greenshank. Green sandpipers are one of my favourite birds. Ever since I started birding they have been special birds because they are always a surprise. They turn up in unexpected places, in small pools when you least expect them, suddenly bursting up with a flash of black and white, and with a shrill, totally distinctive call. Then they are gone, totally gone, even before you have quite realised they were there. Of course, having romanticised them, today everything flew off except the green sandpipers. They looked atypically placid and stayed put even as I watched them from the car at less than 15 meters away. In fact I had my best views ever. Perhaps it has been worth missing this pool so far this summer just for today.

During the afternoon there were various migrants reported from Kilminning. A pied flycatcher and a barred warbler. I went looking for them late afternoon. Barred warblers are always very difficult. They skulk and even when you know which bush they are in you then might only have glimpses of them. So my hopes of seeing one was were low, and as it turned out, realistic. No sign of it despite another four people looking. The pied flycatcher was located however, the first of the autumn. A male on its way to Ghana or Guinea. On the way out I saw a very frustrating Hippolais warbler (a group of European and Asian warblers that are only vagrants to the UK). The most likely species would be an icterine warbler, considering the time of year and the other migrants about. We get a couple of icterines in Crail every year and so they are good birds to find. But a few things were not quite right with it being an icterine. Any alternatives, however, are seriously rare and need good views and a lot of careful attention. Sadly this bird wasn’t showing well so unfortunately I have no real idea. Perhaps tomorrow I or someone else will re-find it and it will become clearer. In the meantime it’s unidentified and best left at that.

There were about 50 common swifts drifting over Kilminning to the south-west. I think they were birds from further north on their way back to Africa. The swifts apparently still left in Crail might well be birds like these on their way south rather than our residents.

Ruff at the new roadside pool yesterday

Posted August 16, 2012 by wildcrail in Sightings

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