January 3rd   1 comment

With every new year comes a new year list. Last year I saw 156 species in the Crail area (within 10km of Crail), just one short of the record of 157 the previous year. I’m up to 65 species for the year so far. There are about another 15 species that I should be able to track down in the next few days to get all the usual species around at this time of year before it becomes a matter of a lucky encounter. The overall Crail list is up to 211 species with 7 new last year, the highlights being the dotterel in the spring and the eastern olivaceous warbler in the autumn. Another year to look forward to and anything can turn up in Crail.

So what’s around on a typical New Year’s day? At dawn in Crail the first birds you might record are the ones you can hear: softly cooing feral pigeons, ticking robins and blackbirds and a cawing carrion crow. Then as it gets light the ubiquitous herring gulls appear. The commonest birds in the centre also appear – house sparrows, dunnocks, woodpigeons, starlings and collared doves. A walk through Denburn will get you the common garden species – all of the tits today – blue, great, coal and long-tailed tits in a large flock with chaffinches, goldfinches and a couple of treecreepers. Then a walk through the stubble fields to get buntings such as yellowhammers and reed buntings, although today a group of 8 corn bunting in the field behind Pinkerton today were a good find, they usually only come back to Crail in March.The fields are also the best place to see grey herons roosting on the edges, and don’t forget the pink-footed geese. There are now several hundred up at Troustrie. Then of course there is the shore to get the common waders such as redshanks, curlews and oystercatchers, and some more tricky finds such as ringed plovers and purple sandpipers. There were two of the latter on the rocks just out from the playpark at Roome Bay this afternoon, my first actually in Crail this winter. And finally the sea to get the ducks such as mallards, wigeon, eider and goldeneye, and seabirds such as comorants, shags, auks and red-throated divers. Balcomie Bay is great at the moment to see goldeneye, red-breasted merganser and long-tailed duck all close inshore, with red-throated divers a little bit further out. If you cover the four main habitats of Crail – garden/woodland, fields, shore and sea you will see over 50 species on your New Year’s Day list. It’s a good way to structure a walk and make a start on appreciating what we have to see in the Crail area during the year.

Purple sandpiper - some back on the rocks by the swings in Roome Bay

Purple sandpiper – some back on the rocks by the swings in Roome Bay

Posted January 3, 2013 by wildcrail in Sightings

One response to “January 3rd

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  1. brilliant thank you

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