April 5th   Leave a comment

Male pheasant

Male pheasant

Although the wind is still chilly and from the east, things are starting to move springwards. I saw my first (alive) puffins of the year this morning shuttling past Crail. They have started to come back in to the May Island. There is already a steadily developing stream of razorbills and the occasional guillemot coming from the island past Crail as they start nesting. I also saw my first sandwich tern of the year passing by and heading north out of the Forth. Sandwich terns are one of our earliest migrants, moving up from West African coasts to arrive with us in early April. I should think they are less bothered by the cold weather than most migrants. The cold air temperature will make little difference to the sea temperature and the availability of fish. My first last year, even with its unseasonal late March warm southerly winds, was only on the 2nd of April. The only other migrants that have made it so far are the lesser black-backed gulls. There are now a few joining the herring gulls on the roof tops of Crail. They don’t breed in Crail, although they are happy to do so on other rooftops in Fife, but are probably on their way to the May. There were several with the herring gulls following the plough at Wormiston this morning too.

Pheasants are very obvious at the moment. Pairs of males strutting around each other and contrasting with the bare fields in their very bright plumage, or more often as squashed corpses on the road between Crail and Anstruther. They must get more careless in the spring when they have other things on their mind.

They are drilling and planting the fields between Crail and Anstruther. The fields have been reduced to almost perfect smooth and geometric spaces, more or less uninterrupted by any vegetation between the two towns. The curlews feeding there are the only things out of place. Like the golden plover on the driving range at the beginning of the week, making the best of the artificial landscape.

The first sandwich tern of the year flew past Crail this morning

The first sandwich tern of the year flew past Crail this morning

Posted April 7, 2013 by wildcrail in Sightings

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