June 9th   Leave a comment

All this week there has been a growing feeling of spring having faded into summer. Some of the trees are not quite in full leaf yet and there were some turnstones on their way to the Arctic still at Fife Ness this morning. But otherwise the franticness of spring is being replaced with the steadiness of summer. For me the focus shifts from searching for migrants to appreciating the birds that are now here for the summer, and the seabirds that make Crail really special at this time of year. At Fife Ness this morning there was the constant passage back and forth of puffins, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and gannets, spiced up with terns and the very occasional manx shearwater.

I found a gannet on the beach at Saucehope this afternoon. It was alive and looked fine in all respects except I could catch it easily as it sat in the sand. It was possibly a bit skinny. They are fantastic birds to see up close despite the circumstances. They have a line of bright blue scales down the feet and down between each toe contrasting with the black webs. I have never noticed this before, perhaps not surprisingly as I always see them in flight or on the water. Apparently females have blue lines on their feet and the males yellow. So this bird was a female. I left it on the beach – maybe it had a bit of a rest and even now it is back in business out in the Forth. But thinking about it – if we have 150,000 gannets on the Bass Rock then even if they are very long lived – and its decades rather than years – then every week there will be few gannets dying near us. I also consoled myself by watching plenty of vigorous gannets flying past.



Posted June 9, 2013 by wildcrail in Sightings

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