September 5th   Leave a comment

I saw my first newly fledged gannets of the year this evening, labouring just above the sea and heading out of the Forth. They have much heavier wing beats than the adults because they have big fat reserves to tide them over the first few weeks as they learn to fish. There were only two dark brown young among the hundred or so white and black adults passing Crail in about 10 minutes. This ratio will change as the month goes on and more and more gannets fledge.

A newly fledged gannet - the dark one in the middle, with an adult in front and a 3 year old behind

A newly fledged gannet – the dark one in the middle, with an adult in front and a 3 year old behind

There was a young sanderling on the beach at Roome Bay at high tide today. They are usually on the sandier shores of Balcomie Beach, but young birds are much more likely to turn up anywhere. Particularly so if they have just arrived from their first big migration from the Arctic and don’t know the area yet. The same thing probably applied to the young wheatear also in Roome Bay but among the rocks. It was being chased occasionally by the resident pied wagtails who weren’t keen on it muscling in on the high tide seaweed fly bonanza.

A young sanderling

A young sanderling

It’s a good time to see an arctic skua passing Crail. The two I saw today were a long way out but occasionally one will pass close. If a skua starts chasing a gull or a tern then they become very obvious even at a distance: a dark falcon like bird persistently chasing another agile white bird over the sea will always be a skua.

As I was reading my daughter a bedtime story this evening I glanced out of the window and saw a goose-like shape flying over the Marine Hotel. A frantic dash to my son’s room and the telescope confirmed it was indeed a goose – the first brent goose of the winter. The pink-feet and barnacles will be here soon and then the autumn proper.

Posted September 5, 2013 by wildcrail in Sightings

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