September 26th   Leave a comment

The Crail yellow-browed warbler festival continued today. None in Denburn first thing but then again a hundred could hide in the trees when they are still fully covered in leaves. At Kilminning after lunch I found three in ten minutes, all down in the low sycamores at the sea end by the large green shed (the one that hums mysteriously all day and I never see anyone enter – but that is probably another blog). The warblers were calling and so easy to find as they picked aphids from underneath the sycamore leaves. I also found a pied flycatcher and a spotted flycatcher nearby along the entrance road alongside the airfield. There were lots of skylarks in the stubble fields as well that will also have come in on the easterlies of the last three days. They probably want to be here rather than just on their way to somewhere else.

Yellow-browed warbler - they rarely sit still for long or out in the open so it's one of John's hardest species to photograph

Yellow-browed warbler – they rarely sit still for long or out in the open so it’s one of John’s hardest species to photograph

The flycatchers are heading for West Africa of course: I’ll catch up with them again in November when I visit Nigeria. The big question is how long it takes these small birds to make it to somewhere like Nigeria. They could theoretically do it in two flights of 2-3 days each with a week or so fattening up between them. Both flycatchers today were young birds so I suspect it might take them a bit longer than that. They don’t really know where they are going, they probably don’t really how to feed very efficiently or safely and they have probably already been blown off course. It’s no wonder that most young migrant birds die in their first winter.

The sea was still quiet today with only a few red-throated divers passing into the Forth. This will have nothing to do with the winds. Thousands have probably made their way into the Forth over the last three weeks to spend the winter here.

A red-throated diver

A red-throated diver on its way into the Forth for the winter – still with its summer red throat

Posted September 26, 2013 by wildcrail in Sightings

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