Week ending February 9th   Leave a comment

It has at least been a week where the gales were broken up by some proper bright and sunny Crail winter days. Friday was actually a nice day. We had one of the few frosts this winter with a clear early morning. Venus was spectacular before dawn, shining above the May Island. You can almost make out a crescent with the naked eye and through a telescope it looks like a proper tiny crescent moon. It must be very close to us at the moment: I haven’t ever seen it so obviously a planet rather than just a particularly bright star. It should be there for the next few mornings, at about 7am is best – if we get lucky with the weather again.

The continuing rough seas have taken their toll on the seabirds. An email came round at the start of the week asking people to look out for dead seabirds all along the east coast. There have certainly been a few shag corpses on the beaches by the harbour and at Roome Bay, and even a pair of wings from one of the juvenile little gulls blown in last weekend, but not huge numbers so far.

Shag in stormy seas

Shag in stormy seas

After a long break there is a fox or two back in Crail. Denburn smells particularly strongly of fox and even along the sea front despite the scouring from the high tides of earlier in the week. I hardly ever see the foxes in Crail so they must be very nocturnal. When I lived in Edinburgh an early morning walk in the middle of the city would often result in seeing a fox or two, sometimes spectacularly close and unconcerned trotting past me on the pavement. I would stop and stare, the fox wouldn’t break its stride.

I had a classic quiet late February walk through Kilrenny on Saturday afternoon. Parts of the woods provided a welcome shelter from the incessant southerlies but there were few birds to be seen. The pond in the middle is still amazingly dry, apart from a puddle, despite the rain of January. In contrast, the depressions in the fields between Kilrenny and Crail have filled up even with the farmers’ works last year. It’s such a shame that the water won’t go where it is supposed to. It’s a bit of the national problem at the moment, in miniature.

One cheerful sign of spring this week. The fulmars have started to get more active around the cliffs. Every time I have walked along Castle Walk this week there has been a bird sitting on the cliffs or soaring around. They have a long season, but it’s nice to see them getting started and reeling in the spring.

A fulmar back already on the nesting cliffs at Castle Walk

A fulmar back already on the nesting cliffs at Castle Walk

Posted February 9, 2014 by wildcrail in Sightings

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