October 11th   Leave a comment

Yellow-browed warbler at Kilminning today

Yellow-browed warbler at Kilminning today

The barred warbler continues its residence at Kilminning. It was showing erratically today. If you got lucky it was out in the open eating elder berries. If you didn’t there was no trace at all. There were many fewer birds than mid-week suggesting that we still have the tail-end of the storm rather than anything new. I heard and saw three yellow-browed warblers at Kilminning and only a couple of blackcaps. The best birds of the morning, for me at least – hoping to break my Crail year list record – were a flock of long-tailed tits. My first for the year – only bullfinch remains as a really common bird that I haven’t seen this year. Like long-tailed tits, bullfinches are erratic in Crail reflecting our near island geography. Flocks of long-tiled tits disperse at this time of year. They don’t like flying out in the open and leapfrog from spinney to hedge to get themselves to somewhere like Crail or Kilminning.

This afternoon was in stark contrast to mid-week with no wind and a flat calm. The storm is still with us though. Balcomie Beach has had large chunks of sand removed at the high tide line and there are meter high piles of seaweed all along it. I had to resort to the golf course and brave golf ball fire when I tried to walk along it at high tide. There were still some little gulls out to sea, a couple of sandwich terns and I found a wheatear at Fife Ness. The summer migrants that are still here are like a bonus now: my last swallow was on Wednesday and I miss them already. Amongst the redshank roost on the rocks at Fife Ness there was a single early purple sandpiper: a proper winter bird.

The (think it's only one so far) early purple sandpiper at Fife Ness

The (think it’s only one so far) early purple sandpiper at Fife Ness

Another vestige of the summer is the large number of red admiral butterflies still about. They are just as much migrants as the swallows, arriving each year in the spring and spreading northwards through the summer breeding as they go. Some will be heading south to the continent now which just doesn’t bear thinking about as an epic journey for something so apparently frail.

A red admiral butterfly at Fife Ness just about to launch itself out to sea on its southward migration

A red admiral butterfly at Fife Ness just about to launch itself out to sea on its southward migration

Posted October 11, 2014 by wildcrail in Sightings

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