Week ending November 2nd   Leave a comment

I have been in denial but the autumn has slipped into winter and the chances of rare birds turning up are fading. There are some November specialties such as desert wheatears – last one here now over a decade ago – and Pallas’s warbler. With the wind sticking from the west these are just dreams.



I came home late on Thursday night and saw a fox crossing the main road at Kingsbarns. It has been a while. When you don’t see foxes around Crail you can often smell their very distinctive odour in places like Denburn and as the winter goes on hear them making their screams and barks. Even so, I haven’t noticed a fox for months. They are always nice to see. When I lived in Edinburgh twenty years ago they were a regular late Friday or Saturday night sighting for me. My behaviour has changed a bit since I lived there so my lack of fox sightings might be just due to getting to my bed at a reasonable hour nowadays rather than foxes being particularly scarce around Crail.

The top of Kilminning had only a few blackbirds left on Saturday: almost all of the berries have been eaten now. The redwings have moved on and are now more likely to be found on fields feeding on the ground. There were some in with the starlings, lapwings and golden plovers that were daily this week in the big field next door (east) to the Balcomie Links caravan park.

On Sunday the seaweed flies were swarming. Cycling along the shore I was bashed constantly by flies. Down at Roome Bay there were large flocks of starlings joining the pied wagtails and rock pipits feeding on the maggots and the emerging flies. Above them there were about a 100 feral pigeons sunning themselves on the red cliffs. About 75% of our Crail feral pigeons look just like wild rock doves, the ancestral form that we domesticated a long time ago and that you still find on the West coast. Their fondness for seacliffs and caves makes it an easy shift to doocotes and buildings but they can shift back just as easily. Why they have completely abandoned the doocotes of the East Neuk is a mystery to me though. The abandoned buildings of the airfield must just be much more attractive.

A feral pigeon or rock dove depending on where you find it

A feral pigeon or rock dove depending on where you find it

Posted November 2, 2014 by wildcrail in Sightings

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