December 28th   Leave a comment

There has been a fair bit of ploughing over the Christmas week. The buzzards- those mighty worm hunters – have been enjoying it. They are quite inconspicuous as they lollop along the ground, mud brown and hunched, but to me they stand out by the space they cause in the wheeling gulls that also follow the plough. Where the gulls aren’t there will be a buzzard. The gulls have a healthy respect for buzzards and when there is no ploughing and the ground is frozen the gulls will be back on the menu.

A buzzard following the plough today - note no gulls!

A buzzard following the plough today – note no gulls!

 

Although I like to keep my observations in this blog to the Crail “parish” (10km radius) I was walking by the Tay at Balmerino at lunchtime and flushed a jack snipe from a marshy pool just above the beach. I hardly ever see jack snipe even though they are common winter visitors and must occur every year around Crail. They are perfectly camouflaged, tiny and freeze when approached so are almost impossible to see. They occur in the tiniest marshy places almost anywhere so are also very dispersed. In freezing weather, however, they do come down to unfrozen pools by the sea and even the shore so you are more likely to see them on days like today. If they flush of course. I practically stepped on the bird today and even then it stayed put and I didn’t notice it: two people behind me then flushed it and I then only noticed it as it flew away past me. They look very much like common snipe in flight but a bit more dunlin like because of their relatively shorter bills and smaller size.

A jack snipe from John's collection - freezing on short turf is not the best use of its "you haven't noticed me strategy"

A jack snipe from John’s collection – freezing on short turf is not the best use of its “you haven’t noticed me strategy”

Posted December 28, 2014 by wildcrail in Sightings

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