Week ending February 1st   Leave a comment

The northerly winds continued with a gale over Saturday night and the low temperatures have continued too. Things are getting tougher for the birds as the interaction between a strong wind and cold means they need more energy but their opportunities to get it are diminished. The male blackbird that lives in my front garden now doesn’t fly away even if we approach to a meter or two. There have been redshanks feeding on the grass above the shore all week, dodging the dogs and the people but generally taking much more risk to keep feeding when the tide is in to make ends meet. It’s a good temperature gauge. When the temperature gets below 4 degrees for a couple of days then the redshanks start taking risks. Some waders put on fat to deal with colder weather but redshanks don’t seem to do so, they just move into areas they normally avoid because of risk of sparrowhawks surprising them. Not all the redshanks have to do this though. It’s really noticeable that none of my older colour-ringed birds ever use the grass. They are usually roosting at high tide, even this week. My colour-ringed birds are veterans and survivors so are almost certainly good competitors that can forage more efficiently, or have the best feeding areas at low tide. Those redshanks that I caught and colour-ringed in previous winters that were not so good, and that might have fed on the grass this week, have died already.

Roe deer have been more obvious this week with several small groups in the fields around Crail. They are not at all constrained by the livestock fencing or the stone walls. They seem almost to levitate over them.

Roe deer making light work of a fence

Roe deer making light work of a fence

 

I was watching herring gulls fly into roost at Cellardyke when I noticed one with dangling legs and an ungainly flight. To my horror I saw it had its feet stuck together in a huge clod of mud. Once I had noticed this I then saw that every gull arriving in to the roost was more or less in the same state. I relaxed when I realised that this was of course inevitable for any gull foraging in a very muddy field corner (and they are all pretty muddy at the moment). I wonder if they feed until their feet get so clogged up they have to return to the shore to clean up. I know what it is like to try to walk with cloggy wellies. Still, a minute or two in a rock pool or sitting on the water will have restored them all.

Posted February 1, 2015 by wildcrail in Sightings

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