March 13th   Leave a comment

The old railway line behind Crail is one of the better farmland walks close by. The farms up there are still fairly intensive, but it is a mix of pasture and there are more retained hedges and shelter belts. Mixed farmland is much the best for wildlife with its mixture of habitats, ideally with relatively small fields and boggy and wooded corners to make a patchwork but now I am just dreaming. Anyway, the railway line is a nice walk, with distant views of the sea, skylarks singing all the way and lots of yellowhammers. There was a flock of about 30 fieldfares and 20 redwings in one of the big pasture fields. It felt springy enough for my check through them for a ring ouzel not to be too optimistic. There are two pulses of ring ouzels through Britain – a late March one and a May one reflecting our breeding population and populations in Alpine Europe that start breeding later. There was also a huge flock of woodpigeons, perhaps more than 500. At one point they all started flying up in a huge wave – I looked in vain for the source of the disturbance but it is hard to pick up something up like a distant peregrine amongst so many flying birds of a similar size and shape.

There is a huge flock of woodpigeons around Crail at the moment

There is a huge flock of woodpigeons around Crail at the moment

I haven’t seen many hares around Crail recently but I saw a few today. Another March special to look out for as they start chasing each other and fighting. I was chatting with a local policeman recently and he told me there is still a problem with hare coursing in the area. Anyone intentionally running a dog after hares is breaking the law: hare coursing is very nasty, like badger baiting and cock fighting, but luckily a bit harder to hide.

Brown hare

Brown hare

Posted March 13, 2016 by wildcrail in Sightings

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