May 5th   3 comments

I was on the 95 bus last night at dusk, luckily on the top deck, watching Crail approach when I saw a dark shape slinking into the wheat field by the track to Damside (that’s on the left one field after the turn off to the secret bunker road as you come out of Crail on the St Andrews road). I first thought a cat, but as the bus drew level I saw it was a very long, low flattened shape, much larger than a cat with a huge long tail – an otter! Coincidentally only about 200m from where I found the road kill otter in October 2013. It flashed by (no emergency cord on a bus) but such good news to know that they are still about. They must be very nocturnal residents or very rare visitors to Crail to escape notice most of the time.

Otter - one just outside of Crail this evening

Otter – one just outside of Crail this evening

The other news of the day is the arrival of the swifts. This morning there were none but by the late afternoon, with the warm southerlies, they were everywhere, their chases and screams that form the soundscape for the summer back in force.

Posted May 6, 2016 by wildcrail in Sightings

3 responses to “May 5th

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  1. Hi Will, we really love your Crail wildlife blog! Can we ask you something about that otter: presumably that feeds in the sea? There won’t be enough fish in the Denburn, surely. Should we look out for it down by the shore?

    Sorry, two more questions, if you have time: those herons in the field opposite Cambo. When they stand there like that – what are they doing? Are they the juveniles from the nests the other side of the road, just hanging out?

    And: I can’t believe how often I hear cuckoos further north in the Highlands. Have we ever had a resident cuckoo in Crail, and if not, why do you think that is?

    Thank you for any thoughts – but if you’re too busy marking exams to answer this, no worries. We’ll keep reading that fantastic blog in any case.

    Cheers, Christine and Kees (Bank House, Crail)

    Christine Rauer
    • Thanks for the kind comments.
      Yes, the otters will be mostly along the shore in the East Neuk. But be careful to double check anything ottery on the shore because there are still some mink about too.
      The herons haven’t fledged yet (nearly) so the birds in the fields will be off duty adults, resting and digesting. But when the juveniles do leave the nest they do also sit in the field nearby waiting to be fed.
      Cuckoos are only passage migrants through Crail – a few at this time of year and then more regular in July (the adults on their way back) and in August (the young on their way to Africa for the first time). 50 years ago there may well have been cuckoos breeding in the East Neuk. They have declined hugely and so their absence here probably reflects this.

  2. Thanks a lot for explaining. C & K

    Christine Rauer

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