May 6th   Leave a comment

Denburn Wood is at its spring best at the moment. Burgeoning green and full of song. There were assorted warblers singing this morning: chiff-chaff, willow warbler, blackcap and the first sedge warbler of the year (no. 125 for the year list). I suspect the sedge warblers came in overnight just behind the swifts. Sedge warblers don’t breed in Denburn preferring brambly ditches in the fields around Crail so today’s bird was just finding its feet after a long migration.

I got a text at lunchtime that there had been a yellow wagtail seen along the main road by Kirkmay Farm. A great Crail bird – I only saw my first one here last year. Ten minutes later I was out on the muddy track along the Anstruther road and in the same time again I had found not just one but three yellow wagtails feeding around a couple of large puddles. Two were males glowing like jewels. I phoned John Anderson and he set out straight away. When you stake out a bird for someone else it usually leaves immediately but not today. John had all three birds alighting by his car just as he arrived. I suspect these birds spent the winter trotting around the feet of cows and herdsman in somewhere like Senegal and so are completely used to people and disturbance. I was able to watch one of the males at very close quarters displaying to the female as if it thought it could nest there (suitable habitat but yellow wagtails rarely nest this far north). I am used to yellow wagtails being close to me in Africa but not as the bright yellow beacons that they become in the summer. A very good bird for the Crail year list (no. 126), which seems to be going from strength to strength.

One of today's yellow wagtails at Kirkmay

One of today’s yellow wagtails at Kirkmay

I walked back into Crail along the coastal path. There have been a lot of northern wheatears around Crail this week and I saw one of these. Another migrant of course, less rare than a yellow wagtail but a joy nonetheless, and a thread connecting me from Africa to my home to the Arctic.

One of the many northern wheatears around Crail this week - John got within 5 meters of this one on Balcomie Beach

One of the many northern wheatears around Crail this week – John got within 5 meters of this one on Balcomie Beach

Posted May 6, 2016 by wildcrail in Sightings

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