August 6th   Leave a comment

A first year whinchat - taken in a fallow field in Africa in November but pretty much how it was today

A first year whinchat – taken in a fallow field in Africa in November but pretty much how it was today

Inspired by the stint of yesterday I went out this morning on a circuit of all the potential wet patches in the fields around Crail in search of more migrant waders. Despite the recent rain all were dry – all have been “improved” so much recently that it was perhaps hopeless anyway. I ended up at Troustie House where one damp field corner lingers on but even this was too overgrown with grass to be much good. There were a ton of tree sparrows about which always make Troustie a good place to visit. A little further on are a couple of irrigation ponds that keep water in all year round. They have steep bank sides so are less good for waders but might attract a green sandpiper one day. There were only swifts and swallows using them to drink today. Then a small bird caught my eye – a juvenile whinchat – a good August bird that you need a bit of luck to find around Crail. I see hundreds of whinchats in Africa every winter as part of my research but seeing one on its way there through my home patch is much more of a thrill (and it was number 133 for the year list too!). Whinchats love a scrubby, neglected field edge in Africa and this is exactly where it was today in Crail. Further into the fallow field there was a juvenile wheatear – also on its way to Africa for the first time. They winter a bit further north than whinchats, closer to the Sahara, but again the empty, weedy field it was using here is pretty much what they choose to spend the winter in, in Africa. There were a lot of meadow pipits in the field too and probably a tree pipit – I only heard one call briefly and not quite close enough or long enough to add it to the year list (another August migrant that I need).

Juvenile wheatear (this one at Balcomie but a migrant from mid this week at least)

Juvenile wheatear (this one at Balcomie but a migrant from mid this week at least)

I finished my circuit along the shore back to the harbour and saw a common sandpiper on the rocks – one more migrant wader at least and number 134 for the year list. To keep my momentum and to hit my target of 160 I will need a few more trips out like this: August can be a really good month around Crail with the right weather and I suspect today’s small haul was the left overs of the easterly winds and rain mid-week.

Posted August 6, 2016 by wildcrail in Sightings

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