September 22nd   Leave a comment

At first light there was a chiff-chaff singing and two willow warblers calling from my garden so I was out early this morning with high hopes. The overnight heavy rain and south-easterly winds of the last couple of days must have brought something good in. Unfortunately all I found was more rain: no further warblers at all at Kilminning except maybe some new goldcrests. It did eventually clear up by 9 when I had to head back in frustration. At lunchtime this got worse when I got a text that a buff-breasted sandpiper had just been seen at Balcomie. I was working at home so I was out at the field within 10 minutes (grateful for the brisk west wind to push my bike out there faster). But not fast enough – I missed it by 40 minutes. I spent an hour scanning every ridge and furrow of the field from the edge but found only 2 wheatears, 45 skylark, 7 golden plover, a starling, a curlew, 12 or so rooks and a sparrowhawk – I feel I have to recount these as testament that I was really searching the field hard. A couple of others looking drew a blank as well. It had moved on. I have now “dipped” on buff-breasted sandpiper twice in exactly the same field – coincidentally there was one at Balcomie, again for less than an hour, at the end of September in 2013. Buff-breasts are attractive high Arctic waders that breed in North America. Needless to say they are rare with only 2 in the Crail area in the last 13 years – both of which, as I have said, I tried and failed for. I headed home disappointed again; with anything you care about there will be bad days as well as good days. My highlight today turned out to be two chiff-chaff feeding on the rose bush just outside the window in my garden late morning as I glanced up from my work; there can never be disappointment with unexpected birds.

A chiff-chaff - the bird that came to me today

A chiff-chaff – the bird that came to me today

Posted September 22, 2016 by wildcrail in Sightings

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