October 6th   Leave a comment

An early morning sea watch from my house brought a constant passage of little gulls and a sooty shearwater heading out of the Forth and a flock of 45 barnacle geese heading in. Barnacle geese started arriving on Tuesday, perhaps a little bit later than usual, although they pass us mostly in the first week of October. Like the pink-footed geese, the arrival of the barnacle geese is a significant milestone of the approaching winter. They were passing most of the day, following the coast a few hundred meters out to sea so less noticeable than the pink-feet of last week. I saw another large flock of 150 or so passing in the late afternoon as I watched the hundreds of kittiwakes and probably also little gulls feeding in a frenzy, kilometers out. A pod of bottle-nosed dolphins passed in the foreground, obvious even in the rough seas as some leapt clear out of the water.

Barnacle geese arriving into the Forth - no. 157 for the Crail year list

Barnacle geese arriving into the Forth – no. 157 for the Crail year list

Male common redstart

Male common redstart

The red-flanked bluetail was only seen again first thing this morning in Denburn. I put in nearly an hour at lunchtime in the best place for it in Denburn yesterday, but with no luck. I only saw a lot of robins and the occasional flash of a blue tit from deep within a bush to get me going. I then tried my luck at Kilminning and found a male common redstart in the top sycamores along the road almost immediately. One of my favourite birds, shivering its red tail as it fed low down among the branches and on the ground, much as the bluetail yesterday. My third common redstart of the year but still special: in some years I don’t see any passing through Crail. I am off to Senegal next week and will be hoping to see more redstarts, but in the heat of their semi-desert, acacia woodland wintering habitat.

Down at the bottom of Kilminning there were a lot of song thrushes and blackcaps. And the occasional perhaps larger greyish shape, too briefly glimpsed to be sure, of a barred warbler. Probably wishful thinking but I would be very surprised if there are not one or two skulking around Crail just now. The easterlies are continuing at least over the weekend so there is still plenty of opportunity for more rarities.

Posted October 6, 2016 by wildcrail in Sightings

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