October 8th   Leave a comment

Goldcrest - our smallest bird, dwarfed by a sycamore leaf

Goldcrest – our smallest bird, dwarfed by a sycamore leaf

There were birds everywhere today – birds passing through and birds arriving for the winter and of course, the residents. And with the easterly winds of the week it was worth looking at every single one just in case. So a busy day full of hope. Nothing very exciting turned up but still, there were a lot of good things about. I started at Balcomie with a ploughed field full of skylarks – probably more than 200. They were everywhere, feeding and chasing each other, some obviously still not quite getting the shift from being intensely territorial in summer to being gregarious in winter. A field full of skylarks is always worth checking for other species. There were meadow pipits, linnets, tree and house sparrows, greenfinches, reed buntings and yellowhammers as well – all needing to be looked at just in case. Flocks of barnacle and pink-footed geese came over occasionally and again they needed to be checked because it is never safe to assume that there is only one species in any flock of geese. At the north end of Kilminning there were goldcrests in every tree. Tiny greenish bundles of energy frantically feeding among the sycamore leaves to regain the energy they used to cross the North Sea last night to get here. As I searched through them for a firecrest I refound the male common redstart of Thursday, a yellow-browed warbler and a few blackcaps. And then flushed the first woodcock of the winter from underfoot. The first redwings of the winter were in too, mostly in the rowans or passing overhead. Between the wooded bits of Kilminning there was a flock of at least 400 golden plover – and they all needed to be checked just in case there was something else amongst them. And down in the south end of Kilminning more thrushes – blackbirds and song thrushes fresh in like the goldcrests and redwings – blackcaps, chiff-chaffs and the first brambling of the winter. They flew over to make it 158 for the Crail year list – breaking my previous best of 157. And I haven’t even mentioned the robins yet. Lots have come in this week too and the local residents are going crazy with singing and chasing to put the incomers in their place. So everywhere something to look at even if another rarity didn’t turn up. I finished up today’s birding at Fife Ness watching the little gulls and kittiwakes dipping amongst the waves in the late afternoon sunlight, and a juvenile arctic skua spectacularly tail-chasing one of the kittiwake for a couple of minutes before giving up and gliding back down to have a snooze on the sea. I headed back too after a great day’s birding – 67 species without really trying.

Posted October 8, 2016 by wildcrail in Sightings

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