December 4th   2 comments

I headed up to Carnbee Reservoir this morning in search of smew. There have been a few of the eastern European ducks turning up in Fife this week, fleeing colder weather in central Europe. They are small charismatic mergansers and the males particularly are very handsome black and white birds (nicknamed “nuns”). We mostly get females or juveniles that are known as redheads – not quite as striking as the adult males but like waxwings, they only turn up every few winters and often unexpectedly in small or urban ponds and lakes. All this preamble ought to lead to a triumphant account of no. 161 on the year list and a new bird for my overall Crail list but sadly not. A fine array of ducks – tufted ducks, teal, mallard, wigeon, goldeneye and teal – both mute and whooper swans, and a moorhen, but no smew sadly. Still if you don’t look…There were also, and more strangely, no coots. Perhaps the recent cold weather moved them further west. The view over the Forth was worth the trip up in any case. The horizons of the Forth islands, the Lothians and finally the Lammermuirs each silhouetted by the low sun, but fading into each other as the morning mist burnt off.

I headed down to Anstruther and walked along the coast from Cellardyke for a while. The old pig field is now a lovely weedy stubble, at one end full of mallards and wigeons; the female pintail was with them again, here for another winter. At the other end was a large flock of linnets (no twite) and with them at least four corn buntings, and maybe many more. A couple of the corn buntings were even singing – a strange sound to hear in December. Further on there was an impressive flock of several hundred starlings among the cows.

A female pintail - there is one among the wigeons and mallards at Kilrenny Mill, Cellardyke again this winter

A female pintail – there is one among the wigeons and mallards at Kilrenny Mill, Cellardyke again this winter

Posted December 4, 2016 by wildcrail in Sightings

2 responses to “December 4th

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  1. …Female Pintail also seen in Roome Bay today (10 Dec)…

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