January 7th   Leave a comment

The numbers of sanderling on Balcomie Beach have been going up for the last couple of weeks with 48 there today. I don’t know if these are “local” birds redistributing themselves – birds from Kingsbarns beach, for example, moving a little way along the shore for a short time – or whether these are migrants from somewhere else. A few decades ago, when we still had cold winters in Western Europe, lots of waders would move to the UK during cold spells on the continent. They still move, but they don’t need to go as far as us to reach milder conditions. Looking at the European temperature map though it does look below freezing everywhere, even northern Spain so perhaps we are gaining some continental sanderlings.

Sanderling - a beach full of them at Balcomie

Sanderling – a beach full of them at Balcomie

There are also good numbers of red-breasted merganser about with at least a couple in sight when you look anywhere from Roome Bay to Kingsbarns, or singletons flying by Crail. They were a highlight at Fife Ness today, along with the fog bank to the north contrasting with the suddenly intense blue sky and sea at the Ness. Lots of razorbills on the sea and a flock of velvet scoters passing took the Crail year list to 89.

Red-breasted merganser

Red-breasted merganser

Posted January 7, 2017 by wildcrail in Sightings

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