January 22nd   Leave a comment

I did my favourite Crail cycle this morning up to Wormiston, past Wormiston Farm and the sea house to the coast path and then back to Crail via Balcomie and Fife Ness along the coastal path. The stubble field just east of Balcomie caravan park to the south of the footpath is still stuffed with skylarks. I flushed them and one lapland bunting right by the footpath and watched it flying around with the skylarks hoping I would see where it landed, eventually it was joined by another and then a third. I watched the flock down to the ground. As I scanned the place where they had landed, again close to the footpath, they went up again – this time 7 lapland buntings in a tight group, calling and keeping together in the larger skylark flock before moving separately to another part of the field closer to the airfield. How do you count lapland buntings? Clearly, wait for them to flock up when they have been disturbed a couple of times and count them in flight. I had been suspecting that there were a few in the field: it’s a big field but I quite often put one up or hear one as I go along the footpath. Our last big lapand bunting year was 2010 when we had over 60 in one field near Wormiston Farm for most of the autumn and smaller flocks scattered around Crail for the rest of the winter.

Down at Balcomie it was the usual story – still about 50 sanderling and 20 dunlin on the beach, lots of mallards, wigeon and goldeneye along the coast and my first shelduck of the year (no. 97). There is a single pink-footed goose hanging about Fife Ness. Single birds are usually injured but this one seemed at least to be able to fly short distances and it has been in the area for a week or so. I watched the sea for a bit at Fife Ness – beautifully calm and wind free again – in the hope of a glimpse of the hump-backed whale that is in the Forth. I saw a cetacean break the surface far out with a small dorsal but only briefly and only once. A dolphin I expect but it is good to hope. The conditions for spotting whales or dolphins are just perfect today. A flat calm and a neutral flat light – anything breaking the surface from here to North Berwick is visible.

The lonely pink-footed goose at Fife Ness

The lonely pink-footed goose at Fife Ness

Yesterday there was a single waxwing seen at Toll Road in Cellardyke and larger flocks are still around further west in Fife. No luck for the Crail list so far but I am ready to chase if another is reported nearby.

Waxwing - one was seen at Cellardyke yesterday

Waxwing – one was seen at Cellardyke yesterday

Posted January 22, 2017 by wildcrail in Sightings

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