April 23rd   Leave a comment

My usual Sunday morning circuit from Crail to Wormiston to the coast path via the Sea House and then back via Balcomie, Fife Ness and Saucehope felt very summery. Swallows all the way and a couple of sand martins for the Crail year list (no. 113) down on the shore. The stretch of coast from Balcomie Beach for a kilometre to the north was the best with at least three white wagtails – these are the Continental sub-species of pied wagtail with pale grey backs and rumps, and to my ear a more house sparrow like call. We get a few every spring at Balcomie and when there is one about there are usually some more. How much of this is just noticing them though – because if you don’t pay attention then they are just another pied wagtail. Pied wagtails are so easy to identify at a distance and are everywhere that I hardly look at them: only when I am reminded of white wagtails, like when a handsome pale male lands right in front of me as it did today, do I remember to really check. And then I find three in a kilometre. I started to feel paranoid so diligently checked a whole lot more pied/white wagtails and reassuringly only found pieds. There were three northern wheatears (all gorgeous breeding plumage males) along the same stretch of coast, and a couple of whimbrels, so the migrant white wagtails weren’t alone. The Patch at Fife Ness in contrast was very quiet apart from more swallows overhead.

An April white wagtail on Balcomie Beach

Posted April 23, 2017 by wildcrail in Sightings

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