June 1st   Leave a comment

I finally tracked down the elusive yellow wagtails that are likely breeding in the wheat field at Old Barns, just outside of Crail on the Anstruther road. They were first reported on the 18th while I was away in Cyprus, seen again a week later and then a male was seen feeding on the coast path by the old salmon bothy yesterday, just a short wagtail’s flight from the entrance to Old Barns. When I looked for them last week I didn’t get lucky, and today I almost missed them. I was out early morning checking the field edges and between the potato rows between Barnsmuir and Crail for an hour before I heard the distinctive “tsip” of a yellow wagtail. A stunning bright yellow male flew over my head from the middle of a wheat field over to the horse and sheep fields at Barnsmuir. I chased it but couldn’t find it again. Then, as I headed back to Crail, I put up a female feeding on the muddy track alongside the main road and it headed off to disappear in the middle of the same wheat field where the male had come from. All very indicative of a nesting pair in residence and possibly with just hatched chicks. A pair started to breed in more or less the same place (well, the same field) last year but they disappeared after a week. This time they seem to be succeeding but I need a definite sighting of the male and female with a beakful of food returning to exactly the same spot in the field to confirm breeding. This will then be the first breeding record for Fife for many years. Yellow wagtails are another one of the migrant species which is declining in Britain and they are becoming a scarce breeder in many parts of England (Scotland has never been its stronghold). It would be brilliant if they did start to breed regularly here, but perhaps I am getting ahead of myself. I will keep checking the field over the next week and hope to see the pair definitely feeding chicks.

Male yellow wagtail at Old Barns (although this is the male from last year)

Posted June 1, 2017 by wildcrail in Sightings

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