June 3rd   Leave a comment

I spent an hour this afternoon sat on the edge of the wheat field just outside Crail looking to confirm whether the yellow wagtails were breeding successfully. It was surreal just looking out over the uniform sea of green punctuated by only a couple of bright red poppies, particularly when the haar rolled in and left nothing else visible. It focussed me on the field. And what do you see in an hour of just watching an intensive wheat field in the East Neuk? Not a great deal – a few bumble bees, the occasional swallow passing over and a few nesting pairs of skylarks and meadow pipits launching themselves up for song flights or hovering over the wheat briefly before descending to their nests. In the hour I also had a corn bunting, a pair of linnets, a herring gull and an oystercatcher fly over. Just three species in an hour using the field (four if you count the wagtails – but I will come to them). Not a lot to distract me as I looked for the wagtails. After about 20 minutes I heard one flying in to the bit of field where I think they are nesting, it circled around and then came closer to perch on the wheat about 50 meters from me – the male, checking me out I think – before returning to the likely nest site much further in the field (about 100 meters away from where I was sitting). Then every 10 minutes or so I would hear a bird flying over either away or to this bit of field, occasionally I would glimpse them but even without the haar the trips in and out were inconspicuous and quick. I saw the pair come up together from the place where they were flying to on one occasion and followed the female a bit along the adjacent mud track as it collected food (although I couldn’t clinch a good view of a beakful of food being carried to really confirm it had a nest full of chicks). But they must be breeding and likely have chicks but I still need a definitive view of one of the birds carrying food to confirm the first yellow wagtail nest in Fife for many years.

Crail yellow wagtail catching a fly

Posted June 3, 2017 by wildcrail in Sightings

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