June 17th   Leave a comment

A hot day in Crail – we made nearly 25 degrees today. I watched the auks flying around Fife Ness and felt like I was scanning the Mediterranean – apart from the seabirds of course. Sea watching in the Mediterranean is fairly dull. Today the auks all looked slightly odd as the fish they were carrying glinted in the strong sunlight making them look like they had extended white heads. And the extra weight of the fish changes their flight and posture slightly so guillemots look more like razorbills and razorbills like puffins. There are a lot more manx shearwater passing now – some evenings this week flocks of more than 30 have been passing regularly.

Puffin carrying a load of sand eels back to the May Island to feed its chick

I came back to Crail through Kilminning and flushed a bird which looked a bit like a sparrowhawk crossed with a nightjar. I saw it poorly and started thinking about nightjars and how fantastic it would be to find one for the Crail list. Then three flew up in front of me and showed themselves well – cuckoos! Already on their way back to Africa and stopping for a quick refuel on the caterpillars and large insects in the grass of Kiminning, along the shore. There were cuckoos recorded from Kilminning last week and passing along the coast further West in Fife yesterday. When you only have to lay your eggs in another’s nest, and don’t need to look after your own chicks then you can head back to Africa after only a few weeks here in Scotland. We get another wave of cuckoos through in August, but this time the juveniles. I say wave – but cuckoos are good Crail birds. I saw more cuckoos today than I have seen in the last five years around Crail.


Posted June 17, 2017 by wildcrail in Sightings

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