July 5th   Leave a comment

It is about this time of year that things shift imperceptibly from building up to the summer to winding down. Birds start to appear having completed breeding – the goosander and common sandpiper last week, and a black-headed gull feeding around the harbour today. And those still breeding seem to be frantically trying to finish. The swifts are screaming again as, I think, young birds (two or three year olds) arrive and start pairing and prospecting so they are ready for starting to breed the following year. The swifts will, of course, only be with us another six weeks. The fulmars seem to have missed the boat again – no sign of chicks or even eggs in any of the nests I can see well on Castle Walk or above harbour beach. Fulmars, like swifts, live a long time and don’t need to breed successfully every year of their life but the Crail birds seem particularly unsuccessful.

A black-headed gull back in Crail again after breeding somewhere inland (like the Highlands)

There is a ring-necked parakeet back in Crail. I haven’t seen it yet – it has been visiting a garden in Marketgate in the early morning and I have seen some photos. Not that it’s likely to be a mis-identification. Ring-necked parakeets continue their spread across the UK from London and are now more common in the Edinburgh and Dundee area. We had a resident ring-necked parakeet in Crail from 2005-2012 – again in Marketgate – but I haven’t seen one at all for the last five years. There is a current debate about whether we should cull these “invaders” due to fears of them being agricultural pests in other parts of the world. I think whether they present a problem is not clear yet and they certainly add some interest to our wildlife. Getting rid of them would be a costly nightmare as well. If you do see the new Crail parakeet please let me know.

Posted July 5, 2017 by wildcrail in Sightings

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