August 12th   2 comments

I cycled along the coast path between Boarhills and Cambo this lunchtime. The mouth of the Kenly Burn was busy as ever: hundreds of gulls, redshanks and a common sandpiper, but only a small flock of Canada geese this year – about 12 birds. There were six wheatears on the rocks along the route and some large flocks of linnets. They seem to like the rocky shore this time of year. The sea was very calm and every scan I could see lots of seals. A head poking up here and a whole body hauled up there: they are hard to count but there must be hundreds of grey seals along the shore between St Andrews and Crail.

Grey seal

Rumours of Balcomie Beach becoming dull were a bit premature. Tonight and last night at high tide there were over one hundred dunlin strung out along the beach. Just as tame as in July. I could walk up to within 25 meters before they started looking alarmed and after I sat down they would trot past me at 10 meters. This evening they were joined by over 60 ringed plovers. Not quite as tame but 15 meters tame instead of 10. I wonder if they were all from Svalbard and on their way to Africa. Some might be local birds but probably not. There were few juveniles among them, maybe only 10% – either a very poor year for the locals, or the more northerly adults typically on their way south well before the juveniles.

Ringed plover

Posted August 12, 2017 by wildcrail in Sightings

2 responses to “August 12th

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  1. Hi Will. We were at Balcomie at about the same time yesterday. I wondered if the small wading birds were Little Stint instead of Dunlin. Think I will go back out today and have another look this time with binoculars and bird book. Regards, Roddy. PS. Have thoroughly enjoyed following your blog over the past year.

    • Dear Roddy, thanks for the comment. Little stints really are little – if one was next to a ringed plover it would look clearly smaller, rather than the same size as the dunlins are. That said size is not the best character – go for the short, straight bill like a sanderling and a much paler head than a dunlin. They are much more like sanderling (except in size) than dunlin. I sympathise though – I check every dunlin at this time of year for little stint and I have been expecting one to appear with the dunlin. I bet you do find a little stint if you keep checking over the next week. I am away to Finland for a couple of weeks so that usually means the rarer birds will make an appearance to celebrate my absence 🙂 Good luck though.

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