September 23rd   Leave a comment

There was a common rosefinch seen yesterday afternoon and I hurried down to Kiminning after work to see if I could see it. Rosefinches are hard to connect with. They don’t stay around long in the autumn and aren’t very conspicuous. By the time I got there it was early evening and gloomy, with a strong south-easterly wind. Not the best conditions and despite checking through a lot of goldfinches I didn’t get lucky. For every bird I could see there were another 10 hidden under the canopies of the rowan trees where the rosefinch had been seen. I tried again first thing this morning. A contrasting beautiful bright and still day, with lots of late season swallows passing over singing in the morning sunlight. Perfect for finding anything. But not the rosefinch again. They often are just one day wonders. I consoled myself by relocating the barred warbler down at the bottom of Kilminning. It was in the same place as the Thursday when I found it, but much less conspicuous. Only one reasonable view and a burst of call: a characteristic rattling series of chacks. It was feeding within the rowans and roses again, moving over about 70 meters, so hard to be in the right place to snatch a view. It is likely to stay at Kilminning for several weeks now. The real highlight of the morning for me was a lovely view of a badger shambling along a bank at Kilmmining before disappearing into the same dense cover I was scanning for the barred warbler. When you do see them and realise how large and obvious they are it seems impossible that they are hardly ever seen. There are several setts within 500 meters of Kilminning – probably 50 resident badgers or so – but I have seen many more barred warblers there.

Badger

Despite the promise of the barred warbler and the rosefinch, and so a steady stream of birders around Kilminning and Fife Ness, nothing much else was turned up: lesser whitethroats and a blackcap. I found a Lapland bunting along the coastal path about 800m north of Balcomie Beach. As I cycled by I saw a brown bird fly up from the beach and continue over the golf course and I could see it was odd – a cross between a bunting and a skylark in flight – the distinctive signature of a Lapland bunting. Not quite enough to clinch a certain identification but luckily it gained height and began calling – a rippling “trrrk” followed by a “chew” – which did clinch it. I have been expecting a Lapland bunting all week. When we get northerlies at the end of September we get them, although they disappear among the skylarks in the endless stubble fields. It usually takes a lot of tramping across the fields to find one.

There is rain forecast tonight so there may be more birds tomorrow. There is also an excursion by both the Dundee RSPB group and the Fife Bird Club to Crail and Fife Ness tomorrow. I imagine the two groups will meet in Denburn Wood tomorrow lunchtime and probably have a turf war. But hopefully such numbers of observers will turn up something good. Previous excursions have turned up red-flanked bluetail and Pallas’s warbler in Denburn.

Posted September 23, 2017 by wildcrail in Sightings

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